As you may have read in my topic on turning a kayak quickly, I’m interested in entering my first race. That got me to wonderin’ just how fast do people actually paddle? What would be a decent pace for say a 10 mile race on flatwater in the touring or sea kayak class? What kind of pace do the winners usually run? By pace, I’m talking MPH or knots if you choose.
That is hard to say, it depends on the boat and the motor.
It depends if your paddling a plastic kayak or a carbon one. A
In a fast kayak I would think you would have to stay in the mid 6`s mph to stay with the front group if not 7mph if you have a tail wind.
It depends on a lot of things
that there will always be all kinds of variables but I was just wondering what it would take to be at all competitive. Obviously, an exact answer can’t be given but I appreciate your estimates. Looks like I’ve got some practicing to do
Regardless, you are out there to destroy your competition, just make sure you are fit enough to hold your boat at hull speed for the duration of the race. What kind of boat are you using?
Are you speaking of a typical touring kayak, marketed as such to weekend pleasure boaters? Or the 20 foot long official specifications in the USCA rules?
Those long ones, on a ten mile race on flatwater will be kicking along 6.5 to 7.5 average for good conditioned paddlers.
A typical kayak we paddle on weekend, 14 to 16 foot with hatches and poly might average 4.0 to 5.5 from a weekend warrior or mildly athletic person. A seakayak might put you in the 4.5 to 6.2 range.
I am speaking here of little to moderate training and health. Accomplished athletes will achieve a bit better.
I am what I would consider moderate. I practice at least twice per week. Do other health regimines. Practice form. In my 16.5 foot seakayak, at race pace on flat water, I will hit at minimum 5.7 and sometimes as much as 6.3 for a ten mile stretch. Mind you, I get spanked soundly by most of the field.
In the “Touring and Sea kayak” class
in most races, the Epic 18’s and the QCC’s will be the winners, unless they go by USCA rules and allow the Westside Eft’s in and then they will beat the above.
The young studs will average between 6 and 7 MPH in good conditions for ten miles.
You can figure that the poly boats will be slower.
There are always exceptions to this, but this will give you a idea.
Check for yourself
For instance, here:
Though the above is a 20 mile race, I think on the same web site if you go up there is the short course too.
The best way to figure out what you can do is to monitor both your heart rate and your speed. One without the other does not tell the whole story. After a few tries on your own you will figure out what you can do in your boat of choice…