Fast Kayak Suggestions Please

I think I’m giving up road bicycling completely. I can’t take the crashes like I used to. I see my Tempest as a touring bike. What kind of kayak would equate to a time trial here-to-there-straight-line-fast-as-I-can bike?

What do you racer dudes paddle? Iceman, you out there?

Cycling vs. kayaking
I have been a fairly serious cyclist for the past 35 years. There is no way that I can work myself as hard in a kayak as I can on a bicycle. If you are really serious about an alternative watersport to replace cycling, I think you might want to check out rowing before making a big monetary commitment that might disappoint you. When rowing in a shell you can use your legs as well as your upper body and it is a lot easier to get the cardio thing going big time like you are familar with on a bicycle.

For others who might read this, who are capable of getting their cardio in a kayak, please don’t misunderstand me. People have different physiology and my upper body is not as developed as are my legs. Part of this is from cycling of course, but part of it is genetic.



On your coast, I gather that Bruce Gipson (Venturesport) is the guy to talk to, or contact Pat & DeAnne Hemmens at Ocean Paddlesports in CA.

You have choices, depending
on conditions. If you’re interested in working against an international standard, get a sprint K1 boat and a wing paddle. Length is limited to 17 feet, but they’re very narrow and take most people some time to learn to balance. I can balance some of them but not others. Simon River Sports is now making a cheap version of the primo U.S. boat (van Dusen’s, out of Concord, Mass.), sold under the Mohawk name. With this type of boat you’d be limited to flat water, but it could be used for 500m, 1000m, and marathan racing.

If, on the other hand, you’re interested in the ocean, then the fastest craft are surfskis. Lots of models around, but the usual gold standard is the Mako from South Africa.

If you want fast sea kayak, then (in my opinion), in order of speediness:

West Side Thunderbolt

Nelo Moskito FW2000

West Side EFT


SEDA Glider=P&H Spitzbergen

Necky Looksha II

The Looksha is probably faster in waves than some of the others, as it’s based on a surfski hull.

But the point made above about racing is completely true. I can’t get my heart rate up at all while kayak, nothing like when I run or bike. Pushing my hardest, I hit maybe 140.


It’s different excercise
But one thing I know about kayaking, it can be aerobic if you do it right. If speed is what you’re after, you would want a racing kayak of some kind. They’re built for speed. But kayaks that are built for speed are built to get it easily. You don’t have to work as hard. If aerobics are what you’re after with maybe a cool off scenic ride afterward, then maybe a rec boat to paddle harder and then slow down to enjoy the scenery. I don’t think you’ll get the right combo to be able to compare it with biking. It’s a whole different world. But there is one thing to think about; the Hobie Fisherman. It’s a sit on top kayak with foot pedals. That gets going pretty fast and you can still pedal but with the option of upper body with a paddle. I think that’s as close as you’ll be able to get.

bike falls hurt but I like to go fast

– Last Updated: Jun-22-04 6:49 PM EST –

I had a Tempest 17. There are alot of touring boats much faster and just as stable. I've owned a Looksha 4. I believe it to be faster than the Tempest and with no drop skeg, a much better boat for camping(more room). The Looksha 4 is still luke warm at best. I've also owned a Looksha 3, a fast boat but maybe a little tender for most, also a very wet ride(fun for a while but did finally get old). I also own an Epic 18. This is without a doubt the fastest boat I've paddled. I have paddled it to over 9.5 mph. It's also very stable. Go to the review of Epic, I wrote a review on the boat. The negative to the Epic is it's poor fit and finish. If you can get past that this is a great bang for the buck boat. I ordered a carbon/kevlar QCC 700 with a a smart track rudder. It should be here in a week. The 700 is supposed to be as fast(we'll see) and as stable(we'll see) as the Epic but is reported to be a work of art(we'll see). Anyway, I'm a rudder guy, like the bumps, like to go fast, and like to go far. I'm a member of a 100+ person kayak club ( in Jax. Fl. and have paddled alot of boats. Please note, my opinion and $.65 will buy you a refill of coffee. Good luck with your quest, it's half the fun figuring it all out! franklin

Waht do you paddle - I think some would

– Last Updated: Jun-22-04 6:24 PM EST –

dissagree about how much of a workout you can get. I'm not a sreious cyclist or kayak racer, but I do like to go at a good pace and not poke around much.

My heart rate is in the same ranges for either. Bike I feel mostly in quads and calves. Kayak I feel everywhere (but mosty legs and abs).

fastest boats
ICF K1 for flatwater.

Surfski for everything else.

Ski is probably more friendly to someone new to racing boats as you can remount without swimming to shore and even a ski will feel a little squirelly at first, even in relatively still water. An ICF K1 will feel very squirrelly at first and if you fall out, you’ll have to swim it to shore to get back in.

my 2 cents
if you are going to get something as tippy as a k1 or a t-bolt, get a ski. lots more fun especially down here in the south. good entry level (but still fast and fun) skis include the mako xt and futura 2. a step up is the mark 1 (i have one and love it- very fast and surprisingly forgiving in chop etc). the highest end is the mako, findeisen ux, and huki s1x. very tippy.

if you want an all purpose kayak that is exceptionally fast, get the qcc700 or the epic endurance 18. i use a 700 as my winter boat and think it is great.

feel free to email me if you want more opinions.


