Kayak Speed/effort

good distinction
thanks for posting that.

Attitude is Everything
Yeah Salty, different strokes for different folks. My perspective is always that of a performance paddler that likes long skinny boats, wing paddles and rudders on the ocean. My profile makes this clear, as do my opinions.

The only thing I have against the paddlers who like to bob around rock gardens or practice rolls all day with Greenland paddles, or perhaps paddle to a pic-nic on a beach is that this type of paddling is not likely to appeal to younger paddlers or even older paddlers who have a more extreme sports attitude.

For instance many surfers in the Northeast would be candidates for surfskis if they only knew how fast and fun it can be. There are always waves to ride on a surfski when the waves aren’t rideable on a surfboard. Surfers think paddling sea kayaks is for old farts. Actually, they are right. If you look at the average age of sea kayakers we would find it is well over 40 (I’m almost 43). How do we attract the younger, surfer type personality to paddling? Greenland paddles, Brit style boats, BCU classes, etc… will not win these guys over.

I gotta think there would be many more paddlers out there that would enjoy the more extreme side of ocean paddling if they only understood how easy it really is. The conventional wisdom is that one has to be an olympic level athlete to paddle above 5 knots. The conventional wisdom is wrong. Anyone with the right technique and equipment can be out there surfing ocean swells with a little practice.

Its astonishing to me how often I am out there in beautiful spots doing surfing runs at 8 - 15 knots with the water flying and the kayak humming and there isn’t another sea kayaker in sight. Where is everybody? What are they doing that could be more fun? What kind of kayaking allows one to be more in tune with the ocean than becoming one with the waves at 10+ knots? This is the kind of paddling that just might get some young people interested in paddling.

There are many disciplines in sea kayaking, something for everyone’s adrenaline level. I know there have to be more people out there with an aggressive attitude that would fall in love with performance ocean paddling. I feel the need to let others know that this type of paddling is just an equipment choice and an attitude away. However, if they begin to believe that 3.5 knots is all one can expect, then we will lose them before they even get started.

If some of us with a younger attitude do not speak up, then sea kayaking will forever be perceived as for old farts in slow boats :slight_smile:

Get in the boat and paddle. Regardless of what the boat is capable of…it still depends on the motor.

…but I keep forgetting we are all equal speed and endurance paddlers

just some eat Beanee Weenees and some don’t.

the ability to maintain that speed

– Last Updated: Dec-06-07 7:23 PM EST –

One of the best things I've done for my paddling recently was 1.5 days on forward stroke with Ben Lawry this past summer.

It made a noticeable difference in my ability to comfortably maintain a good cruising speed over a period of time.

Yes, it also helped me sprint better.

I am not a racer and do not own boats specifically designed prioritizing speed over rough water handling. Maintaining 4.5 knots over a duration in my Nordlow or Aquanaut is fine with me. Sprinting to 6 or so knots is useful, but I don't need to maintain that speed for my purposes.

BTW, I did that 1.5 days on forward stroke in my Romany. Ben was in a racing kayak ;-)

I was referring to non-racers and any of the boats in that chart other than the three fast ones. In other words, typical sea kayaks, over a good distance of a least a few miles, not just sprinting.

I consider you one of the good ones, btw, though you like to claim otherwise frequently :wink: I think you’ll have a harder time bumping that 4.3 average up to 5 than you may imagine, though, unless you change to a racing boat.


speedy kayaking/young and sexy

– Last Updated: Dec-06-07 10:03 PM EST –

the young and sexy crowd have no interest in fast kayaking aggro or not. too obscure, too technical, not enough photo ops. it's pure board surfing and they couldn't give a hoot about kayaking, where you been? and those few who do are in river kayaks, throwing ends or running creeks, you know, wimpy stuff like that. when Epic hats and spandex become popular at the scenster cafe, it may attract some attention, but don't hold your breath for the cool kids to take an interest in race paddling and the minutiae of the forward stroke. what you want to do is start targeting the people hanging out at the local crit races and the weekend mud fests known as cyclocross, there's your market dad.

Again, I agree
But let me say that coastal play is essentially ocean whitewater! There is very much exciting and challenging in surf and rock gardens and the WW types I know enjoy that aspect of sea kayaking far more than just touring.

You are talking different sports altogether. But yeah, surfing ocean swell on a craft designed to go fast is a blast. Heated deiscussions contrasting speed differences among slow kayaks is silly.

I’d say keep enjoying what you do and don’r sweat the fact that many on this site enjoy another type of paddling.

Guys like sing and myself enjoy surfing with an entirely different type of craft. I’m guessing he, like me, isn’t really interrested in casual touring in a sea kayak anymore…unless it’s in big water. At that point any of the playful coastal boats would be fine.

Also agree with Greyak
Yep, but the weaker smaller folk are penalized with a craft too big for them when the wind kicks up and the sea gets big. That’s what many do not understand. They can’t sprint those long hulls.

Something to do when you’re not paddling
Design and build another boat.

