After paddling with several guys , here are my thoughts.
They are fast for awhile ,they are great in deep water and some places fishing.
If going long distances a kayak will usually walk of and leave them after a while, just to much strain on one set of muscles . on the river here the blades cant be lowered but a fraction of the time.
Like we have said before, location sensitive sure applies to these boats.
Each boater has to figure out for him/herself, a lot of individual decisions. For some, these pedal boats may solve some problems very well. Others prefer a single bladed canoe paddle. Others prefer a double ender kayak paddle. Probably, the single, most important decision that each of us makes, is to get out there in some kind of a watercraft and do something!
Grandpa Bee, just reorder your prioities so that "play" becomes the "have to". That greatly simplifies the choices.
Just as we came into this world naked, and will go out naked - we learned how to handle this world through play, and now must prepare for the next world through play. Those of us who play with boats, are the chosen few who are preparing best.
Couple of years ago I made the statement that peddles were not good for the long run (distance) It really pi$$ one guy of and he said he would show me .
He wanted to run on a lake a mile. I told him I said long distance and five miles out and five miles back. I wanted 2 races one on the Brazos and one on a lake. He didnt like it but agreed.
A couple of weeks later we met on a local lake and even had a cheering section LOL.
We lined up and somebody said go and off we went. He took off like a shot and was leaving me behind I knew we had a long way to go so I set my pace and stuck to it.He was several hundred yards ahead at 1 mile, at 2 miles he was ahead 50 yards. At the time
he was 48 and I was 67. at three miles I caught and passed him ,at abought 3 1/2 miles I was 2 hundred yards ahead he quit.
We talked going back to the starting point and both agreed that at a distance of a mile and a half he would be the winner, but over the long haul the regular kayak and a double bladed paddle would walk off and leave the peddle boat. He said his butt and legs were locked in one position and pressure points on his rear and no rest for the big muscles in his legs caught up with him in the long run.
He also said he was in his element on the lake but the shallow water and snags in the Brazos he wouldnt have had a chance.
That boat in the original video looks like it is pretty close to planing. Definitely a guy in good shape and I doubt he could keep up that pace for long, whatever speed he was at. IMO he :could: be exceeding the normal max hull speed that we are all stuck with though, which is usually 4-5 mph.
A friend of mine has a couple of those Hobie Mirage drive kayaks, they are neat but limited. It is nice to have your hands free for fishing and be able to steer with the little rudder lever, especially when it is really windy. I would say the top speed when you're really pushing it is the same as I can achieve when I'm really trying to get somewhere in my 14'x25" pirogue, which is much faster than most commercial boats I've been in. You're not going to keep that speed up for more than a mile or two though.
I also agree that for long distances a paddle will be more efficient, and I believe it is because of the "glide factor." When you're paddling at a mild pace, you make a paddle stroke, then lift it and glide for 3-5 seconds before making another stroke. If each stroke takes you one second, you're effectively only "working" 20% of the time. With the peddle systems you're spinning constantly, there is no taking a break between strokes, so you're working 100% of the time. Even if your legs are 2-3 times as strong as your arms, that's a losing battle when it comes to efficiency.
The major exception that I can see are open coastal areas with high winds and strong tides, where you do have to work as hard as you can 100% of the time. I've been through inlets where the river was white capping from the tide ripping out so hard that if your paddle wasn't in the water with all of your force behind it, you were going out to sea. This was with a pair of fit 21 year old guys with a lot of paddling experience. In situations like that I would prefer the peddle system, because you can keep up max effort for a bit longer. Compare doing push ups to riding a bike up a steep hill.
The biggest problem I had with the Hobies was that the boats themselves really weren't designed to be paddled. At 10' long and 34" wide, I stood up and took a leak out of it on a gator-infested lake, but they paddle like a Jon boat, which is to say they don't. When we got in the weeds and hydrilla it was absolutely terrible trying to paddle it, where a regular kayak or canoe isn't a problem. I think adding that system to a boat already designed to paddle well it would do much better.
Yeah, it needs a lot of underwater clearance - no,rocks or weeds. I watched a guy in Canada, struggling along in open water. Frankly, I Wouldn't choose to buy one. Range of use is too limited, and mechanicals don't appear to be very robust.