A bit broad a topic, the suggestions seem a little US specific.
Maybe have a set for each state.
I might suggest (for where I live) a FL Paddling Triple Crown:
(must all done within 1 year):
- the CT (around FL trail)
- St Johns River (length)
- Suwannee River (length)
Many have done some or all of the above, don’t know if all in 1 year.
(I haven’t done any of them)
I am new to kayaking so doing the top three in my state fully would be scary. I’m in NH so that would mean the full Connecticut including the lakes, the full Merrimack including the Pemi (hell no) and probably something dangerous like the Piscataqua which has massive ships and one of the strongest tidal currents in the world.
The endurance flat water kayaking challenges for CA, that look like they could make a triple crown, seem to be:
7 bridges - starting in Benicia , CA and paddling under all 7 bridges of the SF Bay Area, ending in Menlo Park. Has to be 50+miles, but you wan to time it so you have tidal currents helping you (so ebb at start until you reach Golden Gate Brodge, the n flood to push you to end at Dumbarton Bridge)
paddling to and from the Farallones Islands, a set of rocky crags some 25 miles off the San Francisco shore that you are not allowed to land on. It is definitely a 40+ mile day, perhaps more than 50 depending on the route you choose.
paddling to some or all of the Channel islands, off of Santa Barbara/Los Angeles. Sean Morley many years ago was trying to paddle around every one, including San Nicolas Island, which is the furthest out and a military zone, so you can’t land on it. His challenges was ended when a blue shark continuously buzzed him on his way back from one of the islands, which caused him to head home ASAP. A mellower option for this is to paddle to each of the oil platforms off that area, which Duane Strosaker was doing until his kayak was bit by a white shark on his way back from one (I am noticing a theme here…). Both stories talked about in https://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/what-to-do-if-a-great-white-attacks-the-boat
Runner up - crossing Monterey bay, about a 28 mile crossing from Santa Cruz to Monterey or Pacific Grove (with our standard winds, this is the direction everyone goes), the only of these I have done.
Yeah I’ll pass on all that stuff. 25 miles of open ocean. no thanks. I did look up the islands on wikipedia and it said three people have actually swam to them!
In Rhode Island there are not a lot of choices:
- The Blackstone - north to south from the MA/RI Border to Narragansett Bay
- The Pawtuxet - west to east across the middle of the state to Narragansett Bay
- The Wood/Pawcatuck - southwest across the bottom of the state emptying into Long Island Sound.
In RI, there are a lot of dams to portage around, on every river.
P-netter Riverstrider (doesn’t post much here anymore) paddled north to south across the entire State of Rhode Island back in 2014.
Speaking of which. I see that Mark Ervin is at NY Harbor and closing in on his completion of the Greater Loop, over 10,500 km in a year. https://www.mark-ervin.com/about-1
I happened to have seen him in the Alligator River in NC last month but at the time not knowing who he was or the nature of his trip. I’d normally go over and say hi especially for a kayaker who looked liked he was seriously loaded for travel. But, I was bogged down with a mechanical repair on my boat and sorry I missed the opportunity.