• 13th August 2007 - By adventuresofgreg

    NO RECORD!!!

    I’ve know about this for a while now, but I’ve been sitting on it until everything with the Human Powered Vehicle Association (HPVA) and Guinness World Records became ‘official’.

    I do NOT own the HPVA human powered BOAT 24 hour distance record as previously thought, but I do own a new 24 hour pedal boat distance record ratified by Guinness. Let me explain:

    Unknown to me or any of the HPVA officials I was working with during my 174 km HPB record attempt on June 2, 2007, there were full transcripts of a 250 km human powered boat record attempt by Carter Johnson sitting on the desk of the records chair person at the HPVA . Due to a lack of communications between various parties, this pre-existing 24 hour record attempt of 250 km was not known by me or anyone associated with my record attempt.

    Carter Johnson a stock HUKI S1-X surfski on Lake Merced in San Francisco during his 24 hour, 147 mile kayaking distance record attempt

    After my record attempt I started to look into my average watts of power that I produced during the 174 km record with the data from the SRM power meter. Rick Willoughby and I did some calculations and we figured that with a purpose-built, state of the art human powered boat, I ‘would-have’ been capable of going at least 250 km with the exact same power output that I exerted during the 24 hour record on June 2.

    I had heard rumors of a kayaker by the name of Carter Johnson who paddled his kayak 250 km in 24 hours on a lake in Northern California last year. Now, according to the rules of ‘human power’, a kayak IS definitely a human powered boat. Human powered vehicles including boats aren’t just pedal powered – they consist of anything that is powered by a human being – no use of the wind or stored energy is allowed. And this is really a beautiful thing, as it encourages innovation to maximize the minuscule bit of power than a human is capable of producing. If using paddles in a kayak, rowing a row boat, or simply kicking your feet through the water behind your surf board is a more efficient method of moving a boat forward over time than pedals and a propeller, then so be it! That’s exactly what the whole ‘human power’ ideal is all about.

    As far as I knew, Carters record was considered “unofficial” because he didn’t go through the rigorous and restricting ratification process required by a governing body as I did. However, I knew that if it was possible for a paddled kayak to travel 250 km in 24 hours, that my paltry 174 km wasn’t going to stick for very long. I realized that with a new boat, I would be very close to this 250 km unofficial kayak record and I was motivated to pursue that.

    I looked Carter up, and contacted him with the intention of inviting him to Calgary for a 24 hour human powered race between the two of us next summer. We would call it the Pedal vs. Paddle showdown. The winner would claim the true title of ‘human powered 24 hour distance champion on water’ and potentially even a new ‘Official’ 24 hour HPVA distance record. We would end, once and for all, the debate over weather pedal is better than paddle. Basically, I thought my race idea would be a whole lot of fun for everyone involved, and a great challenge for both Carter and I.

    Greg Kolodziejzyk on his human powered pedal boat WiTHiN on Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary during his 24 hour, 108 mile human powered boat distance record attempt

    It would be an understatement to say that I was shocked when Carter told me that he was a member of the human powered vehicle association. And that he had registered his record attempt with the HPVA, AND had followed ALL of the rules of the HPVA with regard to record setting. He had his rectangular course measured by a surveyor, had official members of the HPVA act as observers and even submitted a full report to the HPVA records chair person subsequent to his attempt. “So why do you not own the official HPVA 24 hour human powered boat record?” I asked. He told me that after he had submitted his information package to the HPVA, he hadn’t heard back from them. At the same time, Carter had applied to Guinness World Records for the most kayaking distance in 24 hours category, and had received ratification from them, so he just let the whole HPVA application drop.

    I was kind of pissed. Not at Carter, but at this whole mis-communication mess with the HPVA. Why was Carter’s record not ratified? Why was I not even aware that a record attempt over a YEAR OLD was being considered for ratification? That news alone may have changed my strategy regarding my own attempt at the record. I knew that my boat WiTHiN was not capable of 250 km, so I may not have attempted it.

    I immediately sensed an injustice. I told Carter that I would do my best at getting to the bottom of this and see that he receive his just recognition from the HPVA, as in my opinion, if he did follow all of the rules, he deserved to be recognized for his amazing accomplishment. To Carter’s credit as a pretty admirable person, he insisted that I not pursue this, and that he was happy with sharing the lime-light, as he did have his Guinness recognition for kayaking distance. That didn’t sit well with me. It is about the ideal of the human powered pursuit. What justice would be served if my distance record of 174 km was seen by the world as the most distance that a human being can cover in 24 hours on water when indeed it is something more like 250 km !!!!!!! A huge difference, and a difference that NEEDED to be rectified.

