Paddle and Row

I have a 16” Stonington Pulling Boat ( with a sliding seat that I row about 25 kilometers per week on the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh. I was thinking of alternating rowing and paddling a kayak because it would exercise different muscles and it would be nice to actually see where I was going occasionally.

Motor boats wakes can make the river pretty rough so I need something pretty stable and I am looking at a used Venture Easky 15’ which is an ideal (maximum) length because it could nest inside the pulling boat on the roof rack. I am a “water person” used to small boats and have occasionally used shorter kayaks w/ no problem.

Does anyone both row and paddle, if so, how is it working? Also, how fast can one paddle a 15’ kayak? I can row about 8 kilometers in an hour and get a good workout. I am 59, 5’-11” and weigh 230 pounds (and dropping).

rowing vs paddling
Be aware that the Venture Easky is actually 15 1/2’ long so make sure it still fits inside your rowing boat if that is important.

I have not rowed a lot in an actual boat (spent a fair amount of time on rowing machines). You can’t get the large muscle groups of your quads and buttocks into play paddling as you can rowing with a sliding seat. I used to paddle on a lake in my home built sea kayak (17 1/2’), and tried to match the speed of a friend rowing and never could come close. But that was a single scull and he had sculled competitively in college.

The kayak you are looking at is 24" wide which is a little beamier than some (which will influence speed) but at your size I’m not sure you would want to go any narrower. You are rowing at just under a 5mph pace. I can go about 5mph on flatwater in a sea kayak if there is no adverse wind, but it is a workout.

I like to exercise different muscle groups as well, and often paddle my canoes and kayaks backwards for that reason, which is not difficult when you get the hang of it.

Haven’t rowed in a while.
But when I did I liked it better than paddling. But it is not as popular as kayaking. Also in places where you need to turn a lot a kayak can be a real advantage.

I think you’ll like it for the variety and the forward looking view.