Long distance? Short distance?


I’m a newbie (well not even a newbie yet, I’m still in the process of trying to find the suitable kayak for me) and I’m a little confused with some very simple terms - namely, what is short distance and what is long distance in kayaking? I know this might sound a stupid question, the reason for asking is that I haven’t been sitting in a kayak since I was about 8 years old, so I haven’t got a clue. I’d use my kayak for freediving-spearfishing, so I’m planning to buy a sit-on-top. And when I have to choose between a long/thin kayak or a short/wide one, I can only find out from everywhere that the long one is more suitable for long distance paddling/touring as it is faster, and the short one is more stable but recommended for short-medium distances only.

I’d surely appreciate the stability and perhaps surfing ability of a shorter one, but I’d like to paddle out to some small islands that are 3-4 km offshore, and come back of course… I guess the maximum distance I’d like to cover within one day would be about 12-15 km, the average being about 4-6. So what kind of a kayak do you think would be suitable for this? What is the average speed of long/thin kayaks like an ocean kayak scupper pro, (I mean the speed that is comfortable for an average person for longer periods) and what about a shorter-wider one like an ocean kayak scrambler? (I mean like around 2km/hour or 4 or what?)

With a long touring kayak
you can easily paddle 20 miles or more in a day.

With a short fat SOT I would think seven or eight or less would be a long paddle for you.

Just my take !



long and short, wide and narrow,
stable and tippy - these are all relative terms and very subjective. I paddle a WS Tarpon 140. To me it is very stable yet I have turned it over. I have paddled it for 22 miles in a day and I could have gone more from a comfort standpoint, but I do rivers and there is usually a lot of starting and stopping. I can paddle forever at about 3 mph and push it for short runs at 5.5 mph. It hauls me and all the stuff that I need for a four day trip. Shop around, paddle as many as you can, and then just get one. Enjoy.

the answer will vary with the paddler
"long" distance for me is about 40 miles. “short” distance for me is about 20 miles. i rarely paddle less than about 20 and often do 30-40 in a day. others may consider a long ride 10 miles. it’s going to vary considerably with the individual. in the final analyses however … it doesn’t matter at all what others think is long or short. what does matter is what YOU feel.

For your purpose
Sit on tops are the way to go. Most of the longer sit on tops that come with a tank well would work fine for what you want to do. Check at www.sit-on-topkayaking.com for knowledgable help with choosing a boat that will work the best for you. Also there are several diving and fishing websites that also discuss the best boats. The scuppers with the tankwells would be a good place to start. I own several kinds of kayaks and I can easily paddle a Ocean Kayak Frenzy several km, it goes out through through surf and surfs well for a starter SOT, it’s slow though, and I would want a longer boat if I was going to paddle more than 5 -6 km at a time. Another good option is the larger Scrambler model, it’s very popular with fisherman and divers here in Southern California . The wide Fish and Dive Cobra’s are popular around here to.

Look For a TankWell
I have a 13’ Ocean Kayak Mars. I am comfortable on 7-8 mile trips with a break. Maintaining about 3 MPH is pretty easy.

The Scupper Pro is pretty standard. The Srambler is a good boat in surf, but pretty slow in the flats. Lots of guys use Scramlers, and Scramler XTs, for near shore diving


We may have to rig up a tow line for when we get together this year. I have not done any 30-40 mile paddles yet.

A short paddle for me is 5-10 miles and a longer paddle is more, LOL.

Happy Paddling


tow line …
if any tow lines are used this year mark, i’ve no doubt i’ll be on the receiving end.

thank you for all the answers, I think I will go for a longnarrow kayak then.

Go with the Scupper
Scupper is still short and fat by touring kayak standards, but it does a lot of things decently and is pretty close to ideal for the uses you’re talking about.