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What is the Average Speed of a Kayak?


An average of 3.5 miles/hour or about 2.5 knots is possible
for kayaker with average fitness. This is about 25 minutes a mile.

A racing kayak can go 9 mph. An inflatable can go 2 mph. A motorized model can go 12 mph.

You will go faster downwind than upwind.

Factors that affect kayaks speed.

Many factors affect the paddling speed of a kayak; these include experience, design, weather, and physical fitness of the kayaker.

Type of the kayak

There are different types of kayaks. These kayaks are made to meet different purposes such as touring, racing, fishing, and recreational purposes. Therefore, kayaks that are meant for racing will be faster compared to others.


Design of the kayaks

The design of kayaks affects the speed of the kayak. Long and narrower kayaks are fast compared to short and wider kayaks. This is because narrower kayaks are streamlined compared to wider kayaks. Sleek touring kayaks are known to be the fastest kayaks, followed by recreational kayaks. The fastest of all kayaks is sprint kayaks.

The material that is used to make the kayaks also affects the speed of the kayaks. The kayaks that are made using lighter materials are fast compared to heavy ones; the only problem is that it is not always suitable for all weather conditions such as stormy or windy conditions.

Kayaks made up of fiberglass are fast compared to those kayaks made up of polyethylene materials.

The only challenge with fiberglass it costs more than polyethylene kayaks.

The skills and experience of the kayakers

The skills of the kayakers determine the speed of the kayaks. If the kayaker is a newbie, they will likely be slower because of the lack of skills required to paddle the kayaks. The speed is expected to be faster for average skilled kayakers, while for experienced kayakers, the speed is high. The experienced kayakers can paddle double the speed of others.

Weather conditions

The velocity of the water plays a role by either resisting or increasing the speed of the boat. The best weather condition is when the waters are calm. If there are storms; there is much resistance and commotions that may affect the speed of the kayaks. The wind also plays a role in the speed of the kayaks.

If the wind is not much, there is no problem, but as the wind increases, it’s not conducive for beginners because they lack the skills to meander in stormy weather conditions. Therefore, it is critical to key in weather conditions when planning to take a trip.

The physical fitness of the kayakers

Kayakers who are stronger tend to move fast than those who are on average and low physical fitness. Strong kayakers can paddle quicker and for long because of their strong muscles that allow them to do so.

The purpose of the kayaks

Kayaks are made for different purposes. For people who want to spend time with a friend or family member, tandem kayaks will do well for them. Tandem kayaks are made for two people. These types of kayaks are very suitable for training other paddlers. It allows experts to go with beginners and train them.

Tandem kayaks can be fast and more enjoyable when the paddlers are experienced. It makes kayaks a sport and recreation that can involve more people. However, tandem kayaks are not easy to maneuver because they are inflexible and longer.

Pedal models can go 8 mph.

Inflatable kayaks are wider, slow, and tend to move side by side. Some kayaks may be fast and streamlined, but they can’t compete with sleek kayaks.

How to increase kayaks speed

The sitting position while in kayaks is very vital. Kayakers are supposed to sit in an upright position and their feet pressed against the braces. This sitting position increases the kayak’s contact with the kayaker and reduces body injuries.

Increase paddle angle by holding the paddle at a high angle, making it closer to the boat. Additionally, it would be best to use the right paddle by selecting the paddle with the right material and one that has no crack.

The longer and thin kayaks are faster than short and broader kayaks. Long kayaks experience less pull than water sends to the hull of the boat. Moreover, narrow kayaks have less surface area in contact with the water, and therefore they have less friction with water because of small surface areas.

Kayaking is a great activity that makes life enjoyable.

However, it is important to remember that the speed of the kayak matters and is affected by several factors such as weather, physical fitness, experience, and design of the kayaks.