Peddle — not paddle — a kayak

You can paddle a kayak. And with Hobie Mirage kayaks you can pedal.

You pedal lightly with your feet, and two underwater flippers — modeled after penguin’s feet — push out beneath the kayak to propel you through the water.

With a little effort, you could go 3-5 mph, said Buckeye Sports Center kayak expert Alyssa Karns. Get two people peddling hard on a tandem kayak and you could leave a wake.

Since the pedals are less taxing than paddles, you can travel farther and longer, Karns said.

Buckeye Sports Center sells Hobie Mirage kayaks you can pedal with your feet. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

“It’s peaceful. You don’t have a motor. You can get out at 6 a.m. and enjoy the sunrise,” she said.

Buckeye — one of the 20 biggest boat dealers in the country — started selling Hobie kayaks about seven years ago and has increased sales every year, especially in fishing models, Karns said. The boats are a little heavier and wider than kayaks you’d buy from a big box store. They range in price from about $2,000 to $3,500, and you can outfit them with a plethora of accessories, including sails and live wells for fish.

Kayaking is the most popular form of paddling, increasing from 3 percent of Americans participating in 2010 to 4.4 percent in 2014, according to the national Physical Activity Council. That’s 13 million kayakers — and climbing every year.

Along with the popularity of the sport, concerns about paddling safety are growing. And both industry groups and safety agencies are stressing the all paddlers should learn about boat safety and always wear lifejackets.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 152 people died and 124 people were injured in kayaks or canoes in 2016.  Of those, 130 people drowned. In 79 percent of the 509 recreational boating drownings, people were not wearing life jackets.

So wear your life jacket. Know safety rules, especially on busy commercial waterways like the Cuyahoga River. And have fun.