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  How far can you paddle in a single day?
  Posted by: old_user on May-29-11 2:50 AM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

What is the farthest it would be possible to paddle in a single day, with adequate training ahead of time? Would 30 nm be reasonable?

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  It Depends....
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 3:31 AM (EST)
On conditions, flat water or moving water, type of kayak paddled, your endurance and pain threshold.

There's a race in the interior of BC which is 100kms, and takes around 10 hours in a racing boat.

The furthest kayaked in 24 hours is around 350kms, but that was on a river.

Some kayakers have paddle continuously for over 24 hours to complete sections with no landings.

30 nautical miles is about 55 kms. For a strong paddler, that's quite doable.

Joe O'Blenis did more than that daily when he set a new world record for circumnavigating Vancouver Island last summer.

10 kms/hr is a strong but doable pace. So a strong paddler could do 30NM in about 6 hours in favorable conditions, without stopping for a break.

If you're interested, there's some articles I could find the links to on preparing for long distance paddles (with tips like duct taping your nipples to prevent chaffing).

In the realm of normal paddling, if you're planning on a trip, I don't recommend planning to paddle to your limit. Assume you won't have consistently favorable conditions, leave yourself extra time and energy to deal with emergencies. Consider if your hands get covered in blisters, or you pull a muscle, will you be able to get back?
  Nipple Tape...
  Posted by: Kudzu on May-29-11 5:12 AM (EST)
Next time I go for a personal distance record I'm going to put some clear polish on my fingernails. We did a 36 miler at the NC outer banks and at the end of the day I had bruising under my pinky fingernails. I think they got soaked and softened and I was pulling too hard on the paddle.
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 6:09 AM (EST)
How long did 36 miles take you to paddle?

  It Wasn't a Race
  Posted by: Kudzu on May-29-11 10:25 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-29-11 12:47 PM EST --

so speed wasn't a big issue. I think it took about 11.5 hours including all our breaks.

It might have been 12.5 hours. I can't remember shquat.

  either way...
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 2:52 PM (EST)
I'm impressed. Much further than I've ever gone in a day.
  Posted by: Kudzu on May-29-11 7:39 PM (EST)
  Posted by: old_user on May-29-11 4:29 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-29-11 4:30 PM EST --

WaterMark, I would love those links!

Don't worry, this would just be a one day thing.

  My wife and I did 27 last week in the
  Posted by: jackl on May-29-11 7:09 AM (EST)
"BGD" expedition tandem yak. We hope to work up to 50 in 12 or 13 hours
We do several races in our tandem canoe each year one of which is a fifty miler and another a forty.
Down the Keys nature watching, 20 in a day is plenty

jack L
  which races
  Posted by: radiomix on May-29-11 9:04 AM (EST)
Are they close by to nc?

Ryan L.
  The fifty miler is on the Suwannee...
  Posted by: jackl on May-29-11 10:30 AM (EST)
River, starting in Fargo Georgia and going to White Springs, Florida. They are adding a hundred miler to it this year
The 40 miler is the Lumber River race in NC which unfortunately has been changed to 20 miles due to the last 20 miles being in wilderness, (think unsafe!), but we are pushing for it to get changed back to 40.
There is a 100 miler at the coast in Core Sound, NC in the fall, (the Watertribe Challenge)

Jack L
  Posted by: darkstar on May-29-11 8:18 AM (EST)
we hope to do the general clinton 70miler in under 10hrs tommorrow! thats a tandem canoe, for the Yukon we plan on doing 160-180miles per day but there will be at least 5 of us in the canoe(hopefully 6!)
  Posted by: radiomix on May-29-11 9:03 AM (EST)
On rivers with a general current on 2 mph or so, you can expect to do about 5.5 mph at a constant paddle pace with breaks. In a tandem I have done 100 miles in 18 hours. On lakes I have done 40 miles and that took about 9 hours. Without training much 20 miles is not really bad but it will hurt the next day.

I don't have any science behind this but, paddling on moving water is at least 50% easier. There is something about static water that is a drain on me.

