ok. fess up on speed

-- Last Updated: Aug-14-07 2:21 PM EST --

this morning I did 5.58 miles in one hour and 10 minutes. half of that was into the wind and half with the wind at my back. Big Lake (Lake Murray South Carolina by Columbia for those interested)
I was really huffing and puffing with the Outer Island (fiberglass) and I got to thinking about average speeds etc. there have been quite a few threads where people say they average 5.5 miles per hour or 6.5 miles per hour over 8 to 15 miles in plastic boats like the T165.

And I did only about 5 and a half miles!

Is this really true? Because if it is I am woefully out of shape. Also I find that when I am really pushing it, I increase my speed tremendously over just plain touring which frankly stays at around 4 mph. I can maintain that speed forever it seems.

Is this normal or do I need to start taking some vitamins and a can of beenie weenies with me?


I started a thread like this once…

In my opinion, 5+ mph sustained over an hour with no net wind or current help would put the paddler well above the average non-trained-athlete, and indicate that they’ve been working at improving their speed for some time. This would be in any conventional 16-18 foot boat.


10+ mph
I did 10+ mph for around 8 miles the other Sunday.

(of course the current was like 6 knots)

I thought you were going to say,
you were drafting georgiakayaker.

My best in the Bou…

– Last Updated: Aug-14-07 3:37 PM EST –

Was averaging 5.0 mph for 13 mile Boggie course.
But I'm old.... JackL can blow me away..

*Light wind and conditions.. The Boogie course is basically a large circle so you end up going in all directions.

units of measure
are we talking statute miles in this thread or knots?

Remember the airport loop?
I typically average 5 mph =/- .01-02, but I also time the tides to try to get at least some help, even though being a loop tends to average it out and I have nearly equal time (but not distance) with and against current. Speed/time is frustratingly consistent - and such is the lot of the weekend warrior.

If I were actually in OK shape I think I could average 5.5, or maybe 6 over same distance if stronger AND 40 lbs lighter. I know several here who could do this easily, but these are not average paddlers as mhackett notes.

I’ve paddled that loop many times - but only twice with others. The time with you (good pace until your outfitting issues got you BTW. You paddle a lot more than I do, so you’d likely whoop me pretty easily now), and once before with three guys training for adventure races. Two in a tandem, one in a Glider - and me on a WS Tarpon 160 somehow keeping up (I was stronger and paddled more then than now). Most others I know who do that loop like to take 5 hours or more at “group pace”. A slower pace like that makes it take too long and I crap out. I only like doing it if I can get it done in about 3.5 hours or less and can stay at a decent pace (form/energy benefits). I’d be really happy if I could break the 3 hour mark. 3:15 best so far. If you ever hear me break 3, it will mean I finally got off my butt, dropped the weight, and got back to paddling a lot more miles per year.

I finally ripped out that seat in the OI and am using either a jackson sweet cheeks pad with a foam block/pillar behind me or just a contoured thin pad and man what a difference in comfort. No issues at all now.

I want to do that loop again and lets see if we can break 3 hours!


In the 4’s…
I have had a similar experience. My light touring boat (Dagger Savannah 14.5’) prefers to go about 4 mph. The way I figure it, the power of the paddler is a function of blade area, paddle rate (stroke speed), and form. I am not sure if it is boat design or bad form on my part, but the incremental effort to get the boat moving any faster (into the 5+ knots) seems horribly inefficient. The extra effort seems to result in turning the boat or lifting the bow rather than sending it forward. I use a Pacific Designs T-1 Paddle.


One of the main reasons I used to obsess about this question was that I could never be sure the 'bou wasn’t holding me back at least a little. Not over a long distance certainly, (which was entirely non-athlete me) but simply for short bursts. The noisy bow wake would come up and it seemed like the speed wall was building fast. At the time the 'bou was my first, and I had hoped last, boat I’d ever want to buy so I really wanted to know for sure.

Times changed, I decided keeping the same boat for the rest of my life was stupid, and the 'bou has been replaced with a Impex Force 4 this year. Less rocker, a rounder hull, a little more waterline. I feel like there is a bit less abruptness to the resistance buildup, certainly the bow wake is quieter at speed, and I’m covering more distance on my weekly paddle and enjoying the exercise/fitness aspects of paddling more this year than I have in previous years. Working at it feels more gratifying and less like an act of futility.

This is mostly all subjective, of course.


on a slow meandering river near me, the one I paddle most frequently, I will do 12 miles in 3hours

that is with one or 2 10 min stops for a break, and at a consistent comfortable pace.

busting my ass i might be able to shave 30 min or so tops.

this is with a river current that is near noil the whole way… stop paddling you pretty much just float as if on a lake.

so im confident my unassisted (curent or wind) paddling speed is about 4mph.

You could check your speed with these folks:


This past Sunday…

– Last Updated: Aug-14-07 8:13 PM EST –

in calm flat conditions on a lake, I maintained 4.6 mph cruising speed, can do that for hours. Picking it up a bit, I found I could maintain 5.2 mph, but I was working harder. Really pushing it, 6.5 mph for short bursts of a minute or two.

Paddling an 18'3" boat with a wing paddle.

I always take a GPS and monitor my speed.

Did a rough 2 laps around the perimeter of Round Valley in NJ. Approx. 15 miles total.


GO Beenee Weenee Go

– Last Updated: Aug-14-07 5:42 PM EST –

Beans, beans...they're good for your heart,
The more you eat...the faster you'll paddle.

One of these days I'm gonna paddle a long kayak and take lots of witnesses. It won't be a surf ski even though I had a great time on one briefly.

Sunday after paddling 10 miles down the slow moving Etowah River I towed a 70 yo woman in a 10 Old Town kayak the last 7 miles of the 17 mile trip and never stopped to rest. Did have my GPS to check my speed but we passed almost everyone else.

BTW: Lunch was 12 oz H2O & 7.75 oz Beanee Weenee

GK when I grow up I wanna be just like

I’m not that far away so if you ever want to go paddling in long boats let me know.


Here’s a T-shirt for you

When I grow up I want your boats
Nice, I thought the 3 pics looked great until I clicked on them. Really nice and I know you are proud of them. Can’t believe you built such a beautiful kayak.

I’m swamped until Oct 29th but I’m game for a road trip ti SC in Nov.

You must mean Page 4
Smart ass on board. I thought maybe Van Camp had a Beanee Weenee t-shirt for sale. I was ready to order a half dozen

Did 9.8 meters
per second/squared last January (Mintjulep will attest to that) for about 6 feet with my son drafting me, because sometimes…I FORGET HOW TO READ A RIVER ;-0

Edit my last Annie
I knew something was wrong so I went through the 5 pages of shirts again. Hello…Beanie Weenie written on the shirt. OK, close enough…I ordered 3.