A Beginners Guide to White Water Kayaking

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Are you passionate about extreme water sports that can offer you tons of excitement and adventure? Whitewater kayaking can offer you the rush which you’ve been craving for. Although this extreme sport has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, the fact is that paddling on rivers and lakes is an old thing that dates back to Stone Age era.

However, there are certain changes that have been made to ensure that kayaking enthusiasts can make full use of the sport to get the right kind of fun and excitement that they need and is one of the most fun formats of white water rafting.

Check out our post on the Best Inflatable Kayaks and Canoes in 2018 to help you choose your next inflatable kayaks today.

Preparing Yourself for White Water Kayaking

The most important thing that you need to ask yourself when you are preparing for whitewater kayaking is whether you can swim or not. Swimming is an important and most basic thing that you should know when you are stepping into the world of whitewater kayaking because you might have to find your way out by swimming.

The next thing you need to ask yourself is whether you are fit enough for the sport. Whitewater kayaking is a strenuous sport that involves paddling a kayak on a high current river water. This means that it requires plenty of upper and lower body strength, balance, and flexibility. If you’re not fit enough, whitewater kayaking can impact your health physically and you may run out of stamina.

You must also understand different classes of river based on whitewater conditions. Class I is the easiest level with fast water with visible obstruction. Class II is for a novice that has fast water but with small drops which can be easily navigated. Class III is for intermediate kayakers that have moderate rapid, big waves and back eddies.

Class IV is for advanced kayakers that can handle high waves, whirlpools, strong back eddies. Class V is for expert kayakers that can handle long violent rapids. Class VI is extreme level with unrunnable rapids.

Safety Tips for White Water Kayaking for Beginners

While you might be passionate about the sport, you must also focus on how you can protect yourself and ensure that you are safe. Here are some safety tips that can help you enjoy whitewater kayaking in a secured way.

Practice to Be Comfortable

When you are planning to learn more about whitewater kayaking you must also make sure that you practice being comfortable in the kayak out of the water. There are various indoor kayaking classes that can provide you with the experience of sitting in a kayak. It is also recommended that you take whitewater kayaking for beginners classes or training on how to do a wet exit which would allow you to overcome your anxiety when your kayak topples into the water.

Always Wear a Safety Gear

It is important that you always wear a life jacket and safety gear like a helmet when you are going for whitewater kayaking. This is important to keep you safe because you might lose control of your kayak due to fast flowing water.

Never Go Kayaking Alone

When you are new to the world of whitewater kayaking you must make sure that someone along is with you to help you. Inform your trainer or guide when you want to try kayaking in the actual river that has moderate flow.

Wear the Right Clothes

It is important that you wear the right clothes that can help you to stay comfortable allowing you to enjoy the thrill without the chill. Wear quick drying clothes like polypro as you might get wet during the kayaking session.

Hold Your Paddle Properly

Losing your paddle can be an issue early on when you are learning whitewater kayaking. Make sure you’re holding the paddle properly to control your kayak and to ensure that you don’t injure yourself.

White Water Kayaking Equipment You Should Purchase

If you’re serious about whitewater kayaking and have a long-term interest you can go ahead and purchase your own whitewater kayaking equipment. You can look out for whitewater helmets, paddles, buoyancy aids, spraydecks, airbags, dry suits, and rescue equipment. You may also want to purchase good quality cagoules that can offer better comfort and reduce irritation in salt water.


While whitewater kayaking seems like a great extreme water sport that should be on your list you should make sure that you focus on safety when you’re a beginner. It is recommended that you stick to calm and moderate water flow for the first few months even if you are a quick learner and have developed your skills. You can gradually move up the level when your confidence level increases and you’re sure that you’re ready to take on the challenges thrown by fast flowing river water.


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