Advice from WhiteWater kayakers

I was thinking of taking up whitewater river kayaking after meeting a whitewater guy from somewhere in the NE US. We meet on a sea kayak trip and it was his first expeirence in a sea kayak. During the trip he managed to get me hooked on the idea of purchasing a WW boat and get onto the rivers. The boat he spoke highly of (very highly I might add) was the Riot Dominatrix. Looking at the boat, it certainly looks like a well crafted and designed boat. However, being a sea kayaker with NO expierence running rapids and whitewater on rivers. Was hoping for advice on boat selection?? Thanks.

You dawg
In addition to being a sea-kayaker’s paradise, Newfoundland also has some of the best whitewater runs in the world. Best of luck, keep us curious longboaters abreast of your “conversion” process…

Well, I have taken advantage of our coastal waters, I can no longer justify not taking advantage of our inland waters ! I think at the pool sessions I may try a whitewater boat after they start again. I have never even sat in one lol

The Dom does have a good reputation
but you might want to try one out and other makes and models before you purchase. Some things to consider in your research include a comparrison of your weight and gear to the maximum recommended weight for that boat. Also, look at what you want to do in that boat and compare it to what it is designed for. I believe the Dom is a down river - playboat. There are plenty of boat reviews for you to research including this site and boatertalk. There are also some websites where people are selling their gear that might give you and impression of what a used Dom costs. In BC there is Mountain Equipment Coop, White Water Kayak Association of BC and in Alberta - Aquabatics. Not sure what is NFLD. Have fun - you have some great rivers your way.

Demo, Buy Used and Expect
the first boat to be fodder after you get up the learning curve.

The Dom is a very slicey, playboat series and will do (depending your weight to the boat) a lot of squirts, enders and such (what playboaters want to do on purpose). This may be more than you want to do when you’re just starting out.

I think an “all arounder” may be the way to go. These boats tend to have a bit more volume and more forgiving lines (fuller bow and stern) so you don’t end up squirting on current lines unintentionally. All arounders include the Riot Booster series, Dagger GT series. Liquid Logic Lil’ Joe (of Trigger if you’re smaller) and maybe the Dagger Juice series (“river running play boat”) if you’re an aggressive learner.

Good luck. The “dark side” awaits you eagerly… :slight_smile: You will either enjoy the adrenaline and never look at flat water the same, or you will sell the boat after a year and stick with the long boat. (Personally, I don’t paddle the long boat these days, unless there’s no river to run and no surfing waves to ride.)



A good thing to do, particularly…
…this time of year is to join a club. A lot of

them, at least here in the states, are having swimming pool rolling sessions. This gives you

a chance to try a variety of boats.

You’ll also meet people who can help with the shuttles and know the local information.

And there is more than one kind of ww paddling. There’s play, creeking, and river running. Each

style has different requirements and different

types of boats.

There is also another chat board that is almost

exclusively WW. You might be able to find help

there too.

It’s a board very unlike this one however!

Pretty much a free-for-all.

also, most WW paddlers are snobs. They don’t

consider any other kind of paddling to be worthy.

I’m not like that. If it uses a paddle–restricting this conversation to water activities–it’s all good.

In All Camps…

– Last Updated: Jan-02-05 6:53 AM EST –

"also, most WW paddlers are snobs. They don't
consider any other kind of paddling to be worthy.

I'm not like that. If it uses a paddle--restricting this conversation to water activities--it's all good."

there are "snobs." I started my paddling from rec boating to seakayaking. So, most of the "snobs" I have had the opportunity to run into have been in the long boat category. On the contrary, most of the ww kayakers I have run into on the river have been generally a fun and generally laid back group. But, here in NE, there are only several clubs that are active and on limited rivers. The rivers become even more limited in the summer when the runs are generally from dam releases. I often run into folks who if I don't know by name, I recognize by faces and boats. Generally I have pretty easy going chats in the eddies. But with enough time on ww, I am sure I am going to run into the extreme end of the ww enthusiasts as well.

In terms of bulletin boards, I think is probably the most ecclectic, broad and encompassing of diversity of paddling venues. Nevertheless, if you read enough here, you'll find your occaisonal "snob" as well as "slob." :)


I meant snob not in terms…
what they paddle. As a group they are a very

welcoming bunch, it’s just that most of the ones

I know consider trouring to be an activity too

far beneath them for consideration.

grrr. post in haste, regret …
…at leisure.

What I meant to say was, “…not in terms of who they paddle with but in terms of what they paddle…”

Not my experience
Most whitewater kayakers I know will paddle anything that floats, anywhere, anytime, and will also go skiing with you, biking or whatever, most of the snobs I have met paddle $3000 seakayaks.

I Think It’s…
being addicted to the rush. You have a self selection going on. WW folks tend get caught into the moment to moment action/reaction type of paddling.

Racers are similar in a different way. It’s about getting into that cadence and covering distance fast. If you ever paddle with a racing addicted type, you almost always find yourself in a bit of a “race.” It’s like a unconscious thing for them to see how much distance, how fast.


