Trouble w/ boat/skills- advice please

I took my new boat out last night and found it fun but had some difficulty, Old Town Predator K140.

I am 5’8" and 170lbs, had my Lab w/ me and she is 50lbs, still a puppy. She was positioned in the bow.

I am new to kayaking, some experience paddling a whitewater canoe, not necessarily on whitewater… it is just what my father has and I used a handful of times growing up. I also paddled a borrowed 9’ SOT a couple of weeks ago w/ my Lab to practice in a kayak until I got my own boat.

Both of these boats are very responsive to turning/correcting to stay on track. But last night I found myself struggling to get us back on course once the boat began tracking left or right.

I found that if we were beginning to track one direction or the other, I would paddle an extra stroke, or two or three on that same side, (tracking left, I would paddle extra strokes on the left to correct), but we would continue to track left and not correct the direction back to the right.

I even had trouble using the blade as rudder, not sure if this is the correct way to refer to the blad action, on the opposite side to correct the direction and this did not correct quickly. I had to really reach to the rear of the boat for this techinque to be anywhat effective.

The next issue are the footrests. I did not have time to really go through the boat as I met a few fellows to paddle with, but the footrests fully moved back were still to far for me to reach for a comfortable position. I need to see about moving the seat forward. But this would seem to make correcting our tracking even more difficult by placing the seat more in the middle of the boat.

Thanks for any help,


I attempted to correct our course by paddling w/ a wider stroke from the boat, (placing the blade

not sure if putting your pooch
in the bow hatch is a good idea but that was your problem.

You say that your Lab is 50Lbs.

I assume that the stern had no additional weight.

Try to reverse the position of your dog.

Make her ride (BTW, I’m not endorsing this, simply explaining dynamics) in the rear hatch and see what dramatic effect that will have.

Think of it: weight in the front makes the kayak “plow” the water deeper making it rear light and further out of the water. The kayak becomes very difficult to maneuver.

Let us know how did the reverse position go.

And get your pooch a lifejacket; not all dogs can naturally swim!

Beware of capsizing too since your hatch will fill up with water and will make your kayak very hard to empty.

Make sure you don’t paddle alone and the person that paddles with you knows how to rescue you.


I think Gnarly is right…
From the OT website, Sounds like they recommend the dog goes in the cargo area behind the seat. Glad to realize the dog wasn’t sitting in an open hatch!

“Built on our widest kayak hull, the Predator K140 provides maximum stability for shooting or casting a line. The super-sized cockpit has room for you and plenty of gear. Plus, the cargo area behind the seat can hold a dozen decoys easily, even your dog. If you’re looking for a hunting/fishing kayak with maximum capacity, this is it.”

Learn to paddle the boat sans pooch
before taking the dog on board. Also, when you were “correcting” you may have been leaning the direction you wanted to go? In a kayak, leaning and turning are the OPPOSITE of what they are on a bike. Lean left to veer right, lean right to veer left.

But really, you need to get a feel for your boat without the dog before you try adding her to the equation. Once you really know your boat and how to control it, then try adding the dog. It will perform differently with an extra 50 pounds in it (especially a wiggly 50 pounds), but understanding how it performs without that extra weight is the first step.

BCU courses
would be far more appealing if they put a dog in each hatch

Dog in rear is not ideal
Putting her in the back is not ideal. Not being able to watch her and what she is doing opens a huge can of worms.

I will have to see about counter-balancing then. I did have a few pounds in the stern but minimal.

I will also play w/ the opposite pressure side to paddling.

Thanks all,


Paddle it first without the dog
Maybe if you get used to it without the 50lb moving ballast in one end, you’ll do better when you do add it.

Shoot the dog !
Sorry… dogs don’t belong in kayaks.

Paddlin’ on


Not so wrong
Want a dog as a companion, get a canoe.

…just my $.01_canoe,

Need to “Trim” a little!..IOTW equalize the weight fore/aft to get a level glide…what others have mentioned…get the right amount of weight in back…and your glide should smooth out.

I think what puddlefish meant was to exaggerate your J-lean(ing), as to turn right…the hull wants to carve right when tipped onto its left chine(the little kayaking I’ve done)…really stay loose in the hips and keep your upperbody over that keel-line!(but maybe you already know this)…as your pooch may be a little new to leaning in a light boat…


Don’t Shoot The Dog- Shoot The People
Sorry- Its people that don’t like dogs that need to take the bullet! :slight_smile:

I didn’t say that
You’re replying to someone who not only likes dogs (generally) but has two of her own.

A dog ?
Why not get the dog its own boat or maybe buy a double and give it its own seat and make space in bow hatch for the cat and hamster…wake uppp…

Put the Dog in the Rear
Yeah, I know what was previously posted, but I suspect it wasn’t borne from practical experience.

I have a few 'yaks, and got a Caster 12.5 specifically to take my dog with me; she’s a 70lb foxhound.

We experimented with a variety of locations, but by far, the best position is behind you, and as close as possible. When you have the dog up front, it’ll cause exactly what you describe by loading the front end and causing it to plow in one direction or another. It makes it very difficult to steer and greatly upsets tracking. Keeping the dog in the back will settle the rear and set the stern; tracking will be much more accurate and you can move fore or aft as needed to balance the boat correctly.