Getting in shape to race

So I have decided to race kayaks
I have raced a lot of things. Starting at a very young age. I have raced Slot cars, radio control pylon aircraft,Hydroplanes, bicycles,cars and motorcycles. My passion in life is land speed racing. I race a small motorcycle and set land speed records.

But now I have a kayak and there is a race starting in my home town. So here is am. I finished second in the Great Iowa river race . My time was 1:28.08 and now I am looking to better that time. I have given a lot of thought to buying a faster boat. But since the race is once a year I figure upgrading the engine will be better as a first step.
So with that I’m mind I began last week. My plan is to paddle upstream as far as I can in two hours and gauge my performance. Then drift back down stream and learn the section of the river we use to race.
Then go out and have a nice club paddle on Sunday. All weather permitting. Over winter I will have to find another form of exercise.
So I will keep a record with this thread any advice is very much welcome

June 16 I paddled upstream about 4.8 miles in two hours. And down stream
In 1:15 not very hard.
I added a rudder to help with wind. So next week will be better I hope. Plus I hit a sand bar on the way up and stopped twice to fiddle with my gps thing.

Tinkering with Tech will always throw off Speed Made Good.

What kayak are you using and what is the current speed? (

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
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I am paddling a current design kestral 140x. 14 feet long 28 inches wide.
My time in the 9.25mile race was 1:28.08 best time of the race was 1:09 and the winner in my class was 1:14.
My biggest mistakes during the race was not knowing how to paddle properly. After watching the video about paddling I learned to push down and that little bit of information was very helpful. I am now practicing pushing down and using my legs and core mussle group to paddle more efficiently. After the race my arms felt very tired. This tells me I used them more than my core mussels and could have gone faster.

28" wide kayak is wide for racing. 14’ is short for racing also. Unless the others in your class are similar. You can learn to get more speed with better paddling.

What was the winner paddling?

It all depends if you’re doing it for fun or want to be competitive.

The class under 16 feet. The winner had a Stellar under 16 foot and an Epic that was over 16 foot he left on the roof of his car. I don’t know the models.
I know 28 inches is wide. But it is stable and it’s what I have so I will at least use it to train with.
I am always serious when I compete. I am not like stupid crazy or anything. But I do take what I do sereoisly and have fun. I feel it is a matter of respect to give your best. The other people are there and worked hard to get there. So I should do my best.

An alternative to your training plan is to start downstream & return upstream every once in a while.


My alternative training will be to run the whole corse down stream. My wife can drop me off then leave my van at the finish. I can make a test run at full speed. Going down stream then turning around is dangerous . I might not make it back .

With enough time on the water, right paddle, proper core rotation and general conditioning an hour, or so at a fast pace should be just getting warmed up. I often feel stronger after several hours of non stop paddling than I do when I start. I almost always paddle alone and would say that might be the best way to train.

Here is a little hint you might find useful: Concentrate on pushing the blade that is out of the water–with core rotation–not by straightening your arm. Pulling on the blade in the water will take care of itself, but again, power it with core rotation and not arm strength. Your actual rotation doesn’t have to be exaggerated. JUST DO IT.

Thanks I’ll give that a try. I usually paddle alone. And I did notice after paddling two hours up stream I was feeling pretty good on the way back. I’ll try what you say on Saturday . Thanks

After about six inches of rain in two days the Iowa river was swolen to the banks. If I stopped paddling I was going backwards.
I could hug the edge and make foemrward progress but if I can to a turn the current would be very strong. I had to focus on the bow wake. If I looked at the bank I felt like I was not even moving.

The new rudder was fantastic. If I flipped it up immediately had to change my paddle stroke to keep going streight. And when crossing long current tracks I just set it slightly and paddled.

After two hours I got about 3.5 miles up stream. Not nearly as far as last week. About 3/4 the distance. And the drift back took 1/2 hour.

You’re gonna love racing kayaks. My advice to you would be to begin looking at faster boats/wing paddles and start putting in a lot of work on technique. In this sport, technique is 100% necessary if you want to improve.

I definitely will work on that. s it is also the biggest bang for the buck. I think I have deleted on an epic 16x for an upgrade . Can’t even begin to afford it. So I can spend my time now practicing and working techniques

Keep an eye on these classifieds. Sometimes you’ll find some screaming deals on starter boats. You might want to consider a surfski as well–they are great for racing and all around fun on the water. You won’t have to fool around with additional rescue and recovery training and/or gear.

I have been looking at Surf ski’s I do like them. But they are not quite as useful as the regular kayak. But I will see what I can find a good deal on. For now I have a huge motorcycle competition in September. All the money I can scrounge is going toward that.

Today was interesting. The current was definitely slower than last week. So my first check point is a set of power lines. Should make the power lines in one hour. Last week it was an hour and a half. This week was fifty minutes. But the issue today was wind. Very very strong consistent wind. This was a help in some areas and not so much in other as the river winds north.

The rudder is the key with wind. Rather than paddling to maintain direction . I can use the rudder and power stroke with my focus on forward momentum. And the faster I go the more effective the rudder.
I feel my form is improving . But need to inprove fitness. And concentration.

Drifting back down stream is the time I use to learn the river. The level is high and current is swift. So I don’t have to worry about the bottom. But finding the fast area is interesting. The water speed around corners is different than the center . Is there a general rule about current ? Is the edge faster than center. Or does it just seem that way?

Outside faster inside slower. Look for Eddie’s going up stream.

Unless something gets in the way and changes things.

However if that means you have to go twice as far a swift paddle might cut the corner and beat you.

The race is down stream. And the water level in spring is low. Many logs and sand bars. So keeping to the center of the river is safer. But it looks like the water is going faster around corners