The Basics of Whitewater Kayaking

Unlike sea kayaking or river kayaking, whitewater kayaking is of a relatively more thrilling and exhilarating variety. If you are a regular adrenaline junkie looking for a new fix, then this is probably the best option for you.

There are many things to consider when opting going whitewater kayaking. One of which is the equipment. Some questions you need to ask yourself when getting equipment include, what type of equipment will best suit you in regards to your experience in kayaking as well as your physical profile.

There is kayaking equipment available in kayak shops that are specifically designed to handle whitewater rapids. Some of which are:

  • Whitewater paddle

This particular paddle is specifically designed to aid you in conquering whitewater rapids. Unlike regular canoeing, this type of kayaking will require you to roll under and over the water. This paddle will help you with handling the rapids as well as doing the rolls.

  • Whitewater helmet

As you are expected to accelerate at a high speed, it is best that you equip yourself with the right headgear to protect you from fatal head injuries. Moreover, it will aid you in doing Eskimo rolls as well.

  • Buoyancy aid

From the name itself, its main purpose is to give additional buoyancy.

  • Spray skirt

Unlike spray skirts used in general kayaking, these skirts are specially designed to aid you while doing Eskimo rolls. Spray skirts made for sea or river kayaking is mainly for preventing water from getting into the kayak, r preventing water from spraying your bottom half.

  • Whitewater kayak

Unlike other kayaks, this kayak is contoured so that you will be able to tip your kayak sideways, under, and over the water. You can pick a kayak from this list to ensure you’re getting the best one.

More than the equipment, you must know the basics of whitewater kayaking. If you are a beginner, which you most probably are, the best option for you would be to take lessons first. However, the most vital lesson is doing the Eskimo roll, which is one of the most important techniques you should master. Without it, you whitewater kayaking is useless. The secret in doing an Eskimo roll is by being able to control your hips. Here are the steps:

  1. Place your paddle at the side of your kayak horizontally with your fists out. This will prepare you in transitioning as well as stabilizing yourself.
  1. Tip your weight over to the side where you placed your paddle. Roll under the water. The key here is not to panic; remember that your kayak was specially made for you to be able to recover from capsizing.
  1. Move your paddle from the horizontal position on your side, to a vertical position and use your hands for support while pushing the paddle from the surface of the water going down. Note that being able to roll up from under the water has nothing to do with your paddle. Its purpose is to aid you and to give additional support. The real secret here lies in how you control your hips. You should be able to push your hips to the side where you need to roll upwards while maneuvering the paddle.
  2. The final step is to stabilize yourself. Use your paddle for maintaining balance. Then continue with your basic paddling techniques, which include forward stroke, sweep stroke, and bracing for support.

Whitewater kayaking is truly a thrilling water sport, with the proper knowledge on the basics and handling, this sport will surely give you the opportunity to experience something surreal.