Ryan L.
  Posted by: greg27 on May-29-11 9:10 AM (EST)
30 miles in a day with a couple of breaks shouldn't be that hard unless you have adverse conditions bigest problem is sitting in the boat for that length of time , focus on comfort and thigh support
  Time in the boat
  Posted by: mr_canoehead on May-29-11 10:03 AM (EST)
The physics of how boats move through water dictates that going fast takes considerably more effort than going slow. As such, and I think this was Verlen Kruger's idea first, comfort is more important than an exceptionally sleek hull for making long distance days.

Put another way, it takes far less energy to go 4mph for 10 hours than to go 5mph for 8 hours. I think 10mph for 4 hours would be unlikely in most paddle-craft, while 2mph for 20 hours would be no trouble for almost anything with a comfortable seat.
  I agree on the seat
  Posted by: jackl on May-29-11 10:34 AM (EST)
It makes all the difference in the world
20 miles in my QCC-700 and my butt wants out, but 25 miles in our big Necky tandem, and I can keep right on going.

Jack L
  Then how many days in a row ...
  Posted by: Kocho on May-29-11 10:35 AM (EST)
Doing 30 miles for one day at top speed is one thing, doing it for 10 days in a row is entirely another.

I highly doubt most of us can paddle flat water without current at 10 km/h average (6 mph) for any given lenght over an hour or so. I think that is only doable in a specialize racing kayak or a fast surf ski kind of craft. Even these craft can't maintain these speeds for more than a few hours with top atletes paddling them unloaded.
  Current and Wind
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 3:03 PM (EST)
When paddling against current and wind it can be less energy total to paddle harder.
  100 miles - check this out
  Posted by: seadart on May-29-11 10:49 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-29-11 10:51 AM EST --

I've done a 50 mile river trip and 30 miles on open ocean coastline. Check out a few videos by Justine Curgenven and read a few books by Chris Duff for examples of long sustained paddles over many weeks. If you train and are in reasonable health you can do 30 miles.

  Distance ?
  Posted by: on May-29-11 11:00 AM (EST)
Many moons ago, I did 37 miles in one day, in a solo canoe. Did it just to see how far I could go in a day. Have no doubt I could have done 40 miles if I hadn't gotten lazy.

Don't remember it as being much fun. My hands,wrists, back, shoulders, arms & legs hurt for 3 or 4 days. I have no plans whatsoever to ever attempt to break my own record.

  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 8:13 PM (EST)
  Farallone Island 46 Miler
  Posted by: uncleferdo on May-29-11 11:25 AM (EST)
Back in 1987 four of us paddled two Necky Tofino doubles from Pt. Reyes to the Farallone Islands off San Francisco, then in the Golden Gate, a distance of about 46 miles, taking just under 10 hours to complete. The Tofino was not a fast double but quite seaworthy, and we were trained and motivated. Conditions were almost flat (unusual for that area) and no boathandling was required. I remember being so tired afterwards that I almost fell asleep while driving home.

  Posted by: old_user on May-29-11 11:38 AM (EST)
I'm just starting out and go about 10 miles at 3.5 mph with one or two 5 minute breaks. I usually feel like I could go further but at that point one of my knees is starting to ache. :(
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 3:00 PM (EST)
I went for a 4 hour paddle with a friend a couple years ago. When we landed, I found my knee had seized and I literally couldn't move it. My friend had to help slide me out of the kayak. Fortunately it never happened again.
  If you are a beginner and you are
  Posted by: jackl on May-30-11 10:28 AM (EST)
going 10 miles at 3.5, that is great, but you are probably bracing too hard on the foot pegs if your knees are hurting.
Every so often stretch your legs out in between the foot braces, and don't push too hard on them.
All the long mileage comes with time in the boat.
It's kind of like training for you first running marathon - (LSD) Long slow distance!

Jack L
  Knee pain
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-01-11 1:38 PM (EST)
It's only one knee the other one feels perfectly fine after while the other I can barely stand on it because of the pain. 15 minutes later of "walking it off" it feels fine again.

