Are Longer Kayaks Faster?

Are Longer Kayaks Faster?

Kayaking speed is important to many paddlers, especially professionals who want to beat their targets.

Are longer kayaks faster? Have you wondered why longer kayaks race faster than short kayaks?

Are Longer Kayaks Faster?
Are Longer Kayaks Faster?

When you set out to kayak, you should learn the abilities of the kayak and other facts that can affect your speed.

 Does a longer kayak go faster?

We can tell you that longer kayaks run faster than shorter kayaks. The reason is that the longer kayaks reduce resistance and friction.

Also, longer kayaks offer you more volume.  The kayak moves through the water in a gradual method.

The kayak helps in decreasing drag when you kayak with a long model in a straight direction.

Drag is the amount of resistance that your kayak builds to oppose the force you are applying on the paddles to make it move.

Drag affects your kayaking speed.  However, a longer kayak tends to decrease drag and increase your speed.

Longer kayaks have more volume and buoyancy, making them float higher. This means that they can move faster in the water.

How Much Faster Can a Longer Kayak Go?

Kayak designers test their products’ theoretical maximum speed in two ways. First, they use computer simulations to check the length for increased speed.

Second, they try real paddlers with the kayaks. However, using computer simulations is not always accurate.

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The real paddlers can tell how fast a kayak can go when they test new products.

What Is the Theoretical Maximum Speed of a Kayak?

The length of the kayak and its value (in km/h) determines the theoretical maximum achievable speed or hull speed.

This is calculated with the following formula: The square root of the length of the kayak multiplied by a factor of 4.5.

What Are the Other Advantages of Longer Kayaks?

People who use longer kayaks enjoy numerous benefits other than the speed. Longer kayaks are easier to paddle.

They are great in stability and tracking.  The products can carry more weight and still race fast.


How Are Kayaks Classified According to Their Length?

We have three types of kayaks based on length. They include touring, light touring, and recreational kayaks.

Recreational Kayaks

The shortest kayaks are the recreational Kayaks. This type of kayak come at 12’ or under in length.

Recreational kayaks are suitable for moving through narrow waterways and places that need the ability to make tight turns and more maneuverability.

They are easier to carry around and can load more items. Recreational kayaks are very stable, but are not very fast.

Light-Touring Kayaks

The light-touring kayaks measure between 12’ and 16’ in length. The kayaks are stable and race faster than recreational kayaks.

They are better than recreational kayaks, but they are heavier.

Touring Kayaks

The largest kayaks come in form of the touring kayaks. They can measure over 16’ in length. They are thinner than the other types of kayaks.

Touring kayaks are very fast because of the combination of their length and thinness. This makes them perfect for long distance trips.

How Does Kayak Volume Come Into Play?

The kayak’s volume is important when it comes to speed.  When you know the volume of a kayak, it helps you with an idea of the space in its cockpit.

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Kayak volume is measured in cubic feet or gallons Most manufacturers group their kayaks into low, medium, or high volume


Low Volume Medium Volume High Volume
Height Shorter than 5’6” 5’7” to 5’10” Taller than 5’10”
Weight Less than 140 pounds 140 to 180 pounds More than 180 pounds
Activity Type Best for day trips with minimal gear Best for overnight trips with essential gear Best for multi-day expeditions


What Are Other Factors That Affect a Kayak’s Performance?

We have different factors that can affect your performance when you kayak. The factors include:

Hull Design

The hull design can affect the performance of a kayak. Hulls with flat bottoms, hard chines, and greater flare offer more stability.

The rounded hulls with soft chines and less flare offer less stability.


Kayak’s width can affect your performance as well. A long, thinner kayak with a bow-shaped like a narrow V will be faster.

The reason is that the bow will slice through the water instead of piling it up in front of the kayak.

However, if the bow is broader, it will drag and need more effector to paddle.


You have either symmetric or asymmetric kayaks. The symmetrical kayaks have the front half and the back half of the kayak in the same shape.

The asymmetrical kayak does not have the same. The symmetry kayaks affect the efficiency as it moves through water as well as its ability to turn.

Are Longer Kayaks Faster?
Are Longer Kayaks Faster?

They are good in maneuverability and the ability to turn. However, asymmetrical kayaks are fast as they have more length and volume.

How do You Choose a Kayak?

We have different reasons why we pick kayaks. Some of the reasons include exploring places, relaxing with friends, bird watching, fishing, and lots more.

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Kayaks have many designs that work differently too. You do not have to use a kayak for running Class IV whitewater.

This means that you have to choose the right kayak for your adventure. The following are some of the kayak’s lengths for different adventures:

  • Whitewater kayak: These kayaks tend to lean towards shorter kayaks and they are easier to maneuver quickly.
  • Long-distance kayaks: The product errs on the side of longer kayaks. They are more efficient when paddling for multiple hours a day.
  • Fishing kayak: When it comes to fishing, you can use either short or medium-sized kayaks.

They are quite wide because they provide both stability and extra storage space.

  • Beginners kayaks: Paddlers tend to find short and medium-sized sit-on-top kayaks to be easiest to use.

The kayaks are easy to climb back into if you capsize.

  • Tandem kayaks: Paddlers require longer kayaks to have extra legroom for two paddlers.

How do you transport your kayak?

If you want to pick a kayak, you should consider its ease and convenience of storage and transport.

If you have a kayaking trip to make, you have to understand how easy you can carry your kayak.

The convenience and ease of transportation are what you should consider when buying a kayak.

Many people believe that shorter kayaks are easier to transport.

However, we have numerous longer folding kayaks and inflatable kayaks that are easier to transport than the shorter, rotomolded kayaks

Is it better to have a longer or shorter kayak?

This depends on what you want to do with the kayak.

Longer kayaks are easier to paddle.

They are great in stability and tracking.  The products can carry more weight and still race fast.