I saw that
I posted to you but didn’t inted to address you,

I’d love to build a strip kayak but I’m going to opt out on it. Around here it would be a show-boat and not get much use. I don’t want to be a Sunday lake-paddler and I’m happy bouncing the rotos down river.

coastal play is essentially ocean ww

– Last Updated: Dec-06-07 7:21 PM EST –

This past season spent a lot of time in ww sessions and running ww for exactly that reason. Moving between river ww and ocean rock gardening & tidal races is great fun and one informs the other.

Some of the ww folks I know simply yawn when sea kayaking is mentioned. A friend who is a respected ww paddler had to vouch for us when we registered for a two day ww training with a couple of excellent coaches. Fortunately we proved ourselves good students and were invited back. I think we helped change the perception of sea kayakers as flat water paddlers who can't brace or roll.

My first time at Sullivans Falls for the first Mayhem with Maynard session at the first Downeast Symposium was apparently the first time people saw folks in long boats playing in that spot. It seems that previously most folks had only seen paddlers in whitewater boats there.

Paddling is paddling. The more I move between ww and sea kayaking the more it seems strange that most kayakers do one or the other, rather than both...

Salty, I agree with you and maybe did
not make my point well. The longer boat ( all things equal) will have a higher speed sweet spot. By this I mean that the point at which the power needed to go faster becomes a much higher multiplier, or in the postings article, the point at which the power curve really points upwards. My father in law added a bulbous bow to his trawler and picked up significant speed from two factors, laminar flow and waterline. I am not an engineer, he is, and his science points mostly towards waterline. My point in all of this that there is not a BIG difference in the speed of well made performance sea kayaks, (not race boats, even though they are subject to physics too) given equal influences. I said maybe two knots from slowest to fastest and I think that is a safe estimate. I consider myself a strong recreational paddler and can average 4.1 to 4.6 mph over an 18 mile paddle with 1 to 2 foot seas and 10 to 15 miles per hour of wind. Put me or hercules in any number of performance sea kayaks and this average will not have a spread exceeding 2mph for the same paddler. Just my opinion based on my experiences so far. I will also speculate that the fastest boat on that graph (the red line I think) was about to hit its sweet spot at five pounds (the curve was starting to tail) and this is why they ended the graph at 5. If it was much higher why would they have left this very important fact out of the equation? These guys who are averaging over 6 knots on long distances must be some very strong and fit people with exceptional technique, either way I would not want to meet up with them in a dark alley so I am going to make this my last post on this one. Thanks for listening. Bill

The attitude of WW guys toward sea kayakers (I’ve seen it, too) is analogous to that of mtn bikers’ attitude toward road biking in the late 80s and early 90s. They sneered at is as being for wimps…

UNTIL the guys who trained both disciplines started routinely thrashing their butts on the mtn bike race circuit. The dual-sports bikers’ aerobic AND anaerobic performance was simply better.

The sneering diminished, and now most serious mtn bikers also ride the road.

Storage space!!!
People in their teens and 20s usually don’t own homes where there’s room to store long kayaks either indoors (garage) or outside. They rent apartments.

Also, it’s a lot cheaper to throw some shorty WW kayaks on a small car’s roof or inside a pickup truck bed than it is to fork out bucks for roof racks or trailers.

I mean, if young guys are so adverse to “boring” sports, then why do there continue to be young long-distance runners and triathletes? Not all young people are the same type of person (or old people, for that matter). And THAT is good.

young are so adverse to “boring” sports
Though there are more young folk running ww than sea kayaking, there is a lot of grey hair on the river whenever we are running ww - and it is not just our own.

Though many of the coaches and other top guns of ww are young, a goodly number of the rest of the paddlers are Boomers or Gen Xers. The two best ww paddlers I know personally hail one from each of these generations.

If by young one means Millenials, around here they are out numbered in both ww and sea kayaking by ‘older’ folks. I don’t know what physical pass times the young folk are into, but it doesn’t seem to be paddling…

I believe even in the US you’ll find clubs with thriving children and youth K1 programs.

It’s all about the environment and a critical mass of young paddlers to attract more young people.

Here in Denmark, the most successful race club is located in a small town in the boonies with a population less than 6000. The thing is that everybody and their dog either paddles or is somehow connected to the kayak club. It is even said that many of the children eat their breakfast in the club before going to school.

The thing about young people in an kayak environment is that they makes for some cheerful and amusing company. I feel compelled to write - as opposed to grumpy old “sea kayakers” :slight_smile:


Won’t do, actually

I don’t have access to the 20 or so different boats in the original graph.

How many of us here speculating on speed are young thrill-seekers?

I know a guy, a regular on class 5
creeks and rivers that told me point blank he is scared of the ocean. No problem hucking class 5, but the ocean gives him the creeps. Wow. Class 5 truly scares me. As far as attracting people to sea kayaking, I think This is the Sea and other vids are doing a pretty good job.


boat houses and clubs
It is great to ride a bike to a kayak place such as bay creek in rochester and grab your boat from the rack. Please check www.blackburnchallenge.com to see 3 hour results from a 20 mile race. The narrow boat improves technique.