Kayak Keeps Spinning: FAQ’s to Make You Feel More Comfortable

Okay, so the kayak keeps spinning. It is a problem that many kayakers experience, and it can be frustrating to not know how to solve it.

Luckily, there are some simple ways for kayakers of all experience levels to regain control of their kayaks.

You can feel more comfortable next time your kayak starts rotating uncontrollably in the water by reading these FAQs about kayaking spins.

Photograph of a kayaking couple looking at one of the volcanoes

Why does my kayak spin around?

Kayaks can spin in a circle for a number of reasons.

When not bracing themselves well or leaning with each stroke to maintain equilibrium, the paddler has a poor understanding of how to keep their boat upright. They often flip upside down and in circles.

Currents can sometimes push water under one side of a ship’s hull, causing it to turn until there’s a drop in the flow.

The skeg (or rudder) is not properly positioned for the water conditions.

It is possible to correct each of these reasons with a bit of practice. You won’t turn your kayak around or flip it over when you get turned upside down if you lean with each stroke to maintain balance.

How do I stop my kayak from spinning?

Skegs are useful for tracking. A kayak skeg serves as an underwater rudder, acting either on one side or both, according to the direction you’re turning. It keeps you in a straight line by acting as an underwater rudder.

If you are paddling, you can also try to clear your mind and focus less on it. Allow your body to do what it naturally does and step back a bit.

How do I get my kayak to track straight?

Try skeg or rudder

Generally, kayaks behave strangely because of crosswinds. The paddler is also unable to stay straight when paddling in beam seas.

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Rudders and skegs, however, can partially help with this problem. In the event that your kayak experiences a backwind from the back, install it.

Kayaks tend to behave in the following ways under these conditions:

  • Turn the rudder to move forward when the waves are right and fast—driving it left-handed means paddling it right-handed.
  • The rudder pedal (or skeg) is used to move reversely backward during swift waves on the kayak’s left side to maintain control.

Fin regulation

Regulating the fins is a simple way to fix a kayak that is circular spinning excessively. You can flip them upside down or right side up before flipping them back again before switching sides.

Also, try different types of paddles because they might be all you need.

Arrangement of control equipment

Keeping the bottom of your kayak clean is essential if you use kayak rudders. Additionally, you should regularly check and clean the catch.

During tracking and propulsion phases, ensure the hull skeg is installed at an angle that allows fins to seat properly.

When installing fins on both sides (as requested by the customer), they should be symmetrical.

They are similarly sized, shaped, and oriented (normally installed at an angle between 18 and 22 degrees).

It is important to inspect the rudder regularly for signs of bends or cracks. You should replace it if you notice that it is damaged or cracked.

A skeg that appears bent, cracked, or damaged needs to be checked for any damage. Replace the skeg immediately if it is damaged to prevent further problems.

Don’t forget to check and clean your plastic kayak fins (to prevent user damage).

Kayaker in red enjoying a sunny day on the lake

Paddle size

Choosing the right paddle size is crucial. Beginners usually start with a giant paddle and don’t even know how to paddle a kayak straight. Consequently, they complicate the rest of the process.

Experts recommend starting kayak tracks with a relatively short paddle. A smaller paddle size is usually more comfortable for tracking straight.

A paddle with a 210-220 cm length is usually suitable for kayaks within 25 inches of width. Thus, it ensures a trouble-free ride most of the time.

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When you are a beginner, staying on course isn’t as difficult. You should enjoy the process and take it slowly.

Although it may seem impossible at first glance, your body will get used to this new motion that doesn’t terrify you anymore.

Perfection comes from practice. Kayaking is no different from many other things in life.

It will be easy to remain on course if you spend time training and perfecting your skills.

Kayak keeps spinning when paddling too fast; what to do?

If you stop paddling when you are moving at high speed, the kayak will spin out. The reason is that there is more friction on one side of your blade if you do not maintain equal pressure on both sides. When you move faster, this effect becomes more pronounced.

The kayak’s momentum is easier to maintain when moving at slower speeds, such as in tidal currents or near shorelines.

Overpaddling can make you confused. If you don’t want this to happen, stay on one side of the boat or change sides slowly.

You will be able to balance correctly and stop rotating after the weight transfer. When you’re kayaking, move from one side of the boat to the other if you notice its circle spinning out.

Also, keep your paddles in one hand on one side of the boat for a while before switching hands.

Paddling too fast will cause you to lose your balance and spin out. Keep the paddle on one side of the boat for a while or change slowly between the sides to avoid this. By transferring weight, you will be able to balance correctly and stop rotating.

While kayaking, weight transfer is essential to maintain control over your vessel and enables you to correct any steering mistakes quickly.

Why are we moving in circles with a tandem kayak?

One of the most common myths about tandem kayaks is that they have more stability than a single kayak. They’re just slower to turn around, and you can’t stop as quickly with two paddles on one side of the boat.

Your craft is likely spinning in a circle if you notice it is applying more force on one side than the other. You can turn a kayak or canoe like this, but if your boat isn’t turning smoothly, it is because of this imbalance.

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Paddle more on one side and less on the other until the boat straightens out if you notice you are tilting to one side.

Making a sharp turn might cause your craft to spin even more as the force on one side is increased.

Stop paddling for a moment or pull in the opposite direction if necessary, until things stabilize again.

A perfect kayaking experience in perfect scenery

Why does my kayak veer to the left or right?

You will steer the boat in the direction of your dominant hand.

Your kayak will likely veer to the left if you are right-handed. For some people, this can be frustrating and slow down their pace when paddling.

When you move on one side, your weight shifts compared to the other side. When you use just one pedal on a bike, you could get a similar result.

How can you tell if your kayaks are tracking correctly?

If you are paddling on a flat, calm lake and notice that your kayak is constantly spinning in a circle, it is much easier to determine whether tracking is the problem.

If there is a lot of wind or waves, it will be more difficult to detect since the water will behave differently from what it would in calmer conditions.

The boat does not track well when paddling in a straight line, and your kayak starts making smaller circles.

It could be that there is something wrong with the design or manufacturing process if it does this repeatedly. If it does this for a prolonged period, then you need to seek repairs or a replacement.

Checking for tracking involves finding a straight line and ensuring the kayak stays on that course for at least 30 seconds. It must have effective tracking skills if it does.

You can also tell how well your boat is tracking if you are paddling in windy or rough conditions. Additionally, the water will move differently than when it is calm.

Last updated on June 19, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

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