Being new to kayaking, you probably have tons of questions swimming in your head. For example, what the right way to paddle is, or how to choose the best kayak. However, once you have your first kayak trip, you might start to wonder how long it takes to kayak a mile.
From a strategic point of view, it makes sense to know how many miles you can paddle in a day so that you can plan accordingly, right? Well, today is your lucky day because we’re going to talk about this subject.
Factors that will affect your speed.
I suppose that you expect an exact number like 20 minutes, right? Well, I can’t give it to you because the time needed to kayak a mile depends on several factors. That’s why we’re going to take a detailed look at them to the question, “How fast does a kayak go?”
1. Your experience
The first thing it matters when we talk about how long it would take to kayak a mile is you and your experience. The speed of the vessel is linked to how fast you can physically swing those paddles and how fast you get tired.
Imagine that we have two contestants – a beginner and a professional. Who would be faster? The professional, of course, because he has more experience and more training. You, as the beginner, have much to learn and it will take you some time to get the hang out of it.
A beginner could reach an average speed of two miles per hour, but it still depends on how fit you are. It’s not as easy to paddle a kayak as it might seem to some of you, and it requires a lot of physical endurance. Your arms will likely get sore the first couple of times, or you might want to stop and take pictures of the scenery.
A professional, on the other hand, might react easily five miles per hour thanks to his establish padding technique.
2. How much weight you’re carrying
Besides your experience, the kayak’s speed also depends on the load. The lighter the kayak, the easier it will be for you to paddle and more miles you’ll be able to cover. So, it’s not a good idea to pack a lot of stuff in the vessel.
It also matters how many people are operating the kayak. As people say, two is better than one. So, a tandem would naturally go faster than a single person. But, still, it depends on the amount of experience.
3. On the weather
The other important factor which determines the kayak’s speed is the weather. As you might have guessed already, calm waters with no currents translate to easy paddling. On the other hand, strong currents or going against the current require extra efforts to navigate the vessel.
The same goes for windy weather. No matter whether you’re paddling against or with the wind, it’s going to affect your speed. In the best possible scenario, the current and the wind direction will be in your favor, and you might manage to reach a higher than your average speed.
4. Where you are paddling
Your speed will be different depending on your location. Are you paddling a turbulent river or a calm lake? Are you out in the sea? Are there any obstacles on your course? All these in combination with the weather condition we already talked about can reduce/increase your speed with 1-2 mph.
5. The design of your kayak
The last but not the least thing which determines how long it takes to kayak a mile is the design of the vessel. In general, long and narrow kayaks will be easier to paddle than short and bulky ones.
So, based on what your end goal is – recreational or professional – take the time to choose the right kayak for you. You might also want to take a look at the paddle you’re using.
Now to wrap thing up.
How fast does a kayak go? Well, on average, it can be anything from two to five miles per hour depending on the paddler’s experience, strength, and endurance in addition to the weather condition and the design of the kayak.
And as for how long it takes to kayak a mile, I would say around 30 minutes in the best possible circumstances.