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How far can you paddle in a single day?

What is the farthest it would be possible to paddle in a single day, with adequate training ahead of time? Would 30 nm be reasonable?


  • It Depends....
    On conditions, flat water or moving water, type of kayak paddled, your endurance and pain threshold.

    There's a race in the interior of BC which is 100kms, and takes around 10 hours in a racing boat.

    The furthest kayaked in 24 hours is around 350kms, but that was on a river.

    Some kayakers have paddle continuously for over 24 hours to complete sections with no landings.

    30 nautical miles is about 55 kms. For a strong paddler, that's quite doable.

    Joe O'Blenis did more than that daily when he set a new world record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island last summer.

    10 kms/hr is a strong but doable pace. So a strong paddler could do 30NM in about 6 hours in favorable conditions, without stopping for a break.

    If you're interested, there's some articles I could find the links to on preparing for long distance paddles (with tips like duct taping your nipples to prevent chaffing).

    In the realm of normal paddling, if you're planning on a trip, I don't recommend planning to paddle to your limit. Assume you won't have consistently favorable conditions, leave yourself extra time and energy to deal with emergencies. Consider if your hands get covered in blisters, or you pull a muscle, will you be able to get back?
  • Nipple Tape...
    Next time I go for a personal distance record I'm going to put some clear polish on my fingernails. We did a 36 miler at the NC outer banks and at the end of the day I had bruising under my pinky fingernails. I think they got soaked and softened and I was pulling too hard on the paddle.
  • Time?
    How long did 36 miles take you to paddle?

  • My wife and I did 27 last week in the
    "BGD" expedition tandem yak. We hope to work up to 50 in 12 or 13 hours
    We do several races in our tandem canoe each year one of which is a fifty miler and another a forty.
    Down the Keys nature watching, 20 in a day is plenty

    jack L
  • well...
    we hope to do the general clinton 70miler in under 10hrs tommorrow! thats a tandem canoe, for the Yukon we plan on doing 160-180miles per day but there will be at least 5 of us in the canoe(hopefully 6!)
  • depends
    On rivers with a general current on 2 mph or so, you can expect to do about 5.5 mph at a constant paddle pace with breaks. In a tandem I have done 100 miles in 18 hours. On lakes I have done 40 miles and that took about 9 hours. Without training much 20 miles is not really bad but it will hurt the next day.

    I don't have any science behind this but, paddling on moving water is at least 50% easier. There is something about static water that is a drain on me.

    Ryan L.
  • which races
    Are they close by to nc?

    Ryan L.
  • Options
    30 miles in a day with a couple of breaks shouldn't be that hard unless you have adverse conditions bigest problem is sitting in the boat for that length of time , focus on comfort and thigh support
  • Time in the boat
    The physics of how boats move through water dictates that going fast takes considerably more effort than going slow. As such, and I think this was Verlen Kruger's idea first, comfort is more important than an exceptionally sleek hull for making long distance days.

    Put another way, it takes far less energy to go 4mph for 10 hours than to go 5mph for 8 hours. I think 10mph for 4 hours would be unlikely in most paddle-craft, while 2mph for 20 hours would be no trouble for almost anything with a comfortable seat.
  • It Wasn't a Race
    -- Last Updated: May-29-11 12:47 PM EST --

    so speed wasn't a big issue. I think it took about 11.5 hours including all our breaks.

    It might have been 12.5 hours. I can't remember shquat.

  • The fifty miler is on the Suwannee...
    River, starting in Fargo Georgia and going to White Springs, Florida. They are adding a hundred miler to it this year
    The 40 miler is the Lumber River race in NC which unfortunately has been changed to 20 miles due to the last 20 miles being in wilderness, (think unsafe!), but we are pushing for it to get changed back to 40.
    There is a 100 miler at the coast in Core Sound, NC in the fall, (the Watertribe Challenge)

    Jack L
  • I agree on the seat
    It makes all the difference in the world
    20 miles in my QCC-700 and my butt wants out, but 25 miles in our big Necky tandem, and I can keep right on going.

    Jack L
  • Then how many days in a row ...
    Doing 30 miles for one day at top speed is one thing, doing it for 10 days in a row is entirely another.

