Pedal Kayaking: A better kayak alternative

Transport of canoes in Dubrovnic
Photo by Arvid Høidahl on Unsplash

Started by the Eskimos centuries ago, kayaking has grown to become a favorite sport among many anglers all over the world. This is due to their simplicity and affordability compared to boat fishing. Initially, kayaks were meant for hunting and fishing. Other communities used kayaks for transportation. Today, kayaking has now grown to a sport that’s recognized in the Olympics and a leisure activity that’s very common among tourists and anglers alike.

Due to their wide usage, numerous types of kayaks have been designed to serve different use cases. However, the model of propulsion through paddling has been there for as long as Kayaks have been around.

However, paddle kayaks have recently been found to pose health risks after using them for a long time. This deemed it necessary for people to come up with kayaking alternatives that are more efficient and less risky in terms of health.

Our favorite alternative is pedal kayaking, which uses your feet for propulsion instead of a paddle. Unlike the paddle kayaks that are propelled by paddles, pedal kayaks are propelled by cycling with your feet. This cycling is then converted to energy that powers the kayak to move in different directions.

Keep reading to learn about why the usual paddle kayaking may not be the best for you, and why pedal kayaking is the best alternative.

Paddle Kayaking

Paddle Kayaking is the more traditional method of kayaking, and it’s still widely used today. It involves the use of a paddle to propel the kayak.

To make the paddles light and easy to handle for the kayaker, some are made of light materials like aluminum fiberglass or even carbon fiber. Paddles can also be either feathered or unfeathered. Feathered paddles have blades on different planes. Unfeathered paddles, on the other hand, have the blades on one plane. Each of these designs is effective as long as you know how to handle them.

Paddle kayaks have been favorites to many kayakers due to the following benefits;

However, there are many other reasons why you may want to stay away from paddle kayaking. These include;

These disadvantages of paddle kayaking tend to outweigh its advantages. If you want to take kayaking seriously, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to risk your health while you’re at it. The good news is that there’s an alternative to this traditional kayaking. Pedal kayaking is faster, safer, and more beginner-friendly.

Pedal Kayaking

Pedal Kayaking uses a different mechanism where you propel your kayak by cycling like in a bicycle. Hobie’s Mirage Drive is the reason why pedal kayaks have become very popular among kayak anglers. Pedal kayaks opened up the world of kayaking to more possibilities and to more users than the paddle kayaks did.

The Hobie’s mirage fins technology had been a monopoly in the kayaking industry for about a decade. It was until the propellers’ technology was introduced by Native watercraft, that anglers got diversity in pedal kayaking.

Many other companies have developed their types of pedal kayaks. These include Old Town’s Predator PD, Feelfree Kayaks, Wilderness systems, among others. They have also inspired more companies to venture into manufacturing pedal drive kayaks.

Types of Pedal Kayaks

There are two main types of pedal kayaks based on the pedal drive mechanism.

Push Mechanism

This was the first pedal drive to be introduced. You push the pedals with feet in an alternating manner. This movement makes the fins beneath the kayak to move back and forth, propelling the kayak forward, or in any other direction, you’d like. Fins are more favorable to water lilies since they are light materials.

Rotational Mechanism

This is the Native Watercraft’s design. It involves cycling, like on a bicycle. As you cycle, you rotate the propeller underneath the kayak propelling the kayak in various directions. It offers a very simple, yet effective way to control your kayak as you participate in other activities. It doesn’t require much strength to cycle, making it ideal even for those with weak shoulder muscles, the aged, and he disabled.

Cons: Pedal kayak

Before we go into more detail on why you need to get the pedal kayak and not the paddle kayak, but I should also mention some of the factors you need to consider when making this decision. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, there’s that need that you need your kayak to fulfill. Here are some of the aspects you should consider.

Pros: Pedal Kayak

Whether you’re into kayaking for leisure, or for serious fishing, here are the reasons why a pedal kayak is the best for you;

Final Thoughts

Paddle Kayaking is the more traditional method of kayaking. However, it does pose some health risks, and it limits the users in many ways. These include;

The pedal kayaking is a new entry into the kayaking industry and a perfect kayaking alternative. It offers;

Despite being more expensive than the paddle kayaks, pedal kayaks are the best choice for anglers at all levels.

See you on the water!

Article Author
Robert Walker has been a Kayak enthusiast for over a decade. He's owned several different Kayak's, but only recently got into Pedal Kayaks in the last few years. This website is Robert's way of sharing his passion for Pedal Kayak's with the world.