Thanks all for the discussion, this has been really interesting to follow and learn.
I’m getting a strong sense that pedal kayak designs still have plenty of room to specialize beyond fishing/photography, subject to demand and a willingness to accept new concepts.
scanned through this string of responses and did not see mention of the simple fact that the Great Lakes have far colder water and unstable conditions than the southern coastal areas that many iof the respondents report pedal kayak experience with.
@willowleaf Spot on, August is the only month water temps get above 70F, and wave patterns are choppy and inconsistent. Couple that with fast-changing weather patterns and this is not a ride to take lightly.
I absolutely understand that a Wilderness Systems Tempest is more “hydrodynamic” than a Hobie Revolution 15, for example. But physiologically, cycling endurance beats paddling endurance, and even with a small “hydrodynamic” penalty, I have to believe a pedal-drive kayak (like the Revo 15) would win out on calm water over long distances against good touring kayaks. Especially in recumbent positions, fewer core muscles are needed to maintain posture than when paddling. The problem is the sea-worthiness of current pedal-drive offerings, which we both agree is below-par, especially for the Great Lakes.
The best athletes crosstrain, choosing complimentary exercises that offer diverse challenges to their body mechanics rather than replicate the most common motions of their their primary sport.
Sounds like your opinion In my opinion the “best” athletes are not all Ironmen. It’s important to know your body, set your goals, and effectively use your limited training time.
JMHO, but I suspect the OP might better improve their overall fitness and achieve more satisfactory and safer distance workouts on the Great Lakes by sticking with conventional sit inside sea kayaks (or surf skis) and paddles.
Good advice and I’ve decided to get a budget touring kayak to get experience with the traditional sport while also getting some pedal-drive option to compare, and I’m not sure on what exactly that will be yet. Nothing beats real life experience.