One thing many kayakers want to achieve while kayaking is speed. How do I increase my kayak speed?
You can increase the speed of your kayak in the following ways:
- install different equipment such as trolling motors,
- customize the hull of their boat for better tracking and
- practice several paddling techniques
These factors listed above may contribute to the speed of your kayak but it is essential to know that the speed of a kayak is dependent on the equipment and the skills of the paddler together.
This means that if the paddler does not have the necessary skills, the kayak may not go as fast as he/she wants after installing all the recommended equipment.
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How do I increase my kayak speed?
Some of the ways you can effectively increase the speed of your kayak are listed below:
Maximize your trolling motor
Once the paddler has installed a trolling motor on his kayak, speed is definitely guaranteed. The trolling system consists of
- a motor
- a console
- a shaft
- a propeller
The console helps the paddler monitor the battery and also adjust the speed of the kayak.
A trolling motor converts your manual kayak to an electric-powered boat.
There are different types of trolling motors and some coke with a remote-controlled system that allows the kayak to effortlessly glide through the water.
The downside to using trolling motors is that it is not suitable for use for all kinds of kayaks.
Installing trolling motors requires a lot of engineering and is dependent on the user weight capacity of the boat.
If your kayak has a limit of 250 pounds, it may be impossible to mount this motor on your kayak as it has a battery weighing about 30-40 pounds.
Get the right paddle
The type of paddle used during kayaking can also determine your speed. Many types of paddles and designs are made for various purposes.
If you want to achieve speed, it is advised that you opt for paddles made using carbon fiber material and fiberglass.
Fiberglass and Carbon fiber paddles are very strong and sturdy and they won’t reduce your speed due to a cracked blade or broken oar.
After choosing the right material for your blade, the next thing to do is to check the design of your blade.
Paddles, which have a high angle or wider base, are the best to go for. They can easily distribute the water equally on the bigger sides of the blade as they have a bigger rib.
In terms of paddles and the type, the perfect combination would be dihedral, wide blades for the best tracking.
Using paddles that do not have a rib on their center tend to flutter and this reduces the glide of the kayak
The longer the better
Longer but thinner kayaks are faster thanks to their lower pull that the water sends to the hull of the boat.
This in turn, slices through the water smoothly and it takes a longer time for the water to be displaced unlike shorter kayaks.
Narrower kayaks are better than wider kayaks. Regardless, this is entirely dependent on the body size of the kayaker as well as the gear and equipment that the kayaker intends on loading on the kayak.
Thinner kayaks offer fewer surfaces that the water can come in contact with and conduct friction.
The design of the hull is similar to this as it can determine the speed of the kayak.
Get the right hull
In the kayak, the major part that gets in contact with the water is the bottom part of your kayak.
As such, it is very important in determining the speed of tracking.
There are different hull designs for kayaks and they can either provide more speed or more stability.
While choosing a hull design, you must think thoroughly as you cannot enjoy the benefits of speed and stability equally.
But, if you are persistent, you can opt for either a rounded or V-shaped hull.
A V-shaped hull increases the ability of the kayak to cut through the water and is much faster than the rounded hull.
However, it is not as stable as the rounded hull. On the other hand, the rounded hull has less water resistance, which will result in better speed.
It is also easier to maneuver and is quite stable.
Sand the kayak’s bottom
Sanding the hull of the kayak using 400-grit sandpaper is a great way to increase the speed of your kayak.
By taming those dents, the paddler can restore some of the smoothness of the hull, which will then increase the speed of the kayak on the water.
Contrary to popular belief by many kayakers, roughening the bottom of the boat a little can equalize the friction and make it faster.
It can cause dents on the kayak and these dents tend to storage spaces for the accumulation of minerals. Over time, this will reduce the speed of your kayak and damage your kayak.
What is a good kayaking speed?
A good kayaking speed is about two miles per hour if you are paddling for multiple hours.
The paddler can, however, achieve faster speeds over shorter distances, but two miles per hour is the average and healthy kayak speed.
What affects kayak speed?
Some of the factors that can affect the speed of the kayak include:
- The hull load
- Strength of the paddler
- Skill level of the paddler as well as endurance
- The paddling technique
- Water conditions
- Weather conditions
- The design of the hull
How can I make my kayak glide faster?
1.Learn to use sweep strokes properly
Used in maneuvering a kayak, sweep strokes are large forward strokes, which require the paddler to go from his feet up to the farthest that he, can reach from his back.
When these massive strokes are done alternately on each side, it determines largely the speed of the kayak.
In kayak racing, kayaking requires strength practices in order to be on par with the massive paddling of dragon boat teams.
2.Apply gel coats
If your kayak has too many dents which cannot be handled using sandpaper, then simply apply a gel coat to smoothen the hull of your kayak.
Gel coats will help to lessen the friction that occurs in the kayak during paddling and hence provides faster tracking.
Gel coat finishes make the kayak have a crystal, sparkly finish resembling the surface of the fiberglass.
It is advised that a professional applied the gel coat on your kayak as applying this gel coat requires specific equipment as well as techniques.