    I highly doubt most of us can paddle flat water without current at 10 km/h average (6 mph) for any given lenght over an hour or so. I think that is only doable in a specialize racing kayak or a fast surf ski kind of craft. Even these craft can't maintain these speeds for more than a few hours with top atletes paddling them unloaded.
  • 100 miles - check this out
    -- Last Updated: May-29-11 10:51 AM EST --


    I've done a 50 mile river trip and 30 miles on open ocean coastline. Check out a few videos by Justine Curgenven and read a few books by Chris Duff for examples of long sustained paddles over many weeks. If you train and are in reasonable health you can do 30 miles.

  • Distance ?
    Many moons ago, I did 37 miles in one day, in a solo canoe. Did it just to see how far I could go in a day. Have no doubt I could have done 40 miles if I hadn't gotten lazy.

    Don't remember it as being much fun. My hands,wrists, back, shoulders, arms & legs hurt for 3 or 4 days. I have no plans whatsoever to ever attempt to break my own record.

  • Options
    Farallone Island 46 Miler
    Back in 1987 four of us paddled two Necky Tofino doubles from Pt. Reyes to the Farallone Islands off San Francisco, then in the Golden Gate, a distance of about 46 miles, taking just under 10 hours to complete. The Tofino was not a fast double but quite seaworthy, and we were trained and motivated. Conditions were almost flat (unusual for that area) and no boathandling was required. I remember being so tired afterwards that I almost fell asleep while driving home.

  • Options
    I'm just starting out and go about 10 miles at 3.5 mph with one or two 5 minute breaks. I usually feel like I could go further but at that point one of my knees is starting to ache. :(
  • Options
    Many many variables - 40 - 50 miles
    I've paddled 40 to 50 miles in a day a few times.
    Pretty regularly do 15 to 20 mile days in the summer.
    Easy enough to ramp up training to accommodate 30 to 35 miles.

    There is a big difference between 2-3 mph and 5-6 mph paces though.
  • either way...
    I'm impressed. Much further than I've ever gone in a day.
  • Knees
    I went for a 4 hour paddle with a friend a couple years ago. When we landed, I found my knee had seized and I literally couldn't move it. My friend had to help slide me out of the kayak. Fortunately it never happened again.
  • Current and Wind
    When paddling against current and wind it can be less energy total to paddle harder.
  • 170 kms Non-stop
    Here's a great read for all you long distance armchair paddlers... like me :D

  • Options
    -- Last Updated: May-29-11 4:30 PM EST --

    WaterMark, I would love those links!

    Don't worry, this would just be a one day thing.

  • Many Years Ago
    Hal and I in solo rec canoes made it a habit of hitting off 15 to 25 mile days on a long trip. First few days was like trying to get out of a coffin in the morning but ya get used to it after a while. I think our top day was around 30 miles and we were hauling around 110 pds of gear each. Still get a s&^t eating grin on my face thinking about those days.

  • 24 miles in 4 1/2 hours
    Is what I did last fall at Raystown. Only made a couple pit stops, and once to fuel me up with food.

    I paddled my Artisan Millenium, which has a very comfortable seat. I could have paddled further that day.
  • Thanks
  • Impressive
    I'd think that'd be completed rather quickly...



    Never mind.

    Just get out there with a comfy seat and


    -Frank in Miami
  • Never tried...
    to see how far I could go in a day. Many years ago a buddy and I, with no training but in pretty good shape, entered a downriver canoe race on a small class one river--long dead pools and short riffles. We were in a 17 foot Grumman that had seen better days; the bottom was wavy and had a lot of "reverse rocker". Horrible boat to try to paddle fast. We did 21.5 miles in 3.5 hours. I believe, given how I felt at the end of it, I could have paddled at half that speed for ten hours in that boat, so I figure 30 miles a day in a well-designed boat on that kind of water would be absolutely no problem if you're in decent shape.
  • well
    the current world record on flat water is i think 261 miles in 24-hours.
    ive done around 200 in a tandam canoe on the yukon in 24 hours and solo ive done in the 80s often with current etc. flat water was more in the 50 range being a reservour or lake type current. bob bradford and clark eid did well over 135 for 18 consecutive days paddling the 2340 miles of the entire mississippi river
  • If you are a beginner and you are
    going 10 miles at 3.5, that is great, but you are probably bracing too hard on the foot pegs if your knees are hurting.
    Every so often stretch your legs out in between the foot braces, and don't push too hard on them.
    All the long mileage comes with time in the boat.
    It's kind of like training for you first running marathon - (LSD) Long slow distance!