I'll be going to the doctor to have it looked at its just sad that it only occurs to one knee only when in the kayak and its keeping me from going out more frequently.
  Many many variables - 40 - 50 miles
  Posted by: willi_h2o on May-29-11 12:00 PM (EST)
I've paddled 40 to 50 miles in a day a few times.
Pretty regularly do 15 to 20 mile days in the summer.
Easy enough to ramp up training to accommodate 30 to 35 miles.

There is a big difference between 2-3 mph and 5-6 mph paces though.
  170 kms Non-stop
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-29-11 3:47 PM (EST)
Here's a great read for all you long distance armchair paddlers... like me :D
  Many Years Ago
  Posted by: dougd on May-29-11 6:43 PM (EST)
Hal and I in solo rec canoes made it a habit of hitting off 15 to 25 mile days on a long trip. First few days was like trying to get out of a coffin in the morning but ya get used to it after a while. I think our top day was around 30 miles and we were hauling around 110 pds of gear each. Still get a s&^t eating grin on my face thinking about those days.

  24 miles in 4 1/2 hours
  Posted by: Andy_Szymczak on May-29-11 6:54 PM (EST)
Is what I did last fall at Raystown. Only made a couple pit stops, and once to fuel me up with food.

I paddled my Artisan Millenium, which has a very comfortable seat. I could have paddled further that day.
  Posted by: ScupperFrank on May-29-11 11:37 PM (EST)
I'd think that'd be completed rather quickly...



Never mind.

Just get out there with a comfy seat and


-Frank in Miami
  Never tried...
  Posted by: Al_A on May-30-11 12:15 AM (EST)
to see how far I could go in a day. Many years ago a buddy and I, with no training but in pretty good shape, entered a downriver canoe race on a small class one river--long dead pools and short riffles. We were in a 17 foot Grumman that had seen better days; the bottom was wavy and had a lot of "reverse rocker". Horrible boat to try to paddle fast. We did 21.5 miles in 3.5 hours. I believe, given how I felt at the end of it, I could have paddled at half that speed for ten hours in that boat, so I figure 30 miles a day in a well-designed boat on that kind of water would be absolutely no problem if you're in decent shape.
  Posted by: paddletothesea on May-30-11 9:59 AM (EST)
the current world record on flat water is i think 261 miles in 24-hours.
ive done around 200 in a tandam canoe on the yukon in 24 hours and solo ive done in the 80s often with current etc. flat water was more in the 50 range being a reservour or lake type current. bob bradford and clark eid did well over 135 for 18 consecutive days paddling the 2340 miles of the entire mississippi river
  Not as hard as you would think
  Posted by: old_user on May-30-11 10:29 AM (EST)
30 nautical miles (roughly 34.5 miles) isn't bad.

Divide your distance by time and you can see that average speed is actually pretty slow. If you paddle 12 hrs, your average speed only needs to be 2.5 nm/hr, or 2.9 mph.
My training runs last year for the MR340 were 36 miles, and usually took me about 9-10 hours.
On rivers, you would be able to do much much more very easily.
I assume you are talking about flat water though.
  Hard to Believe
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-30-11 3:06 PM (EST)
261 miles = 450 kms

Since the world record on moving water is around 350 kms paddled in 24hrs, hard to believe to record for flat water is 100kms more.
  24-hr World Record
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-30-11 3:20 PM (EST)
Curious, I looked it up.

The record was set last fall, and is 261 miles on moving water.
  So moving water record is 261 miles
  Posted by: old_user on May-30-11 4:47 PM (EST)
whats the flatwater record?

  Posted by: WaterMark on May-30-11 5:37 PM (EST)
You had the # right. It was a lot more than I had thought. 450km in one day... crazy.
  150 miles
  Posted by: mtuguy on May-31-11 12:32 PM (EST)
According to guiness it's 150.34 miles in 24 hours on flat water. Almost 242 km for you metric folks.
  Thanks for looking that up :)
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-31-11 3:07 PM (EST)
  Distance? Easy!
  Posted by: old_user on May-30-11 12:12 PM (EST)
In 2009, with heart disease and not having been in a canoe in about 30 years, this old fat guy (me) and his wife took a canoe 26 miles in 6 hours. We went DOWN the Rifle River (and "only" turned over 4 times.) You really need only paddle to steer. ;)
  day distance
  Posted by: paddler098 on May-30-11 9:08 PM (EST)
hane done 70 miles 20 times shortest time 8 hours slowest 12. in the 90 the first day is 35 miles about 6 hours.

