How Fast is a Kayak?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Hiking or kayaking is a great way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, but some people fear getting out on the water. How fast is a kayak might be an initial question?

There are SO many kayak choices, so it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.

How fast is a kayak? 

How wide is it? 

What length? 

How heavy is it? 

Do I need a skirt? 

All these questions and more come up when shopping for your first kayak.

We will review all the essential factors to consider when buying your first kayak, including tips for choosing the perfect size, weight, and style.

We want to ensure you spend your money wisely and pick the ideal kayak for your needs!

How Fast Is A Kayak?

A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft propelled using a double-bladed paddle.

The word kayak originates from the Greenlandic language, the word for “hunter’s boat.”

Kayaks are believed to have been first used by the Inuit people of North America and were traditionally made from seal skins stretched over a wood or whalebone frame.

So how fast is a kayak? 

Well, that depends on a few factors, such as the type of kayak, the weight of the kayaker, the currents and wind conditions, and of course, the skill of the kayaker.

In general, however, most kayaks can reach speeds between 5 and 10 miles per hour.

Some experienced kayakers can even reach speeds upwards of 20 miles per hour!

Whether you’re looking to leisurely paddle down a calm river or race through whitewater rapids, a kayak can be an excellent option for getting out on the water and enjoying some time in nature.

Be sure to know your skill level and choose the proper kayaking adventure.

How To Make Your Kayak Faster

There are a few things you can do to make your kayak faster.

Some kayaks are designed for speed, while others are designed for stability and comfort.

If you’re looking to go fast, you’ll want to find a sleek, aerodynamic kayak. You’ll also want to ensure that it’s lightweight and doesn’t slow you down.

If you’re not concerned about speed, you can focus on finding a comfortable and stable kayak. This is especially important if you’re new to kayaking or plan to be in rough waters.

Once you have your kayak, you can do a few things to improve your speed.

First, make sure that you’re paddling with the proper technique. You want to make sure that each stroke is powerful and efficient.

You can practice your technique in calm waters before entering rougher conditions.

Second, invest in some good-quality paddles. Paddles made for racing are usually lighter and more aerodynamic than other paddles.

They can also be more expensive, so be prepared to invest some money if you’re serious about going fast.

Finally, keep your kayak clean and free of debris.

A dirty kayak will be slower than a clean one because the dirt and debris will create drag.

Make sure to regularly clean your kayak to stay fast and efficient.

What Are The Best Kayaks For Speed?

There are a few different kayaks that are good for speed. Some kayaks are sleek and designed for racing, while others are more sturdy and can handle rougher waters.

It depends on what you need the kayak for and what is the best option for you.

Some of the best kayaks for speed are the Nelo 550 MKII, the V10 Double, and the ICF K1.

These kayaks are all designed with speed and have won multiple races. These will be some of the best options if you are looking for a kayak to race in.

However, suppose you are looking for a kayak to take out on rough waters or a long expedition.

In that case, something like the Wilderness System Tsunami 145 might be a better option. This kayak is designed for stability and can handle more adverse conditions.

So, when it comes to finding the best kayak for speed, it depends on what you need it for. There are some great options out there regardless of your specific needs.

How To Train For Speed In A Kayak?

The first step to training for speed in a kayak is to practice your paddling technique. Make sure you are using proper form and that your paddle is entering the water at the correct angle.

You also want to ensure you are not over-extending your arms when you paddle.

Once you have perfected your paddling technique, you can start working on building up your arm and shoulder muscles.

This will help you generate more power when you paddle and increase your speed.

Another critical aspect of training for speed in a kayak is to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

This means exercising to get your heart rate up and help improve your lung capacity.

Swimming is an excellent exercise, but running or biking are also good options if you don’t have access to a pool.

The key is to find an activity you enjoy to be more likely to stick with it and see results.

Finally, ensure you eat a healthy diet and get enough rest. When you are well-nourished and well-rested, your body will be able to perform at its best.

This will help you paddle faster and with more power. So make sure to fuel your body correctly and get plenty of rest before heading out on the water!

What Are The Dangers Of Going Too Fast In A Kayak?

The dangers of going too fast in a kayak are many. 

First, you could quickly capsize your kayak if you hit a wave or wake wrong. 

Second, you could miss important landmarks and end up going off course. 

Third, you could exhaust yourself and not have enough energy to paddle back to shore. 

Finally, you could put yourself and others at risk by going too fast and not being able to stop in time. 

All these dangers can be avoided by simply going the speed limit and being aware of your surroundings.


The kayak is a versatile and popular boat for recreation, racing, and whitewater kayaking.

Though all kayaks differ, the average racing kayak speeds are between 12 and 15 miles per hour.

For amateurs and beginners, starting slow and working your way up to higher speeds is vital.

Always practice safety while kayaking, and never go beyond your comfort level.

Thanks for reading, and happy kayaking!