    So, I contacted Al Krause, the current president of the HPVA who was not aware of Carters record attempt. Al eventually traced the problem down, and Carter ended up with his due recognition as the HPVA record holder for 24 hour HPB distance. I’m not blaming the HPVA for any of this, as I think it was just simply a case of mis-communication between many individuals (including myself). Since everyone at the HPVA is a volunteer, I am very grateful that they are all so freely giving of their time. Without the awesome work of people like Al Krause, Rob Hitchcock and many others, there would be no organized process at all for athletes to participate within. No stars to shoot for, no rules to follow, and no recognition our accompishments.

    So I kind of screwed myself out of a record. But that’s fine because I figured out how to salvage it – by contacting Guinness World Records and asking about the 24 hour PEDAL boat record. They said it was currently at 175 km and held by an Italian 4 man team. I told Guinness that my 174 km record (only 1 km less than that from a team of 4!) was a solo attempt, and as such, should be considered as a new category. They agreed and after reviewing all of my data and observers reports, awarded me with the record.

    So where does this leave us? Well, I really want to challenge Carters kayaking record, and I would be a very lucky guy to have the opportunity to race a guy of Carters calibre for the honor of being the true human powered boat world record holder. Carter said he would think about it.

    What are YOUR thoughts? To r
    espond so that everyone can have the opportunity to read your input and respond to it, please submit your comments to the ‘comments’ link on this post.

    Best regards,
    Greg Kolodziejzyk

  • No Responses to “NO RECORD!!!!”

    • Anonymous on August 13, 2007

      It would be a lot of fun to expand the sport to include more would-be aqua-naughts. Set a date and invite all self-qualified challengers to race. Personally I will need a year to build something boyant. Think of all the fun that could be had until, like NASCAR, corporate sponsorship destroys the spirit. The amphibious tadpole trike/landcrawler/boat I am now building could compete… however I think a floating block of styrofoam blowing in the wind would out pace me. If noting else, Greg, an HPV Lake Invitational would certainly graphicly illustrate how difficult it is to build a world class human powered vehicle. Get the local schools to design and build their own boats for the competition and then you will have satisfied "Gary B's." public service requirement.


    • Who's Askin? on August 13, 2007

      I was very pleased by your gracious handling of the whole affair. One would think that, that would put to rest the entire blowhard, egomaniac talk.

      Good on ya.

    • Anonymous on August 13, 2007


      I definitely think you did the right thing here, and I like the idea of an open challenge to compete for the record…

      Buzz Powell

    • Anonymous on August 13, 2007

      Greg, great job on verifying and making official carter johnsons record. Instead of a challenge, i say you take the pedal power boat to some kayak events and see how you fair before challenging carter johnson, this dude is a wrecking crew for kayak events.
      William Pruett, Fort Worth, tx,

    • Anonymous on August 13, 2007

      Everything happens for a reason. I commend and respect you for taking the 'high road' on this Greg. Had you not done this… you would likely NOT have…

      1. pursued and secured a new category and record with Guinness
      2. had Carter Johnson rightfully recognized by the HPV body
      3. given you inspiration for an even greater future event (Pedal vs. Paddle Showdown)
      4. led by example – especially considering the impressionable youth following your KidPower initiative… this to me is the most important teaching

      Keep up the inspirational work Greg!


      Cyrille Armand
      Vice President, Professional Services Canada

    • Anonymous on August 13, 2007

      I hope it comes off. I don't think the possibilities for human power on the water have been explored with any conviction. I would think 350km is achievable. Will be fun trying.

      Rick W.

    • Anonymous on August 14, 2007

      Not to take anything away from your amazing accomplishment, kudos to you for going out and doing something fun, however you wrote about a one on one challenge with Carter and said…
      "We would end, once and for all, the debate over weather pedal is better than paddle."
      Considering Carter paddled 250km in 24 hours in a boat that can be bought by anybody in any kayak store, and you peddled 175km in a custom designed one of a kind machine built for you by a team, but you peddled only 70% of his distance, what sort of debate is there really on-going? It seems fairly clear at this point. But congratulations with talking Guiness into creating a new record category for yourself, it clearly means a lot to you, and best of luck with your future endeavors.

