How Do You Paddle a Kayak Straight?

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: February 11, 2020
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So, thinking of going straight on a Stand Up Board?

Yes, it can be challenging. In this article, we will be sharing some tips that will help you get more strokes per side of a Kayak and reduce yawing:

Kayakers rely on blade angle, stroke path, and shaft angle to propel the board in a straight line, thereby elevating themselves forward more efficiently.

Kayakers who managed to get a few strokes per side before having to switch sides; this article will be helpful greatly. This article will help you propel your board in a straight line longer with less yawning.

Techniques To Drive Your Kayak Straight

  • Shaft angle: maintaining a straight position for shaft- perpendicular to the water
  • Blade angle: angling the blade to some extent inward towards the board
  • Blade path: starting the stroke to some extent away from the rail and heaving the paddle in towards the feet, drawing the stroke close to the rail by your feet.
  • A bonus tip that I can talk about is rail steering. If you want to move straight while standing in the middle of the board, you want to keep the board flat on the water. To some extent, you have to un-weigh the side you are paddling on to turn it straight.

If you want to make the board turn faster, you have to put more weight on the side. You will make the board move faster (i.e. if you put your weight on the left rail, the curve of the rail in the water will make the board turn to the right). 

Therefore, you want to keep away from the familiar beginner mistake of placing more weight on the side you are paddling on and as a substitute keep your weight balanced evenly over both feet. 

To keep the weighted fair while tilting the top hand over the rail to get the perpendicular paddle angle mentioned earlier, your hips have to shift to the reverse side to keep the weighted fair equally over both feet.

By using your potency to power yourself forward instead of sideways, you will misuse less energy, making your stroke more capable and you use up less time toggling sides with the paddle, which keeps you from losing forward thrust.

Paddleboarding is a lot of enjoyable and especially after, you pin down some essential techniques that allow you to paddle faster and straighter. Once you study and start practicing how to paddle straighter you will also be able to paddle beyond and longer without getting as weary.

The techniques that we’ll go into in this post will compel you to weigh in on the way you’re paddling when you’re on the water. Once it starts to snap and you have that “ah-ha” moment, keep practicing until the stroke becomes rooted in your muscle memory and you do it by design every time you go out.

A lot of people, when they start out paddleboarding, don’t even grasp that they are paddling in big curvy “S” shaped lines. I’m still at fault over this once in a while after years of paddleboarding. It is not something you usually become aware of until your way of course. 

If you are paddling in a group, either you may suddenly find yourself far away from the others, or you are continually bumping into the other paddlers. Furthermore, paddling in a curved line means that you are paddling a lot beyond to get from point A to B (the direct distance between two points is a straight line) and therefore, needlessly expending extra energy. 

Additionally, crooked paddling is just one more bad routine that underpins rude stroke technique, which will badly affect your act and paddling skill.

The easiest way to consider paddling in a straight line is to do the reverse of what you would do when turning your paddleboard. When turning, you put your paddle in the water on an angle and then brush back or onward making an arch 

The farther out from your board you move, the easier your board will twist for you. When you are not turning, you should NOT be placing your blade in the water on an angle, as you will instantly start to twist, whether you become aware of it right away or not. 

If you want to paddleboard straight your paddle needs to be upright, straight up and down.

The next time you go out try doing this:

  • Stacking: Stacking means making sure your top hand (the one holding the handle) is straight above your lower hand. Paddling with stacked hands means you will have to achieve farther across the board with your top hand. 

To do this it is essential to keep your shoulders stacked, so that they are in parallel with the paddle and your hands. Stacking your shoulders will also ease excessive stress on the joints.

It may feel uncomfortable at first but you will get used to it and it will experience much more normal with a little practice.

The right way : Straight Forward Stroke:

Many people wrongly paddle to the form of the rails on their paddleboard. It is a grave mistake. The sides of a paddleboard are arched and if you paddle along the rail, you stand to make a mistake.

It will result in your stroke being arced, thereby veering off course. To make this right, put your blade in the water a little to the side of the rail while making sure your paddle is still upright. 

As you pull the blade back in a straight line, it should appear closer to the rail where your feet lie in. Take the paddle out of the water once it reaches your feet.

  • Keep Your Paddleboard Flat 

Keeping your paddleboard flat is an important aspect of learning how to paddle straight. It means trying not to put weight on either side too much. Your board will go faster when it is flat and the extra speed will provide you with more glide.

And, this will make it easier to keep a straight line. 

#Remember to make sure your feet are placed to either side of the carrying grip in the dead center of the board.

We don’t want to be putting the tail or the nose.

Bottom Line

There are other, more complex paddle strokes that you may come to know about. Those strokes are designed to keep you moving in a straight line. But, let’s just reserve them for another post. There is also the option of paddleboarding in high winds, which will influence how you paddle. But practice these three tips next time you go out and your paddling skills will get better a lot. 

You will still need to adjust sides and improve for veering off but it will be a lot less than you’re used to. Good luck!

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