Most kayakers know the importance of tracking in a kayak. Without good tracking, you’ll quickly find yourself going in circles – or worse, end up flipping your boat over.
So here the question arises how to make a kayak track better?
The simple answer is to use a skeg. A skeg is a flat plate that can be dropped down from the back of your kayak. It will help to give you directional stability and control when paddling in windy conditions such as rainy days, or even on fast-flowing rivers and rapids.
According to your needs here we come up with the top 6 ways that you can follow to Improve Kayak tracking without any hesitation.
Note: If you are looking for the best skeg for the kayak so I recommend you to buy GPP Kayak Accessories Skeg Tracking Fin.
Table of Contents
What Is Kayak Tracking?
A kayak tracking is how well the kayak cuts through the water. A kayak that tracks well will generally be easier to paddle straight because it goes in a line, rather than zigzagging or circling (turning). For many people who are new to kayaking, this is one of the most important things they learn about along with learning different strokes such as the J-stroke and sweep stroke.
When you paddle a kayak, it will naturally want to turn one way or another depending on which side of the boat your blade is pushing against the rough water. If you just lean back and forth without trying to control this turning, then you’ll find yourself going round and round in circles over and over again.
How to Make a Kayak Track Better? Best 6 Ways
Having a kayak on track for better kayaking is not a very difficult task. You just need to perform some tweaks and changes in your kayaking style. Some of the best techniques that you can follow to make a kayak track better are as follows:
1. Adjust Your Stroke
Your kayak tracking largely depends on how you paddle. If your strokes are angled too far to the side, they will pull your kayak off course. Try to keep your strokes straight, and only angle them slightly towards the direction you’re paddling in. You may also need to adjust your paddle stroke depending on the type of kayak you’re using – for example, a sit-on-top kayak will require wider and more powerful strokes to achieve good tracking.
2. Maintain Your Paddle Position
Another factor that can make your kayak track badly is if you change your hand position on the paddle every now and then. Keep a comfortable grip on your paddle throughout each stroke, and avoid changing it until the end of the stroke cycle.
3. Adjust Your Seating Position
If you’re not sitting in the correct position, you may find that your kayak starts to track to one side or the other. Make sure that you’re sitting with good posture, and adjust your seat if necessary so that you’re always centered in the kayak. Adjusting the seating position is an effective method to keep the kayak on track.
4. Add Weight to the Kayak’s Stern
If your kayak is too light, it won’t track as well as it should. You can add weight to the stern (back end) of the kayak by placing a heavy bag or container there. This will help to keep your kayak headed in the right direction.
5. Use a Kayak Skeg
A skeg is a flat plate that can be dropped down from the back of your kayak. When raised, it acts as a rudder which will help you to track in a straight line. Lowering the kayak skeg will help you to turn more easily.
6. Use an Electric Trolling Motor
Though this might seem like cheating at first, an electric trolling motor can make all the difference if you’re trying to paddle against a strong wind or current. With one, you won’t need to worry about tracking – just steer towards your destination!
Well, if you are worried about how to make a kayak track better so above mentioned methods are very beneficial for you to make your kayaking experience better.
Why Does It Matter If Your Kayak Track Is Good Or Not?
Kayak tracking is important for several reasons.
- If your kayak tracks badly, you’ll lose a lot of energy and power through correcting its course constantly – and if the wind or current is against you, this could make paddling almost impossible.
- For beginners who are learning to master their strokes and paddle in a straight line, good tracking is vital. If your kayak zigzags all over the place, it will be much harder to steer and won’t go in a straight line.
- If you’re trying to take photographs or videos of something ahead of you while kayaking, then good tracking is necessary so that the subject stays directly in front of you (instead of going behind you and disappearing from view).
- Lastly, good tracking is a sign of a skilled kayaker. If your boat turns when you paddle in one direction, or when the wind picks up slightly, then this shows that you need to work on your paddling technique.
BONUS TRICK: Improve Kayak Tracking By Using Your Paddle as a Rudder
Some kayakers find that using their paddles makes them feel more stable and secure. Instead of steering with your kayak’s rudder, you can try moving your paddle from side to side to achieve the same effect. This is particularly useful if you’ve broken or lost your kayak’s rudder, or if you’re using a sit-on-top kayak.
To do this, hold your paddle sideways in one hand (with the blade pointing towards the ground), and use it to steer yourself left or right. You may find it helpful to keep your other hand on the kayak’s rim for balance. Remember to use short strokes when steering with your paddle, not long ones.
In the end, tracking in a kayak is important for a number of reasons – from conserving energy to staying on course to appearing like a skilled kayaker. By following the tips listed above, you’ll be able to make your kayak track better in any situation.
In the end, we hope that now you are well aware of how to make a kayak track better.
What kayaking accessories do I need to make my kayak track better?
As long as you have a rudder, then you don’t need any other accessories to make your kayak track better, but if you want to add weight to the stern of your kayak, you’ll need something quite heavy such as a sealed container or a bag of sand. You might also want to consider using a skeg or an electric trolling motor.
Q. How do I know if my kayak is tracking well?
If your kayak tracks in a straight line and doesn’t zigzag when you paddle, then it’s tracking well.
Q. What is a skeg?
A skeg is a rudder that can be dropped down from the back of your kayak to help it track in a straight line.
Q4. Why does my kayak spin when I stop paddling?
If your kayak is spinning when you stop paddling, it is likely that there is something wrong with your paddle. The most common problem is that the paddle is not symmetrical – one blade is wider than the other. This can cause the kayak to spin in circles.