WW kayak - distance

-- Last Updated: Jun-28-06 4:06 PM EST --

This question, I know, will be too vague. However,I am hoping you WW kayakers out there can do your best with some ballpark numbers.

I am looking at a river with good whitewater, but long flatwater sections.

What sort of mileage would be reasonable for a WW kayaker to do in a day of flatwater?

Let's assume they have whatever a "typical" short, planing-hull, playboat is these days (not a specialized river-runner, or a low-volume creek boat - something "average"). Let's also assume they are above-average in athleticism.

Thanks for any info you might have.

Flatwater with WW boat

– Last Updated: Jun-28-06 4:08 PM EST –

I paddle mine in flatwater. The longest I paddled it was about 15 miles, two laps around a reservoir. At the end, I was much more tired than if I had paddled the same two laps in a sea kayak. The WW boat yaws so much that 15 straight-ahead miles is more than 15 miles.

The boat itself is not a typical present-day WW kayak. It is a Prijon Twister, which is about 10' long with a very round displacement hull.

Thanks . . .
So would it be reasonable to ask these guys for about 10 miles a day?

Can’t answer that one
It would be reasonable to me. Without knowing what kind of endurance activities your friends do, I ain’t gonna answer that question!


Someone I know led a group trip paddling sea kayaks on Yellowstone Lake. He did not turn anyone down who said they could do the mileage. One guy said he could do 20 miles but he was thinking river-with-current mileage (he was a WW guy). At the end of the first day (which was less than 20 miles), he told another guy that he would not be able to continue. He dropped out.

Another thing: if you will be on anything resembling open water, the wind could really kill progress with WW boats. Tracking in calm water is not bad; with wind, it’s a lot of work.

Renting rec kayaks would actually be better!

Even On "Flat Water"
in a river venue, the boat will have the current pushing it along making distance cover faster than on flat, non flowing water


I think that would depend on the river. Some of the flatwater rivers we paddled in Florida really were like paddling on a lake. I could not feel any difference when I turned around and compared.

Guessing here but,
I was recently paddling a Pyranha 1:3 on a class 2 - 3 class river for about 5 - 6 hours which included one long break and one short break and vowed never to do it again. With the distance and amount of flat sections it was just not worth it. Difficult to say how long by river but i would guesstimate about 10 - 15 miles. Hope this helps.

If It’s Got “Good White Water” Sections
it’s got to have a flow going even on the flatwater. Kinda like the 13 mile section of the Upper Androscoggin. 1/4 mile section of good class II right at the Errol dam than about 13 miles of moving flat water, interspersed with some class I riffles.

Folks can cover those 13 miles in half a day or less. It becomes longer trip when folks stop, picnic, watch the wildlife, etc.


more info
I’ll try to help settle this debate - I am considering the Pigeon River in Manitoba. It really does have flat water- marshes, lakes etc. between the ledges and narrow parts (we call this pool-drop in MB).

I was hoping to run 90 miles of it with two friends. I would paddle a canoe to haul the stuff. Then, I was further hoping to paddle 40 miles of big lake to avoid the cost of flying out. Just trying to ballpark how long it would take.

Thanks for your info, as always.

two of us can get in the canoe and tow the third, taking turns.

WW paddlers I know (including me)
groan at the thought of 2 or 3 miles of flat but moving water. 10 miles? Forget it. Change rivers or change boats. It may not be in the mix to change boats but if you can get something linke a Prijon Yukon the trek will be a lot more bearable.

What’s their attitude toward flat water?
Maybe this is the make-or-break factor. With 10 miles per day and paddlers of decent fitness, it’s not a matter of physical possibility but of whether they would like it.

Might be a good idea to simply ask them directly.

In nearly all of today’s WW boats
I can sort of see why. Although if your boat is comfortable and you have the zen of easygoing movement, it should not be that bad.

Thanks again everyone
I do appreciate all the input.

I will just have to ask them when I next see them. I was just impatient, I suppose.

That Would Does Not Sound
much fun with white water boats. I would agree with the idea of renting something longer. If your buddies are confirmed ww addicts, may not be their idea of an adventure venue/expedition.


1-2 miles doable,
more than two miles with out some type of EPIC whitewater is out of the question.

Its not that I don’t like paddling flatwater, but a WW boat is not designed for it.

I got an old school river runner- Dagger Crossfire with a strap on skeg that i use for short-ish paddles in ocean and flatwater I think 10 miles would be DOABLE but tiring, yesterday i’ve done 6 miles and it was fine, in swell with some chop. But it’s the homebuilt strap on skeg that made the boat VERY managable in flat water( i average about 3-3.5 mph) without skeg it was all over the place and probably wouldn’t wanna go more than 2-3 miles,it would drive me nuts.

Prijon - Yukon Expedition
I would get a Prijon - Yukon Expedition with a rudder. I think it would be a blast to do the trip in that boat.