kayak group speed

if i find a kayak group im wondering on average how fast does the group paddle? i have a feeling most groups will go a lot faster then my abilty can go at this point

You should rarely
have difficulty keeping up with most groups, assuming your kayak has a similar performance profile.

If the “Group” is equipped with a bunch of surf skis and they’re trying to qualify for the next Olympics and you show up with a “Barney Boat” it might go badly. However most “groups” are just average Joe’s and Jane’s with the usual suspects for boats.

This has never been an issue for me as now I’m entering my fourth summer kayaking and I have yet to paddle with anyone :slight_smile:

Anyhow you won’t know until you try.

i might be outa luck then
im pretty sure we have a lot of those training for the Olympics here.the group im looking at is training at the site of the 96 Olympics if i understand

if the people you are
paddling with are cool, they’ll wait up for you and enjoy the scenery.

and im sure ill get faster im slow as a turtle now

groups vary a lot
but you should be able to find at least a few folks. I belong to a few clubs. We have some events for mostly SOT renters in the harbors. We have many short moderate paced paddles and then we do have some that push limits of distance, speed and conditions. Many of the stronger paddlers join with the slower ones at times either to help them along or just as a nice break from the tougher paddles. A good club event posting will give some clue as to who is suitable and if not you just ask giving them your typical distance, speed and conditions.

Just ask the trip leader
Most clubs have an informal rating system for the type of paddle. They will base the paddle on speed, distance and water conditions. I’d suggest just asking the person that’s leading the trip they should be able to give you an honest answer. If the paddle is organized they will normally have an experienced paddler act as sweep, the sweep will follow the group and stay with the slower paddlers. You’ll learn fairly quickly who paddles at a speed where you’re comfortable.

great advice everyone
great advice everyone sounds like fun

Sea kayak or recreational boat?
Most kayak groups (clubs) paddle along at an average speed that 99% of paddlers do easily. There’s always a few paddlers who want to push out but usually most paddlers are along for a medium pace cruise and often stop for conversation etc.

You have to try before you worry too much about it. If you’re in a recreational boat and really slow than maybe you should see what you are getting into. Besides, if you join a group, you’ll know in a few minutes if it is not for you. People are usually pretty considerate and caring about slower padders as long as the entire group is not being held from enjoying themselves because of one paddler.

From my experience, your best bet
is to not look for a group to get up with, but instead try to find paddlers that are similar to you.

It seems to me that ninty percent of paddling clubs have rules, and I have always thought that rules suck and each paddler should do his own thing.

My wife and I paddle with all kinds of paddlers, and when I invite someone to join us, I always make sure that I am the boat that is lagging behind.

On the other hand if I am with a group and someone wants to take off, that will be the last time I want to paddle with that person.

I race and can average six mph if I so desire, but when I am nature watching or with other paddlers I love going slow and smelling the roses or in our case pond lillys.

Jack L

All groups are different
So talk with the group leaders, be honest about your abilities, and see what they say.

If the group you’re looking at joining is a training club, likely they’ll have fast boats and be pushing themselves.

But often racing clubs welcome newer paddlers, offer coaching, etc, to get new paddlers stronger and more confident.

The general rule is the bigger the group, the slower it goes. That’s true for touring groups. Not true for racing groups… if they’re training there’s no waiting for the slowest.

Most kayak groups want to grow the sport and encourage new paddlers, so even if they end up not being the right group for you, they might give you good suggestions and steer you in the direction of a better group for you.

Be truthful
If you are straight with people from day one

  • they’ll generally accommodate various abilities.

    Keeping the “pack” together does provide greater safety,

    Group paddling is a great way to evolve and learn

Ask them
The local group here runs at least two sections, a moderate and a slow group, on the big weekly paddles. Any group doing paddles locally should have a contact person listed that you can call and ask.

Sea vs. rec might not matter at all
Depends on the group in question, and where they’re going.

During my first year of paddling, when I had an OT Castine, I did not join the only sea kayaking club around here. I got the impression from their sample newsletter that anybody in a rec kayak would be too slow for them.

I joined after I bought my first sea kayak. Turns out that I would not have had any trouble keeping up in my rec kayak after all. And I actually could go the whole distance around the reservoir in it, something that they often did not do.

Sometimes what the trip descriptions say do not match reality!

i average less then 3 mph
lol man im slowwwwwwwwww

You are a secure person
You do not need to play informal-racing games. The real races give you what you need for speed.

I found an interesting change when I switched from bike touring with an LAW club to a racing club. The first always contained a few wannabes who fixated on the cost and chi-chi factor of one’s bike. Those people would run red lights to stay ahead of everybody else. The real racers were interested in bikes but much less so than in the riding. They were very helpful to new racers.

Most casual groups average about that.
If the group gets up to 2.7 or 2.8 they are moving along. On the paddles we do on Monday nights there is a mixture of paddlers. The organizers keep an eye on those in the rear and usually take turns paddling along side them and chatting. People in front also stop and wait. We also give people tips, if they want them, to improve their stroke.

great info everyone

I think it depends a lot on the group
I invited someone on a paddle one time and they needed to stop a lot at the beginning to get their boat set up right. When they paddled with the rest of us they easily kept up.

On other trips I’ve had one paddler who could not keep up with the group and I’ve waited for them.

On many trips in the past I couldn’t keep up and folks waited for me.

Find some folks you like and get out paddling and you’ll learn to accommodate each other.

What Frank said sums up most groups