Feeding from a kayak

rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
edited May 2012 in Beginner Questions
Hi all,
I'm doing my first swim that involves feeding from a kayak and I'm trying to figure out logistics. From what I understand, the kayaker will need to carry all of my feeds for what I expect will be a 7 hour swim. (I'm slow, but steady.) Is it best to provide the kayaker with everything already mixed up in several large bottles along with food already portioned out? Six to eight ounces of liquid every 30 minutes seems pretty bulky to carry on the boat along with the kayaker's needs. Could the kayaker also tow the bottles in the water? (I do that when training using a surfboard leash.) I already figured out how to have the kayaker send everything out to me (I'm stealing Donal's retractable dog leash idea and making creative use of tupperware containers.)

Suggestions? Advice?



  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    I didn't use a dog leash, but it's a good idea. I used a rope. I use 32 oz bottles with a loop so I can caribeaner to it, Rubbermaid Chug bottles are my preference. I feed about every 15 minutes, and when I stop, my fiance throws the bottle to me. The bottle holds its seal in the water, so leakage isn't an issue. I drink what I need, and toss it back, she pulls it back in with the rope. I can hold on to the rope, and it keeps the kayak from drifting too far away from me and jerking the bottle out of my hand.

    For solid feeds, she would hand me what I needed. During training, I would use gels, last Friday, I would eat applesauce packets (http://www.gogosqueez.com/our-products/) or slices of orange.

    I need to experiment with my nutrition plan, but the way it was administered, at least from a kayak, worked pretty well. I need to work on how to feed from a boat, though, since that's what will be supporting me on my next swim.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    edited May 2012
    I am swimming a Bay to Breakers swim this week-end and will be feeding about 6 times or so...conditions outside the Golden Gate could be rough with 10 ft swells so my feeding bottle will be tied to the Kayak with a 10 ft rope or so...I use a couple of bottles one for standard feed and one more concentrated and on one bottle I will duck tape some goos by the top tab and just rip them off it I need them....all is mixed up and I have been dosing a little whey in...early on seems to settle the stomach...I always have a steel cut oats breakfast about 1 1/2 hours before the swim and about 16 oz of feed before I jump.

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    I have everything pre-mixed and stuffed in the kayak. I will strap two milk crates to the kayak. One each in front and back of the boat (a sea kayak). For the pre-mixed drinks (usually in cooler with a flip top) I'll write on the bottle what it is. Its important to go over with your trainer what is what and when you get what. I feed almost exlusively with a cup attached to a string. When it is time for a feed, the kayker will paddle ahead (while maintaining a course) and fill up the cup with whatever it is I'm drinking on that feed. At some point in the swim the cup will end up in the trainer's teeth. (Same thing with me when I'm the trainer.) The trainer holds the cup out to the side for the swimmer to grab. Once the feed is done the cup gets dropped and reeled back in by the trainer.
  • LynnkubLynnkub Charter Mem​ber
    I think it is important to remember that Feeds are Feeds, and not Rest and Coffeetime. Although these feeds are from big boats, you should get the idea.
    One of the best swimmer feeds I observed was Penny Palfrey. All business, it was down in 10 seconds and she was on (at 4:55)

    This feed stop takes nearly three minutes. Not a good idea if you are serious about the endeavor (just my opinion)
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Holy fuck. Sorry, nothing else comes to mind.


  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    Well, that tells you why she was worried about hypothermia. I guess that's the time required in order to please your adoring masses and media partners. Jeez.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    My feeds on my last race were fairly slow; but that was because I wanted to try solid foods. Chewing and treading water --> not a good combination. Smoothies in a wide-mouthed bottle from now on!
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    My feeds are at: 12:50, 13:50, 18:00, and at 20:00 (from a kayak).

    Always keep yourself moving towards the finish-line. There are very few things worth talking about at feeds. Stopping to chat wastes precious time. A few minutes every hour will add up over a marathon.
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    Ridiculous. How often did she feed?
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    My feeds take about 30s. I can't get them faster than that. My husband throws me the bottle on a rope, I gulp, and then put it down. I do that as fast as I can, but there's always something else. Peeing adds some time (I have to be upright when I start, then I can continue swimming).
    Always keep yourself moving towards the finish-line. There are very few things worth talking about at feeds. Stopping to chat wastes precious time.
    My husband and I always have to talk about "which way do we go?" He gives me a hand signal to ask me. If I know the area like the back of my hand, I can signal back. If not, I usually have to stop, tread water, ask him what landmarks he can see from his vantage point, etc.

    He's kayaked for me 6 times. So neither one of us are experienced at this. We are always trying to figure out how to keep ourselves in the best position. If he has me swim close to shore, maybe I have to tell him it's too shallow. If we're way out in the middle, maybe he wants me to go further in. He thinks I'm pushing him out, I think he's leading me that way.

    I like the rule of he leads, I put my head down and follow, but it never works that way. If he has to stop to mess with provisions or take a bio break, I go on ahead. So I have to sight until he comes back. Then, I don't realize he's back, so I'm not following. Or he's too far off shore or too close in, so I'm not sure if he wants me to go toward him or if he's coming to me.

    I also get concerned about how he's feeling. Yesterday, he was having major back problems in a rented kayak. Also, it was more of a white water kayak, so he would start spinning around every time he put down his paddle to take a drink of water (Arizona, 104 degrees, you have to drink a lot of water.) On every feed I had to ask him how he was feeling. I realize that doesn't help anything, but there is no way I could resist that impulse.

    Maybe we are the only two people that this is hard for.
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