  26 miles..but...
  Posted by: mikeynj on May-31-11 4:58 AM (EST)
My personal record is 26 Miles in 3 1/2 hours, including a quick lunch break. We did have a little help from moving water though :-)

The Lehigh was flowing about 10,000 cubic feet per second if you take creek inflow into consideration, the release from the dam was 8200 cfs but we had a lot more by the end of the gorge. So in our 3.5 hours, we took advantage of about 950,000,000 gallons of moving water...the amount of horsepower that must represent is staggering.

The most I ever paddled on flatwater was about 15 miles in a day, I don't remember how many hours it took though it wasn't a whole day by any means.
  Ultra marathon training tips
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-31-11 3:08 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-31-11 3:08 PM EST --

complete with duct tapping your nipples advice

  50 miles
  Posted by: JaybirdNC on May-31-11 4:03 PM (EST)
My longest day of pure paddling is 50 miles in about 12.5 or 13 hrs. From the 50 mile mark I popped up a downwind sail and paddle/sailed another 35 or so. Total time was just under 22 hours.

  flat water record
  Posted by: paddletothesea on May-31-11 8:01 PM (EST)
Brandon NElson use to have the record of 141 miles in 24 hours on flatwater but it may be broken.
The first 35 teams in at the finish of the Yukon Quest are paddling back to back 220-mile days for a time of ..under 50 hours for 440 miles...the first place team last year completed the 440 miles in 33 hours I believe...a voyaguer canoe.
The top teams in the Ausable Canoe Marathon have been finishing the 120-mile race in well under 15 hours for the last 25 years, with the record time of 13 hour, 58 minutes.
that is on about 65% flat water for that race.
  Molokai World Championship
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-31-11 8:21 PM (EST)
Is 32 miles, or 51km, from one hawaiian island to another.

The record is 3:21.

That's 10 miles/hr or 15 km/hr.
  ok im quiting
  Posted by: luvtokayak on May-31-11 8:27 PM (EST)
or at least feel like it i can barely paddle 5 miles a day. im ashamed to admit this
  Why be ashamed?
  Posted by: WaterMark on May-31-11 10:39 PM (EST)
What's more important, that you love getting out on the water and paddling, or that there's someone in the world that's faster than you?

Bear in mind, all the paddlers doing these amazing feats have probably been paddling for years, have had lots of coaching, train like elite athletes, base their entire lives around paddling and training, and are paddling top-end elite kayaks.

There's nothing wrong with 5 miles a day, if you're loving it. Overtime you're distance will increase. You'll get better endurance, more efficient technique, and eventually a faster kayak.
  guess thats true
  Posted by: luvtokayak on May-31-11 10:52 PM (EST)
one day i almost went 10 and really felt i was going to die.i always forget i still have to paddle back.its amazeing how far some of ya all go
  20 miles/day is not normal
  Posted by: WaterMark on Jun-01-11 12:39 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-01-11 12:39 AM EST --

The distances some of the paddlers in this thread has paddled in a day is very impressive.

But for a 'normal' casual paddler, 10km is quite long and tiring (about 6 miles)

  so much variety in paddling
  Posted by: jcbikeski on Jun-03-11 5:21 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-03-11 5:22 PM EST --

I think that's something that is hard for most here to remember as there are those on rivers, lakes and oceans just to start. Some on moving water and some on still. Some that go out to fish or float, others to explore new areas. Some that want excitement and others that want to chill.

Our local clubs generally have two main groups. Some use rec kayaks in the harbor and generally do no more than about five miles. Others do tours in the ocean and generally do something in the 8 to 15 mile range with much less common trips that are much longer -- none of these are really racers or such but they do get out pretty regular at least a few times per month. Those in the ocean generally use 17'+ boats which do make longer trips easier compared to short/wide rec boats

  Are going to do the same tomorrow?
  Posted by: dave54 on May-31-11 11:01 PM (EST)
There is a big difference between what you can do in a single day of all out effort, and what you do when you are going to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, etc.

