Any advice for 1st time C1

going kayaking this coming weekend and it’ll be my first time trying any whitewater at all. I’ve got a small 10’kayak and spray skirt, all the normal padding inside and am very comfortable in this on flatwater and waves up to about 2-3 feet. Just wondering if anyone has any pointers for me?

Insufficient information.

Classically; OC1 refers to Open Canoe for 1 person. That’s the hull with the big hole on top facing upwards. A C1 is a decked canoe (looks kinda like a kayak), for 1 person, but the paddler kneels and uses a single bladed paddle.

My advice to any C1 paddler is buy some Alleve and lots of it.


Oh yeah
Don’t be afrain to swim

If you swim, dont make excuses. Get back in the boat and go.

Observe and learn all the time

Watch the paddler in front of you and learn from him even if he makes mistakes.

Don’t stop paddlin’. If in doubt…paddle harder.

If you are going to hit something and can’t stop or backpaddle… get ready and hit it head on.

Have fun.

in the world of white water a 10feet
long boat isn’t small…Sounds like some lessons might be a good idea for you.

Class I and mild II is the perfect place
for a novice to start honing their skills.

Especially if it is shallow water and there are a lot of rocks that have to be avoided.

A couple of pointers:

-Use your paddle as a rudder.

For instance: you have a rock sticking up in front of you and you want to go to the right of it.

Put the right hand paddle blade in the water behind you with the blade perpindicular to the water. You will turn to the right. If you want to turn sharper hold the blade farther out in the water away from the boat. If you see you are not turning quick enough then combine the ruddering with a left hand paddle sweep. A sweep is nothing more than a good hard paddle stroke on the side, (in this case the left side).

As soon as you pass by the rock and want to get back in the middle of the course, do a sweep with the blade that you have been ruddering with (the right hand one).

If you want a real sharp turn combine a forward sweep on one side with a backwards sweep on the opposite side. For instance if you want to make a ninty degree turn to the left:

Use a backwards sweep on the left combined with a forward sweep on the right.

As someone mentioned above: try some back paddling. Once you realize that you can back paddle faster than the river can carry you forward than you will be the master of the river, and using “reverse” will allow you time to set up for your turns.

If the river is a class I, it will be gentle,and you should be able to learn real quick.

Have fun,



first time down

– Last Updated: Oct-10-07 9:12 AM EST –

try following the "V" that the current forms between the rocks. This will be the smoothest line with turbulence on both sides.With time you'll learn to avoid the "v", at least on cl. 1 and 2, to enhance the excitement level.

thanks everyone, heading out on sunday. and yes I’m sorry for the mis information there, like I said I’m a flatwater paddler and havent’ been in any sort of river. I did mean Class 1 whitewater. As I have very few choices for whitewater rivers in my area, most likely I won’t gain a great deal of experience from my weekend trips to them as they will only happen a few times a year but I’m always looking for something new to try so I’m gonna giver a go. Again thanks!

take in the “big picture” first

– Last Updated: Oct-10-07 10:29 AM EST –

Try to first understand the where the majority of water is going, then pick and choose between the smaller features. In class I and II water, (especially at lower flows) you will want to stay in the main channel. After you figure out where the main channel is, then your can pick and choose your exact line. The main channel is where the majority of water is flowing.

Train yourself to observe and try to understand the macro picture before the micoro, and have fun!

Class 1
Class 1 is rarely described as “whitewater.” Your biggest water hazards on a class 1 river are “strainers” such as fallen trees and root balls, and low water bridges and dams. Do not get swept into them.

that’d be the “v” NM

– Last Updated: Oct-10-07 12:26 PM EST –

Okay, in response to Clarion. The V I'm talking about has the wide part of the letter upstream, tapering to the point downstream. If you were looking from an airplane, you'd see the V. If you see a straight up V while paddling, well then you're not on Cl.1 :-0

#1. If you’re not getting wet…
you’re not learning. #2. Start saving your money for the next boat. #3. Take all that safty stuff seriously. #4. If you got it, wear it. #5. Get ready to change some priorities in your life.

maybe, maybe not
Sure, to you. But, you know what kind of a V you are picturing in your mind. There are lots of Vs out there. And as you know, the ones that actually appear as a “V” are to be completely avoided.

c-1 paddlers
Also need to get knee replacements at an accelerated rate.

more terminology
I’m an old guy, so I know all the “classic” nomenclature and what is being discussed is traditionally known as “Upstream V” and “Downstream V”. This can get a bit confusing but remember, in an “Upstream V” the point of the V is upstream. In a “Downstream V” the point of the V is downstream. Upstream V’s are created by an obstacle and you don’t want to aim for it. Downstream V’s look like teepees and those are the ones you want.

Remember this little saying-

If you aim for an upstream v you’ll stay upstream. If you aim for a downstream v you’ll go on downstream.

Main thing to do is relax and think! Easy to say, right.


how about…

– Last Updated: Oct-10-07 7:15 PM EST –

Now I ain't no CWDH but

Downstream V's
like a teepee
makes first time whitewater
nice and easy

Upstream V
is when you goof
unless you're good
then it's called a "boof"

Upstream V
will take it's toll,
if you don't boof
you're in the hole

downstream V
good to start
upstream V
speeds up the heart

Cl.1 downstream V
you're like a duck
but if it's reversed
you'll just be stuck

awright enuf awreddy

As the Brits say