long crossings

Spent ten hours straight in my boat today on flatwater trying to get ready for a long open ocean crossing.

I paddled hard, took little rest (probably didn’t drink enough water). And was whipped by the end. Lower back is killing me, its hard to raise my arms over my head. Putting the boat on the car was nearly a disaster.

So, I realize i probably should have worked up to a long paddle, but what do you sea kayakers do to get ready? How do you stretch in your boat?


i do a 70 mile canoe race @ the end of may. start training jan 1. [even when i lived in the frozen north] a couple of hours wntil around 25 30 hours then go longer. this will help you figure food and drink

long day short day for awhile. the mid dates go long back off before the event to go in rested.

have fun

What did you do for fueling? Did you count calories prior, during and after?

Consider the number of calories you burn per hour. Figure out how to accomodate that.

Did you fuel during the work out? I figure 425 calories per hour.

With proper fueling some of the issues go away.



I think i’d be wet exiting and taking a swim to loosen up halfway through that.

Back stretching
I get lower back pain quite often when kayaking, and have yet to find a perfect solution. Still, for what it’s worth, there are two areas I focus on for preventing pain: seat and stretch.

The seat has to be absolutely perfect. I find the most important area requiring support is not the very bottom of the back, but the area just above - where the back begins to curve back out. That “indentation” needs good firm support or I will have big problems after a couple hours.

Stretching before getting in the boat is also very important for me. The back is difficult to stretch, but I try to rotate through a whole range of motion, doing: bends; many leans as far as possible to the front, back, and sides; and rotations at the hips. I also do the “hands together straight out, lean the shoulders forward” back stretch. If I take a break for lunch or whatever, I do the exercises again.

Like I said, despite these tips, I have yet to find the magic bullet that prevents lower back pain. All I can say for sure is that with a bad seat or bad stretching, I’m going to be sore before long. I hope you find the answer yourself!


I’ve done some longish crossings (22 miles) and have done 36+ mile coastal paddles as part of prepping (I like some overkill in case the crossing gets rough). First you probably do want to work up to it though if you don’t mind some pain jumping to a longer one like you tried is good to at least learn where you stand now.

I find my lower back may ache if I don’t use my legs fully. So in a way both you lower back and tired arms could relate to needing to work on a more efficient forward stroke with good torso rotation that includes mild pushes off each foot.

I’ve done some long but slower paddles with others where I got a lower back ache. Then I had a need/desire to push fast ahead once to scout out a landing for a sea sick paddler. When I went fast I did a more proper stroke and fully used my legs. My lower back pain went away. I’ve since tried to keep that good form going even when going slow (when it had been easy to “just coast by”). Still I do stretch during the paddle like sometimes reaching for my toes (above deck of course).

Food is important and water more so, though your symptoms sound more from forward stroke form and a need to work up to longer distances. Also carrying some ibuprofen is a good idea, but you don’t want to depend on it in place of the above.

Good luck, and make the practice part of your fun.

You’re My Hero!
Anybody that does the Gen’l Clinton is a hero in my book!

I’ve wanted to do it for years, but could never find a paddling partner. Well, almost. I did find a guy who lived in another area…and with 6 weeks to go before the race he was involved in a minor fender-bender, but broke his wrist & arm in the accident.

I’ve been at the finish line for the past 12 years…and I salute you!

ATTENTION all other posters: What ever this guy says about paddling, believe him!

"open ocean"
How do you feel about rough ocean conditions? I think I’d concentrate on working on my experience and rescues and endurance in rough water conditions and headwinds and stuff like that. Get your experience and conditioning in the the conditions where you’ll need it. Plan for worst case scenario, not the ideal conditions with no unplanned-for circumstances.

Flat water endurance is good, but I’d say it’s only a small part of the equation for such a trip.

Ocean crossing
Ditto Nate.

Long ocean crossings are a different beast. How will you manage when you’re 2/3 done and conditions get gnarly? Do you have the reserve strength to deal with both conditions and distance?

I’d suggest a sustained training regimen followed by the following 2 pronged self-test: Demonstrate that you can manage your target distance plus in one go on flat water AND (separate occasion) go out and paddle 10+ miles in Force 4-5 conditions and see how you feel afterwards. Then judge how you’d feel, and what reserve you would have, after your target distance in those conditions or worse.

get comfortable
in wind and waves first–then concentrate on distance

Dope, Baybay

– Last Updated: Nov-14-10 5:42 AM EST –

Ibuprofen is your friend. Your good, close friend.

And yes, working up to longer distances is easier on the body than just running a marathon straight from the couch.

While I'm here... have you ever been seasick? I'd be every bit as concerned about seasickness as I'd be about back pain.

The basics of endurance events:

Eat before you get hungry.
Drink before you get thirsty.
If you see a need to sprint, take deep breaths beforehand.
Take your ibuprofen before you start hurting.

OTS paddles
I occasionally do, what I call, are my Out to Sea (OTS) paddles.

I go out due east (FL) & return x miles. If you want to simulate a 40 mile crossing, then you would go out 20 (& hopefully return).

Similar to a ‘real’ crossing, you have the option on the 1st half of the trip to return early, if conditions deteriorate. Once you’ve done ‘x’ miles, you are committed for the whole crossing.


Good point on sea sickness
Heat and exhaustion can play a big part in bringing on the symptoms of motion sickness. So even if you don’t normally get seasick there is always a possibility of paddling and puking. A good article on this can be found @ http://issuu.com/ckrmagazine/docs/july-aug-09, or you could google “Canoe and Kayak Racing” - July 09 issue. This is a great online magazine that you will also be able to get some tips on endurance training specific to paddle sports.

A sore back will make you wish you were home in the recliner. Seasick will make you wish you were dead.