wing stroke" waggle"
Posted by: gstamer on Nov-09-12 9:55 AM (EST)
Agreed. The lateral wing stroke, by far the predominant technique in Olympic sprint, starts with a catch close to (or touching) the hull and then the paddle moves away from the hull. This does makes the bow yaw (and the tail "waggle"), even among the best paddlers.
Current thinking is that the benefits of the stroke (increased rotation/power and the paddle path moving into undisturbed water) more than make up for losses of the yaw introduced.
Competitive kayakers use a rudder so that all effort goes into making the kayak move forward, rather than correcting course.
My racing kayaks all have rudders, but on my touring kayaks, I'm not racing so I simply pull up the skeg completely if it's not needed, and otherwise drop it down as little as possible until it does the job.
If you really want to increase your effective flatwater speed then touring paddlers should practice drafting (wash riding) one-another, and take turns at the lead.