20km is a good day's paddle after day 4 or 5.
  So True
  Posted by: WaterMark on Jun-01-11 12:40 AM (EST)
  Verlen Kruger
  Posted by: PJC on Jun-01-11 12:57 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-01-11 1:08 PM EST --

who was mentioned earlier did, in 2001, 2,348 miles in 24days 17hrs 51 min. By my reckoning that comes out to roughly 94.87 miles per day average. Can you imagine doing that even once? But to do it for 24.75 days straight?!!! Yikes! The man was a MONSTER paddler - but that was in a tandem canoe with a strong partner, in high water, a support crew...but on the other hand he was in his late 70's. Verlen Kruger was simply a monster paddler. We mere mortals can't really expect to even come close to that.

The last record I know of for the Wisconsin River (my home waters) was 450mi in about 10 days. 45 miles/day for over a week is also way beyond me, and I suspect many of us also.

I think my best solo distance in a day (canoe)on the Wisconsin R. was from Mazo landing to Muscoda in a day. Normal water levels, so about an average 3mph current, dead calm wind, and a very hot day. It comes to just a tad under 40 miles in a day. I think I was on the water from about 9am till just before dark - about 11 hrs, I suppose. Ate lunch while drifting in the boat. I had leg cramps and a dehydration headache that night in the tent. I was a mess. If I ever try that distance again I'll make a point of drinking Gatorade at timed intervals.

I'd suspect that the limiting factor in a kayak, as mentioned earlier, is comfort rather than actual exhaustion from paddling. Kayaks can be marvelously efficient and less affected by wind and waves than canoes, but I think they're constricting enough to limit the time most folks can spend in them without discomfort. On the river I often pass kayakers in camp that have previously passed me on the water and never see them again on the trip. Makes me think its just hard for normal paddlers who aren't well-conditioned to it to stay locked into one position for long enough to cover greater daily distances.

There are those "monster" kayakers too, though. Probably some posting here... I listen to what they have to say. There's something to learn from everyone.

  Comfort in kayak
  Posted by: Andy_Szymczak on Jun-01-11 1:34 PM (EST)
I've spent 6 hours straight in my Artisan. It originally came with a back band, which I found uncomfortable. I switched it out to a fibreglass seatback that I got from ONNO. It's attached to the seat. The seat itself swivels on two pins on either side of the seat support. That allows for some change in position.

As long as I've got liquid to drink and some sustenance within reach, I can remain comfortable for a long time. Other than the seatback, I've not had to do any other outfitting for seat comfort.

I don't go paddling to see how long I can last comfortably in my boat, if I see I nice place to take out and stretch, I'll do it.

  daily milage
  Posted by: mister123 on Jun-01-11 1:42 PM (EST)
The key to lots of mileage is long days. If you paddle at 3.5mph, which is very do-able then ten hours will get you 30 miles. I scanned this thread and I didn't see anyone mention weather. It's one thing to do 30 mile in a day if it's calm and you have a tail wind but it's a whole different thing if you have to contend with a head wind or cross wind. It's still do-able but it will take more time and more effort. Wave can also be an issue even if the wind is light. Conversely Iíve averaged over 4mph downwind with a sail and basically no effort.
  Kayak Comfort
  Posted by: WaterMark on Jun-01-11 4:42 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-01-11 4:42 PM EST --

I don't generally find comfort in a kayak to be a limiting factor. I think a kayak is quite comfortable for long periods of sitting IF:

-your core muscles are strong enough to keep you sitting upright and take the pressure out of the lower back

-your hamstring and glute muscles are flexible to allow you sit sit slightly forward comfortably

-the kayak is the right size for you

-the seat, thigh braces and foot rest are all positioned to give you 3 solid points of contact

-the seat is right for you: right height, right angle, right amount of cushiness (to get scientific)

BTW Kruger is amazing to do that at any age.... at 70 is simply inspiring.

