Why Does my Kayak Pull to the Right ?

Kayaking is supposed to be fun, but at times things do not just work your way. One of the common issues is having a kayak that keeps pulling to the right. The best way is to understand why is the kayak pulling right more often and how best can you have it handled?

As a general rule, a kayakers paddling technique and body posture are the main reasons a kayak would pull to the right. Maintaining a good kayaking posture and paddling technique will help to ensure you kayak in a straight line.

Below we look at these reasons in more detail to help you become a better kayaker.

3 Main Reasons your Kayak Pulls to the Right

Inappropriate body posture on the kayak

Ensure your body is straight to keep the kayak balanced. A poor posture makes the kayak pull to the side before you start paddling. Your shoulders and stomach must be relaxed as they affect how you will hold the paddle.

Allow the waves to move the kayak before you start paddling. It is best if you paddle where the waves are slow.

Sometimes it is good to move your body a little bit to balance the kayak. The little movement balances the pressure from the right to the left.

Do not forget your legs because they help to balance the front waves. Ensure your torso does not stay in a constant position, especially the backrest.

All in all, make sure your upper body is free to move and balance the kayak when it is in strong waves. Always ensure you use the paddle when the balance is totally out of control.

Try and bend your legs when the speed is out of control. I assure you that proper body posture is the first reason your kayak will pull to the right.

Paddling techniques

The correct paddling technique depends on the type of paddle you have in your hands. Beginners and experts have different types of paddles.

The parallel paddle is the best for beginners because it has a button to control the shafts. Make sure you relax the grip on your paddle and make an “O” rotation with the paddle.

It is also advisable to adjust the position of your hand on the paddle. Ensure your torso maintains the circular movement to balance your arms.

Another paddling technique is to balance the position of your arms on the paddle. When it pulls to the right, hold the paddle on the left to bring the kayak to a position.

The footrest is also part of the paddling technique. Do not push down on one side of the footrest, especially the right side, because it will lead the kayak to pull to the same side.

As you apply the same force with the arms, try and balance the same with your feet. The footrest will help you while turning on a sharp corner.

Imbalance on your dominant hand

Ninety percent of people in the world have the right hand as the dominant hand. This is why you will paddle with more power on the right side; hence the kayak will pull to the right. So focus on your dominant hand to maintain the amount of power on both sides.

The dominant hand also determines how you apply the paddle’s grip.

Your kayak will flow in a straight position if you find the balance between the grip and the stroke. Loosen the grip on your dominant hand, or the kayak will pull to the left.

Take time to learn how to paddle, and you will always have a straight kayak flow. The torso power goes hand in hand with the dominant hand.

4 Types of Kayaking Paddles

Flat paddle blade

This is the best paddle for beginners because it is easy to flip. As the name states, this type of paddle has a flat base but is slightly curved to hold on to some water. However, a rib in the middle helps to guide the water after every stroke.

The paddle is easy to slide through water, especially in rough waters. In case you capsize, it is easier to flip back up with the flat blade.

Dihedral paddle blade

This type of paddle is a little bit similar to the flat blade, but its edges bend outward the shaft.

It will help to increase the speed even in slow waters easily. This paddle will help you control the kayak easily. It is recommended for beginners and sometimes comes with the kayak as an accessory.

Wing paddle blade

The difference is on the edges of the paddle blade. The wing paddle blade has edges that are curved up slightly inwards. It can easily cut water and increase speed where necessary.

The paddle aims to move water away from the kayak, creating better balance and speed.

Nevertheless, this paddle is suitable for professionals. The constant wrist movement is hard when controlling the kayak. In addition, it is the best paddle when you are going for a long-distance race in a huge water body.

Spoon paddle blade

Unlike the wing paddle blade, this type is curved down and outwards. It can hold more water, especially at the beginning. This paddle requires a strong person, or your kayak can easily capsize.

The excess strength means that this paddle is best for short-distance races. But the spoon sweep paddle will allow you to start the journey without a push from another person.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Kayak Paddle

The material

When it comes to the material of the paddle, you have to consider the material for the blade and shaft. The blade can come in plastic or nylon and is considered the best for recreational use.

Plastic blades are flexible and hence cannot snap in rough waters. However, plastic blades have less efficient strokes and are easily damaged by the sun.

On the other hand, fiberglass blades are harder than plastic. Fiberglass blades are lightweight and hence excellent for long-distance travel.

The top on the list is carbon-fiber blades because they are rigid and durable. You can lose a piece of the paddle, but it will not crack all the way up like the plastic blades.

When it comes to the shaft material, there is carbon fiber, fiberglass, and aluminum. Here the best are fiberglass and carbon-fiber shafts. This is because they are lightweight and resistant to strong UV rays.

Aluminum shafts are durable but are highly affected by temperature. Put on a pair of gloves when using aluminum shafts.

The length of your paddle

Of course, a wider kayak requires a longer paddle, but you must also consider your height. Research shows that an appropriate paddle should be three feet taller than you. But consider the size of your kayak and your height, then subtract one foot from the total.

The type of paddle will also help to decide the length of the paddle.

The design of the blade

Kayak blades can either be flat or curved. The flat blades are easy to handle but do not increase the speed. This is why beginners prefer them because they can easily cut through the water. The curved blades are the best for experts.

In addition, curved blades sweep more water and increase speed. However, they are heavy to handle and thus good for short distances.

The design of the shaft

The shaft is an important factor when it comes to comfort. The bent shaft is made to increase comfort on your wrist and chest. You can easily twist your arms and stroke through rough waters.

The straight shaft is old fashion but also good when you want flexibility. There is also the two-piece shaft that allows you to screw together the small pieces. It is easy to store and repair.

The price

All of the above factors will influence the price of the paddle. Material is the main influencer for price. The material for the blade and shaft can make the whole system very expensive.

Plastic is the cheapest material on a paddle. But fiberglass and carbon fiber are very expensive because they are lightweight and durable.


How to stop a kayak from drifting

There are several methods to stop your kayak from drifting. Below are some of the common methods.

–       You can add the drift sock

–       The buoy ball can also help you to float

–       Add the kayak anchor

–       Anchor poles can also help

–       Install the storm drogue

Is kayaking against the current possible ?

Yes, it is possible, but it requires experience and a good paddle. The curved puddle is the best in this situation. Experts state that you have to stay close to the river edges where the current is less tough. It is also dangerous to kayak against a super-strong current.

Why does my kayak keep turning around ?

This happens when you are not balancing your dominant hand. All currents will move to the dominant side, leaving the other side out of balance. Soon you will see your kayak moving in circles. In addition, excess weight at the front of the kayak will also make it move in circles.


Your kayak pulling to the right is a common phenomenon, but it will not happen when you realize the source of the problem. First, consider your body posture and ensure your chest cavity and arms stay in the correct position. Secondly, ensure you try the recommended paddling techniques and use appropriate paddles. Lastly, try to control your dominant hand.

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