Wait on the Dom
I have one and they are a lot of fun. But I would never recommend them as a first boat unless you are talented, agressive and enjoy dumping over. By all means go to pool sessions if there are some near you and learn to roll. Many groups also have river trips in the Spring for tune up and introducing new paddlers to the river. If you want an agressive boat that still runs rivers well consider the EZ series or a Disco. Both are available used for not a lot of $. A more detuned boat that is pretty good as a starter is the Inazone series. I personally don’t care for the Dagger boats that Sing recommends but you might like them. And you can’t go wrong with a Booster.

But Surf Kayakers…
It’s the stoke! It’s about trying for that perfect ride on the perfect wave… Since each wave is different, the perfect ride is elusive… But each ride is a joy. Surfers get as much thrill watching someone else getting a good ride as getting one him/herself. :slight_smile:


Almost all of the folks in my WW group also do sea kayaking. But the majority of sea kayakers I know have no interest in WW.

I have heard
whitewater boaters say “what’s the fun in paddling flat water?” In a whitewater boat, I’d have to agree. But they’re usually game for anything, if offered a suitible craft.

I’ve heard a lot more touring paddlers say “whitewater? I’d never want to try that!”.

It’s mostly an image problem – the media view of whitewater is all waterfalls and cartwheels, and touring is all glass-smooth water. In the real world there’s are levels where anyone can be comfortable and have fun.

Perception Blaze?
Anyone tried this series? Looks also to be in the all arounder category.


Well I certainly
didn’t intend for an argument to come out of this haha. I paddle a $3000+ sea kayak and the only thingk eeping me off the rivers is the lack of education about running rivers. I have met snobs on both sides of the fence. There are sea touring paddles, whom, somedays I would refuse to go on the water with…on the other side I have met ww paddlers the same way. HOWEVER, I found most of the paddlers from our club here in NFLD as supportive…a paddle is a paddle…I think I may always love sea touring moreso than ww kayaking…and if the environment is welcoming enough…then I will pursue ww paddling as well. I certainly was not aware that there were ‘regulations’ saying sea touring paddlers could not or should not take up a place on the river. Just a thought…I would have liked to have thought that all paddlers would be welcome of new paddlers regardless of their origins. Being a sea touring guide, I have had the opportunity to paddle with WW kayakers looking for their first exposure to sea touring. Most always showed a willingness to learn… I’d like to think its the same when a sea paddler attempts to learn the ways of the river. Anyway, take care all.

Thanks Dr Disco
Thanks…I have been surfing and playing in reefs for five years actively, and certainly do notmind taking a dump…I guess, armed with what I know, what I am looking for in a ww boat is similar to what i have in a sea kayak. A ‘lively’ boat, one that reacts well to paddling techniques…shows to have ‘enthusiasm’ A boat, that provides the paddler with many options to move it. Thanks again!! I’ll take a look at the recommendations you made.

agree with the doc
Actually based on Dr. Disco’s recommendation, I ended buying a Dominatrix as a playboat (second whitewater boat). I love the boat but I would also never recommend this boat to someone without a strong river roll and at least some level of skill in terms of edge control. It is a really slicey boat which makes it a lot of fun but if you’re trying to run a river with it and are not aware of the edges, you can potentially be stern squirting and flipping all over the place. Of course from your initial post I couldn’t figure out whether you wanted to run rivers or playboat to begin with but due to your inexperience with whitewater, I’m going to assume river running to begin with. I use a Dagger GT to run rivers and I think it’s a great boat. I also really like the Riot Booster series as several people mentioned as well as the Lil’ Joe by Liquid Logic, the Inazone series by Pyrhanna, the Jackson Fun series, and the Jive by Necky. Many people also like the Wavesport EZ series which leans more toward a playboat but is still a very capable river runner (I haven’t tried the EZ though).

As for sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking, I love both and luckily the groups on the river around here are pretty open minded to both types of paddling. Of course I think the so called “snob” perception of ww boaters partially comes from the fact that whitewater paddlers constantly work on skills and techniques to help them become better and safer paddlers. I think some look more unfavorably upon those recreational kayakers who try to run rapids that are way above their skill level in a pumpkin seed boat with no airbags, foam pillar, spray skirt, life jacket, etc. To be fair, most serious sea kayakers share the same frustrations and concerns about irresponsible kayak use. Beware of the dark side though. I was a sea kayaker who tried out whitewater and it completely changed my life. I now like sea kayaking and LOVE whitewater. I still do both regularly, but WW is the thing that consumes my daydreams at work.

Ooops… Sorry
If somehow managed to derail your thread into “snobbery” issues. As I tried to say, I think people are people and these types will be found on anyside of a fence.

I do think (as Schizopak mentioned), that white water (and surf) do attract certain folks who are more into the “rush.” I know I am a bit of adrenaline junkie. While I prefer the rush, I still do tour kayaking. It’s the same for me with downhill skiing. I love downhill while I like xcountry. I get more of a thrill bombing down dirt trails in my mountain bike while I enjoy tooling around in my road bike.

I didn’t mean to imply that one is better than the other but to simply acknowledge that, for some, one side does attract more than the other (because of personal inclinations). I think it’s interesting that white water always gets mentioned as the “dark side” though… :slight_smile: