Speed and Length

Speed:  A Word on Wetted Surface


"How fast will this kayak go?" It's a common question, especially among paddlers who want to travel as efficiently as possible. Speed isn't as simple as you might think—in theory, long kayaks track better in a straight line and should propel you most efficiently. In reality, efficiency comes down to wetted surface and how much a paddler can handle. A long kayak has more wetted surface than a short one, which means a long hull has to tackle more water than a short one. A long kayak in motion tends to stay in motion, but first one has to get it there. If a paddler is strong enough to handle the wetted surface of a long kayak, he or she will reap the efficiency benefits once the boat is up to speed. Weaker paddlers may find a kayak with less wetted surface is quicker for them.

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