How to Improve Kayak Tracking Quickly

While tracking is a simple concept, it can be difficult for many new kayakers to master. Fortunately, there are simple ways how improve your tracking skills quickly and efficiently.

In the kayaking world, “tracking” refers to the control and steering of the boat, often ensuring that it remains bow-forward and in a straight line. Tracking also refers to the ease with which a kayak turns.

Many factors contribute to track being more difficult than it appears. Wind, waves, currents, and insufficient paddle size all work together to prevent the kayak and paddler from tracking properly. Tracking abilities necessitate practice and repetition.

Some kayaks are designed for excellent tracking, which means they don’t require much effort to stay on course. Others struggle and require adaptation and special skills to keep moving forward.

If you have such a kayak, it may be disappointing to paddle in choppy water or windy conditions. However, all is not lost because a few simple changes can improve a kayak’s tracking.

This article will walk you through some tips for improving your kayak track. Continue reading!

Best Top 7 Tips: How to Improve Your Kayak’s Tracking Quickly

1. Select the Absolutely right Kayak Type

The design of the kayak has a significant impact on its ability to track well.

Kayaks with longer hulls have been shown to track better. However, they are less maneuverable, making turning the kayak to one side more difficult. They are the most appropriate for beginners.

2. Deploy the rudder when the wind is blowing from behind the kayak.

The majority of large tandem kayaks have a foot-operated rudder to help keep the boat on course. If you frequently paddle in windy conditions, you can also add a rudder to your kayak.

When paddling through a crosswind or in windy conditions, the boat may turn or change course. Deploying and moving the rudder side to side affects the water flow, causing the kayak to stay on course.

To turn your kayak in a specific direction, you must apply force to the rudder in that direction.


3. Use the Right Type of Paddle Blades

Paddle blades are classified into three types: 

Curved BladesCurved blades are beneficial for producing more powerful strokes.
Asymmetrical BladesStraight tracking is enhanced by asymmetrical blades.
Curved blades are beneficial for producing more powerful strokes.
Feather bladesThese are the most popular among beginners. They are simpler to use and reduce wind resistance, giving the kayak more momentum to keep it moving forward in a straight line.

As you gain more experience, you can experiment with different types of blades to see which one best suits your paddling style.

4. Select the Correct Size for Your Paddle

The paddle you use has a significant impact on the tracking and performance of your kayak. Because your adventure will require thousands of paddle strokes, you must have the proper paddle.

Consider the length and shape of the blade, as well as the type of shaft, when selecting a paddle.

a) The Blade’s Design

Consider the shape of the blade when selecting a paddle because it affects how your kayak tracks. Nowadays, most paddles have an asymmetrical blade with a dihedral shape.

A rib runs down the center of these paddles, allowing water to flow evenly and smoothly over both blade halves. Blades lacking this rib flutter more, making tracking straight difficult.

b) Paddle Size

The length of your paddle has a direct impact on the tracking of your kayak. If you want good tracking, you must select the appropriate paddle size for your vessel.

A longer paddle is required for a wider boat, and vice versa. The height of the paddler is also important in determining the proper paddle length. Check the brand’s website for the recommended paddle length before purchasing a paddle.

Height of Paddlers / KayakersThe Boat’s Width   
 Below 23″23″ to 28″ 28″ to 32″More than 32″
Below 5′ tall210cm220cm230cm240cm
5′ to 5’6″ tall215cm220cm230cm240cm
5’6″ to 6′ tall220cm220cm230cm250cm
More than 6′ tall220cm230cm240cm250cm

c) Shaft Type

When selecting a kayak paddle, we recommend bent or feathered shafts because they help reduce wind resistance while paddling. As a result, performance improves and the kayak tracks perfectly.


5. Installing a Rudder or Skeg to Improve Tracking

A rudder is a moveable fin that hangs off the back of a kayak. A skeg, on the other hand, extends and retracts from the kayak’s bottom and functions similarly to an anchor.

Both are used to aid in kayak steering and to counteract various factors that can cause your kayak to veer off course.

When winds are pushing the kayak from the back, making it difficult to track and stay in a straight line, you can use the rudder or skeg.

When the waves are coming up the side of the kayak and making it difficult to keep the kayak straight, you can use a rudder or skeg.


6. Maintain Correct Body Posture

The position of your body in the kayak has a significant impact on how well your kayak track

Keep your body upright and your legs slightly bent to improve your posture. Also, try to rely more on your core muscles to power your strokes while using your shoulder muscles for extra support.

This will allow you to rotate your upper body more efficiently and give your arms more freedom to paddle.

Keep your feet resting on the footrests and avoid pushing too hard on one or both of them while paddling, as doing so can cause your kayak to veer off course.

7. Continue To Practice To Improve Your Paddling Abilities

The paddler’s skill level is one of the most overlooked methods of making your kayak track straight.

It would be best if you concentrated on honing your paddling skills so that you know which stroke to use in which situation. Make sure you practice various techniques for keeping your boat straight.

Paddling practice also strengthens your muscles, allowing you to paddle in windy conditions without becoming fatigued. Remember that mastering straight tracking takes many practice sessions.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to improving your kayak tracking skills, professional guidance and numerous practice sessions come in handy. To keep your vessel in a straight line, you may require additional features such as a skeg and rudder.

The paddle you choose will also have an impact on how well your kayak tracks.

To figure out why your kayak goes off course, we recommend starting with the basics and we hope now you know well how to improve kayak tracking quickly and easily.


Thank You for sparing your precious time to read this article “How to Improve Kayak Tracking Quickly”.

Please do let us know whatever you feel in the comments section below, and please share this with your fishing buddies.

Enjoy Easy Kayak Tracking! 🚣🏻🎣



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