Tracking straight

Hello, I’m new to paddling and I have gotten a old perception traditional kayak from a friend it is approx. 9’-10’ long and has a beam of approx. 26"-28" and when I take it out I’m fine on river water but whenever I try to paddle stong to get the boat moving I have trouble with the boat basically spinning out and I mean spinning mean in a complete 180 to where I’m facing the direction I was coming from, any suggestion is it my paddling technique or is the boat bent? it looks straight but I have no idea.

Thanks for the help.


Stroke Primarily… Maybe Current Too…
either way, you rectify by learning and improving your stroke. A common sight with novices in short boats is that their paddles are often too long and their forward stroke are too far out and carried too far back (behind the hips) creating turning/spinning momentum.


Are you near Columbus?
If so, you might want to check out Columbus Outdoor Pursuit’s paddling group. They offer some basic classes. Nice people.

Also, the way you describe the boat doing a 180 makes me think you have a whitewater boat, not a basic rec boat. What is the model name?

Assuming it is a white water boat
it is behaving normally. Turning like that is called spin momentum and WW boats are designed to have spin momentum. Moreover, the faster you go the more spin momentum that is generated. The key is to learn to control and use the spin. Lessons would be a good idea. But in the meantime learn to do a stern draw. As an exercise rotate your body toward the stern as far as you can. Put the paddle blade in the water next to the stern. Then make the stern wig-wag by moving the paddle away from the boat and then toward the boat. That is the basic idea of the stern draw. The actual stroke is to put the padddle in the water out away from the boat at 90 degrees from your butt and moving it to the stern in an arc. This will move your stern and counteract the turning you are experiencing. You can add a stern draw at the end of a forward stroke if you need it by either moving the paddle out at the end of the stroke or replacing your next forward stroke with the draw on that side. Good luck.