  Krugers are comfy
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-01-11 6:41 PM (EST)
Thats why you can do the distance you can in them. My personal best was 136 miles in 21 hrs in mine. I am sure I could have gone 150 or a bit more if I hadn't stopped for a nap.
  record shattered
  Posted by: paddletothesea on Jun-01-11 6:47 PM (EST)
That 24 day record by Kruger was shattered about 12 years ago by 6 days. Bob Bradford and Clark Eid paddled the entire length of the Mississippi in just over 18 days.
  Tour du Teche 2011
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-01-11 8:23 PM (EST)
If anyone's interested in three long distance days join us at the Tour du Teche in October. Day 1: 40 miles. Day 2: 60 miles. Day 3: 33 miles. Not the longest race but it will be on was that's not really moving. The great thing about this one is the party they have planned at the end of each day. Those Cajuns know how to do that part of it right!
  toure de touche?
  Posted by: baldpaddler on Jun-02-11 10:23 PM (EST)
Hey how about some more info on the three day race and Party!
  Heard the record was broken
  Posted by: PJC on Jun-02-11 10:45 AM (EST)
but not by who or what they were paddling. But I didn't research it either... Bob Bradford was Kruger's partner in the 01 race, wasn't he? Back in the '01 race I recall that lots of folks thought the "Double Helix" kayak would give them strong competition. There certainly are kayakers who can stay comfortable and effective over those distances - but they are perhaps a little rarer than those who do that kind of distance in a canoe. The rarest of the rare...
BTW,'s own Mcwood, who used to post here a lot, went to quite a few of the Ozark rendezvous', and who is probably still lurking around here occasionally, was on his support team.

When I posted I was just thinking that when the subject of how far a person can paddle in a day, Verlen Kruger is not a name to be forgotten and his ideas about what it takes to do long distances consistently are always worth considering. And its not like his and Bradford's performance on the Mississippi were the only great feats of distance to his credit.
  Kruger + found record for 24-hour
  Posted by: paddletothesea on Jun-03-11 5:05 PM (EST)
Here is the 24-hour World Record:
Long distance kayaker, Andy Corra has officially been certified by Guinness as the official record holder for the longest distance in a canoe or kayak in a 24 hour period.

Back on June0f 2010, Andy started in Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada and paddled 434.06 km (269.71 mi) before taking a break twenty four hours later.

The former record was 261 miles. Link below to official record:

Regarding your Kruger post,

Kruger WAS Bradfords partner at age 78! Breaking his original world record he held with Valerie Fons....however that record was broken the NEXT year by Bradford and Double Helix paddler Clark Eid...They paddled a Kruger Cruiser at floodstage...eating, sleeping in the boat. I think they went the last 5 days without setting foot on land.

Here are some photos of the first race and info on the race, teams etc etc

Here is the 2003 world record race link set by Bradford and Eid....2340 miles in 18 days! Some good photos of them.

Interesting to note that the 2008 Yukon River Quest race from WHitehorse to Dawson city.....record time for the 770 km race...(440miles)----Course Record 39:32:43 In a voyaguer canoe paddled by Martin Bernardin , Tony Bond, David Dahl, Dennis Fosseneuve, Tim Hodgson, Paul Pageau. Thats over 11mph for the course and about 220 miles for the first 20 hours!

The Texas Water Safari Race which is 262-miles ...the record is 29:46
by team-Bryan Mynar, Fred Mynar, John Dunn, Jerry Cochran, Steve Landick, and Soloman Carriere (Landick as you know holds the world record WITH Verlen for the longest paddle trip in history....3 1/2 year journey that covered 28,000 miles.
The SOLO record for the TWS is Carter Johnson who paddled the 262 miles in 36:03 in 2007.

This past weekend General CLinton Race in Cooperstown NY had some speedy times too... For the 70-mile flatwater course Andy Triebold and Steve Lajoie paddled to a 7:09:22 that pace/rate...they would cover 210 miles in 21 hours of paddling if they could have maintained that speed and stamina.



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