    Jack L
  • Options
    Not as hard as you would think
    30 nautical miles (roughly 34.5 miles) isn't bad.

    Divide your distance by time and you can see that average speed is actually pretty slow. If you paddle 12 hrs, your average speed only needs to be 2.5 nm/hr, or 2.9 mph.
    My training runs last year for the MR340 were 36 miles, and usually took me about 9-10 hours.
    On rivers, you would be able to do much much more very easily.
    I assume you are talking about flat water though.
  • Options
    Distance? Easy!
    In 2009, with heart disease and not having been in a canoe in about 30 years, this old fat guy (me) and his wife took a canoe 26 miles in 6 hours. We went DOWN the Rifle River (and "only" turned over 4 times.) You really need only paddle to steer. ;)
  • Hard to Believe
    261 miles = 450 kms

    Since the world record on moving water is around 350 kms paddled in 24hrs, hard to believe to record for flat water is 100kms more.
  • 24-hr World Record
    Curious, I looked it up.

    The record was set last fall, and is 261 miles on moving water.

  • Options
    So moving water record is 261 miles
    whats the flatwater record?

  • Ya
    You had the # right. It was a lot more than I had thought. 450km in one day... crazy.
  • Options
    day distance
    hane done 70 miles 20 times shortest time 8 hours slowest 12. in the 90 the first day is 35 miles about 6 hours.

  • 26 miles..but...
    My personal record is 26 Miles in 3 1/2 hours, including a quick lunch break. We did have a little help from moving water though :-)


    The Lehigh was flowing about 10,000 cubic feet per second if you take creek inflow into consideration, the release from the dam was 8200 cfs but we had a lot more by the end of the gorge. So in our 3.5 hours, we took advantage of about 950,000,000 gallons of moving water...the amount of horsepower that must represent is staggering.

    The most I ever paddled on flatwater was about 15 miles in a day, I don't remember how many hours it took though it wasn't a whole day by any means.
  • 150 miles
    According to guiness it's 150.34 miles in 24 hours on flat water. Almost 242 km for you metric folks.

  • Thanks for looking that up :)
  • Ultra marathon training tips
    -- Last Updated: May-31-11 3:08 PM EST --

    complete with duct tapping your nipples advice


  • 50 miles
    My longest day of pure paddling is 50 miles in about 12.5 or 13 hrs. From the 50 mile mark I popped up a downwind sail and paddle/sailed another 35 or so. Total time was just under 22 hours.

  • flat water record
    Brandon NElson use to have the record of 141 miles in 24 hours on flatwater but it may be broken.
    The first 35 teams in at the finish of the Yukon Quest are paddling back to back 220-mile days for a time of ..under 50 hours for 440 miles...the first place team last year completed the 440 miles in 33 hours I believe...a voyaguer canoe.
    The top teams in the Ausable Canoe Marathon have been finishing the 120-mile race in well under 15 hours for the last 25 years, with the record time of 13 hour, 58 minutes.
    that is on about 65% flat water for that race.
  • Molokai World Championship
    Is 32 miles, or 51km, from one hawaiian island to another.

    The record is 3:21.

    That's 10 miles/hr or 15 km/hr.
  • Options
    ok im quiting
    or at least feel like it i can barely paddle 5 miles a day. im ashamed to admit this
  • Why be ashamed?
    What's more important, that you love getting out on the water and paddling, or that there's someone in the world that's faster than you?

    Bear in mind, all the paddlers doing these amazing feats have probably been paddling for years, have had lots of coaching, train like elite athletes, base their entire lives around paddling and training, and are paddling top-end elite kayaks.

    There's nothing wrong with 5 miles a day, if you're loving it. Overtime you're distance will increase. You'll get better endurance, more efficient technique, and eventually a faster kayak.
  • Options
    guess thats true
    one day i almost went 10 and really felt i was going to die.i always forget i still have to paddle back.its amazeing how far some of ya all go
  • Are going to do the same tomorrow?
    There is a big difference between what you can do in a single day of all out effort, and what you do when you are going to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, etc.

    20km is a good day's paddle after day 4 or 5.
  • 20 miles/day is not normal
    -- Last Updated: Jun-01-11 12:39 AM EST --

    The distances some of the paddlers in this thread has paddled in a day is very impressive.

    But for a 'normal' casual paddler, 10km is quite long and tiring (about 6 miles)

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