Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paddle by numbers

The paddle starts

Most will know the saying "The longest journey starts with the first step". Sunday we did a paddle of 27 kms; it got me to thinking about steps and strokes.

An average paddle rate of 35 strokes per minute and an average moving speed of 6 kms/hr means 350 paddle strokes per kilometer. Our paddled distance was 27 kms. Therefore, the approximate number of paddle strokes for the day was 9,450. I reflected on that. Its a large number. Don't think so? Start counting from from one. It becomes a daunting task.

Its not something we think about because paddling in the moment we're engrossed in the scenery, talking to fellow paddlers or deep into our own thoughts. I don't think we realize how much repetition there is in paddling and how much "work" we do when we paddle.


  1. tony, out of curiosity, how many kcal do you spend during a paddling trip?

  2. this site will tell you how many calories you burn in an hour of activity:

  3. An intersting look at numbers, for sure. As Sly and the Family Stone said "Different stroke (rates) for different folks."

    Not to turn this into another Greenland vs Euro posting but I've calculated my paddle rate to be in the 70-80 strokes/min at cruising speed - which is about the norm for Greenland paddling. Funny, but I took note of this very thing on Sunday's paddle and also noticed that my rate is a fair bit higher than Dean's as well. When Dean was hitting his second stroke, I would be into my third.

    If Tony's original calculations are correct, and because he's an accountant by profession, I trust they are, I, quite possibly, dipped my blades in the vicinity of 18,000 times on Sunday.

    Paddling with the Greenalnd paddle is the equivalent of using the small front ring on your bike. You're turning your pedals over over much faster than your buddy who's pushing the big ring. But you're both going the same speed. Yep, different strokes for different folks but at least we all get to where we're going!!

    As for calories, I don't know exactly what I burn but I'm ready to eat a horse after a few hours on the water!! Which begs another question - how many calories in a horse?

  4. It's an amazing number of paddle strokes whether using a Euro blade or greenland. I did a similar calculation a couple of years ago when I considered buying a lighter paddle. As a result of switching to the Werner carbon paddle, I now "lift" considerable less weight during a long paddle (compared to the considerably longer wooden paddle previously used). Just imagine what a greenland paddle could do for me :)

  5. Clyde, based on past experience, I think you should stay with the Euro... (I have not forgotten)

  6. I used 35 because that's about my pace with the Euro blade but that's only on one side. I focused on the fact that on the water I only think about one stroke at a time but the number of strokes sure add up after a longish paddle.

    Umm, must check out the calories I burned out too. An extra kilometer maybe means another glass of wine *lol*

  7. Thanks for the calorie counter link Dean.

    OK, I put the numbers in and 232 calories per hour dropped out. Then I changed my age to 30 and the result was 265. Based on my conditioning I figure its between 230 and 265.

    In kayaking I get to have a bit of exercise while doing something I enjoy without it feeling like exercise.

    Tony :-)