No, no, no !!!
give up coffee, give up sex, but don’t give up biking.

Still paddle and peddle. They complement each other.

My favorite is now paddling, but I still try to peddle twice a week.

Why not just give up the long, (bike) rides, and do a couple of 25 milers a week.

How far are you from Charlotte?

If you can make it to Charlotte this Saturday, (Latta Park), you can try out my QCC 700 if you want.

I asked the same question you asked last year, and after the responses opted for the QCC.

I can’t say enough good things about it’s speed while at the same time having such good stability.

What ever your speed is now, the QCC should add 2 MPH to it. At least that is what it did for me.



I love my QCC600
and my bike! I’m getting a recumbent bike down the road also.

Don’t give up the riding. Riding is too much fun and your legs need the work. Range of motion is pretty truncated for the legs in K1 paddling, even with lots of rotation.

bicycling (or kayaking) and sex
anyone else remember the bicycling magazine poll where 30% admitted to thinking about sex while cycling but over 50% admitted to thinking about cycling while having sex?

what jack said, Try MT-Biking the dirt is “Sometimes” softer then the pavement!!

Thanks Y’all

– Last Updated: Jun-23-04 7:32 AM EST –

Looks like the surfski and the Q600 might be at the top of the short list. (I think the Q700 would be more volume than I need). I never rowed a scull before. I bet that would be a workout. Have to check out the Epic Endurance also.

Jack, you know I love road riding but a dog jumped out from behind some construction material right in front of my front wheel. Knocked me silly for about 20 minutes in spite of the helmet! I figured the dog owner's insurance company will cut me a check for my totalled racing bike... I could take the money and put it toward a racy boat.

Thanks again.

freaking dog owners that …
…let their dogs run loose should all be tarred and feathered!

That happened to Nanci six years ago, and the result was a torn rotator cuff which she had to have operated on a year later

It screwed up her paddling for a full year.

I still don’t think you should give up something that gives you back so much health.

I have had a bottle thrown at me, a bolt thrown at me, red necks trying to brush me with their vehicles, been bitten by dogs several times, have several permanent road rash scars, but the benefits including the self esteem far outweigh giving it up.

With all that said, if I had to choose between paddling and peddling, I would give up the bike.

I am glad you didn’t get hurt seriously.



600 vs 700
depends on your size and use. 700 is mainly longer with a bit more cockpit space.

I’ve been in both. 700 is (potentially) faster and to me more solid feeling in the water (but I’m a tad heavy for the 600).

Some smaller paddlers prefer the larger boat - some larger paddlers prefer the smaller. The recommended paddler weights are just that - recommended.

Track down some locals for test paddles. I hear there are quite a few QCCs in the Carolinas now.

If you are considering an Epic 18 - it’s about the same size as the 700.

For skis - you’ve already been given the best suggestions. One more: Buy used on a first ski if you can. For more opinions you could check out the Yahoo! Surf Ski group.


– Last Updated: Jun-24-04 1:50 PM EST –

His is a nice yellow over white scheme he matches with his yellow-accented wetsuits when he races in cold -OK, OK, cool -weather.

Ice mounts up for a pre-Bacall test paddle in unsettled conditions on his Isthmus:

Or perhaps this one:

then choose the "FL Keys Paddlefest-The B&B 2004" album, the go to the 2nd page. That's Iceman preparing for a test run. I used this shot because it's the best angle to show his fine setup.

Mine's an even MORE beautiful red over white model which you can see at

But, unlike Ice's case, this can be a twitchy & tricky racing yak for us mere mortals. Greyak can tell you -we all can paddle his 700 from OK (me) to pretty decently (Sally) to quite well (Greyak) -with a GP at that! -in the same stuff that dumps us (me & Greyak, not Sally) off the I.

The I is fast, and it even has storage in the fore & aft compartments. But it IS a bit specialized, and if you want a more versatile boat that won't be quite the "paddlefull" and have a much less steep learning curve, go with the 700 -it really is a lovely boat.

OTOH, if you're not looking for speed, per se, but a good -no, make that a GREAT! -aerobic and VERY cardio paddling workout, get an old OK Malibu II SOT. You work that baby right, it'll be every bit as much as a good bike pump if you try to really push it -especially into a chop and a wind -as you

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

Linda, my bride is getting me interested
in the recumbent cycle. Since she OKed my fishing yak, I am not going to balk at a bent bike. We are looking at the RANS cycles as our best bet. Meantime, we still paddle our NC 17LT Daytrippers and I sneak out in my angler rigged Heritage Sea Dart. Life is good!

…and soon (if not already) he’ll be…
…paddling a shiny new carbon Mako ski.

He was supposed to be getting it around now. Could explain his abscence from the boards! He doesn’t post a lot - but almost never misses a fast kayak or ski thead!