    • Adventures of Greg on August 14, 2007

      Dear Anonymous:

      When I said "we would end, once and for all, the debate over weather pedal is better than paddle", I was not comparing my pedal record attempt of 174 km to Carter's 250 km. There is no debate over which method of human powered propulsion is better – I was in a bathtub for two with a propeller and recumbent seat thrown in. It was built from a slow but stable sea kayak for ocean use.

      I refer to some new hull designs that we have that would see average speeds very close to Carter's SurfSki.

      But in the end, you are correct. Currently (not theoretically), the farthest any pedal boat has gone in 24 hours is only 174 km. Compared to Carters 250 km, there is no debate.

    • Anonymous on August 15, 2007

      You mentioned that the HPVA had the record information etc. The HPVA does not validate records. Only the Records committee of the IHPVA does. The records committee seems to be unable to react and the IHPVA under Richard Ballantine has done very little to whip it into shape. This has been a problem for over 10 years at least!

      I got so frustrated and disillusioned obout the recumbent category designations that I decided to form my own recumbent records organization to establish categories and rules based on the IHPVA model so that the perfomances could be historically recorded. No one has the divine sole right to recognizing achievement. Sometimes it is easier to start over than to fix an antiquated system.

      As a member of the HPVA board and a racer, I should have bitched more about the records committee even though it is volunteer work. I didn't realize stuff was years behind. This is totally unnecessary. I feel that records should be approved in less than a week if all the documentation is provided.

      The system is in dire need of a shake out and your situation brings it to a head. Thanks for that. Good luck on your next attempt. Keep them coming. Your are doing great things for Human Power.

      Sean Costin

    • Anonymous on August 16, 2007

      Wow, you are some cyclist. How do you come up with the idea to make so many versions of bikes. Forget challenging a boater, have you ever gone one on one with other famous cyclists? Lance or Ian come to mind. I'd like to see that!
      Carolyn Ford, North Carolina

    • Adventures of Greg on August 16, 2007

      To Carolyn Ford:

      To compete against Lance Armstrong in my human powered vehicle CriticalPower:


      would not be fair to Lance, as the aerodynamic efficiency of CriticalPower is far faster than what the worlds greatest cyclist could ever do on his road bike.

      I could not compete with Lance or any professional bike rider if I had to use my road bike. I'm a pretty fit 47 year old, but I can't compete with the young guys and the pros.


    • Anonymous on August 16, 2007

      Ok- I thought maybe the weight of the added equipment on that capsule thing might make up for the aerodynamic properties to make it fairly even. But I also failed physics, oops, LOL. Wow, well still. You must have legs of steel. Amazing. Carolyn

    • Adventures of Greg on October 9, 2007

      With all due respect Anonymous from Vancouver BC, I for one really enjoy kayaking. HPB's and kayaks and row boats or any other form of human powered boats each have their respective qualities. HPB's are more complicated and prone to breaking down and are difficult to beach due to the drive/prop/rudder.

      And also – to Anonymous from Yukon: Carter is an amazing athlete and the speed / power output numbers on our boats is very close. It should be a pretty close race.

      But I do appreciate your confidence in me! Thanks!

      Greg K

    • Anonymous on October 9, 2007

      You're more than welcome to come down to Texas and race in the water safari or colorado river 100.

      You wouldn't be pre-occupied with Carter, because half the people here would smoke you. Here is the link in case you grow a sack…


    • Anonymous on October 10, 2007


      nice start, but at 4.75mph you reached about the speed that you and I could maintain for a few hours while paddling a stock aluminum canoe.
      If you look for fast human powered boats, look at skullers, outriggers, multiman kayaks. These guys do 8+mph for several hours.
      Their boat hulls are narrow and tippy, but the use of the paddle gives stability.
      I doubt that a pedal powered boat could be built as narrow – you'd just tip over.
      Also, rowers, canoeists, kayakers use all muscles in their body, not just their legs.
      I just don't see how a pedal boat could come even close.

    • Anonymous on October 11, 2007

      Maybe not usable for a long-distance race, but still interesting and inspirationak: http://www.foilkayak.com/videos/ Hydrofoil kayaking.. Fastest way to move on water by human power alone? Good luck with the Atlantic crossing project also, regards, Jarl

    • Anonymous on February 1, 2008

      any opinion?

    • Anonymous on February 12, 2008

      Yes, Fast, but according to the worlds best, probably not a distance boat. Seems like it would take too much energy to keep it up for more than the duration of a quickie.


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