How Fast is Your Kayak?

The 11 ft Zydeco had trouble keeping up with 13.5 ft Ride.

When I’m on the water, I’m always curious about how fast I’m going. If you don’t have a GPS that tells you, it’s hard to estimate your speed on the water. However, as you become familiar with certain kayaks, it does become easier to approximate a paddle’s duration on the water and off. This is helpful when it comes to planning trips, setting and timing fitness goals and, of course, racing your friends.

A kayak speed varies by your make and model. A general rule of thumb is that longer, skinnier kayaks go faster than those that are shorter and wider. Ok, this is a generality. It’s discussed here, how weight, paddler ability and other resistances can affect a kayak’s speed as well. However, without getting too complicated, its fair to assume that as a kayak gets longer and narrower it becomes quicker (though it sacrifices stability). Knowing that, we found a neat calculating tool from Midwest IK that estimates your kayak’s maximum speed based on length and width. Take a look and find an estimate of how quick your kayak can go! As always, share comments & questions below! - Joseph@ACK

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