If you want to get a really good workout when you are paddling, or you want to cover a large distance, or you just like going fast, you will need to know how to choose a fast kayak that is designed for speed.
You might think that paddling speed is directly proportional to the amount of energy you put into paddling, but it’s not.
As you paddle harder, it gets to a point where the energy you put in is basically wasted.
How soon you hit that point depends on the design of the kayak you are paddling.
The speed a kayak can go before you get to that point requires an engineering degree to fully understand, so I have prepared a few simple guidelines you can use to make choosing a fast kayak easier.
Here is how to choose a fast kayak designed for speed:
- Length – the longer the kayak, the faster it is.
- Width – the narrower the kayak, the faster it is and the easier it is to use good paddling technique, which allows you to generate more power with less effort.
- Hull smoothness – the smoother the hull, the faster it is. You will need to look at both the material of the hull (is it slick in water?) and the shape of the hull (does it have smooth lines or gaps and bulges?). You should also consider whether the hull material is easily scratched as scratches will reduce the smoothness and therefore the speed of the kayak.
- Hull shape – this is where things get really complicated, but the important thing is that the hull is very narrow at the bow and stern and not too flat under the middle.
- Aerodynamics –wind is a huge factor in slowing down a kayak if it is not aerodynamic.
- Cockpit design – you want a kayak that has a well designed cockpit so that you can use good paddling technique easily. You want to be sitting at the right height for a vertical paddle stroke and a foot brace or foot pegs to allow for torso rotation.
- Rigidity – the more rigid the kayak, the faster it is.