Class 1 - Class 3 in a Swifty

I am thinking about Yaking the Red River in Tn. It is listed as Class I - Class III and good for beginners. I am thinking about taking my Swifty 9.5 out on it. Any suggestions or comments?

I did some class 1s in my Acadia, and
a class 2 at low water, and it did fine. A real class 3 does not sound like a good idea at all in a Swifty. You can’t turn , brace , and roll in one from what I can see.

hmmm, maybe I should rent a WW boat once I get there.

Hmmmn… Mabey a Kayaking class
would be in order before you attempt anything class II or above . Esp. in a boat that is not made to handle rough water. An exp. paddler can get away with fast water in boats that aren’t specific to that class but a “newbie” is taking a risk …not only with your wellbeing but also your boat …so take it slow…!

Better Yet…
Take at least one lesson in white water boat with a ww boat and then see whether you want to run a swifty down class I-III.


(who has enough of challenge on a class III with a white water boat.)

Can you portage the class III? If not, forget it. Are you paddling alone? That is never a good idea and is especially bad for a beginner on an unfamiliar river. If you intend to do this I definitely recommend you go with an experienced paddler who is capable of helping you out and has the proper safety and rescue equipment. Be sure that person has at least a spare paddle, throw rope, knife, and first aid kit. Can you scout a rapids? Can you put float bags in your Swifty? Do you have a skirt? I could go on but you get the idea. Heed the advice of those above.

Thanks for all of the advice guys. I am actually looking at taking a couple of classes in early August. I really want to work on the certifications as I progress in the sport. I can’t explain how perfect kayaking is for me as a recreational sport. I am really glad I found this website. You guys have helped me with everything from picking out my first yak to locations for me to hit with my boat. Thanks again, this is a great community!!

Real Class III Is Big
A real class II is pretty big. I usualy see rec boats get filled with water in the big cockpit in anything over class II.

Funny You Mentioned That…
I read from folks here who say they can go through a class III with a rec boat with no problems. Now, I don’t think I am an expert or even an “advanced” paddler but I ain’t a novice either. I still get my butt flipped more often than not trying to get through Zoar Gap – a class III drop – in a white water boat. And, all of the (few) rec boats that I 've seen tried get flipped. The difference is that folks in white boats roll up whereas the rec paddlers try to swim, get thrashed and need a rescue from the white water boaters… :slight_smile:


I’ll hold the rope and camera…
You may want to think twice for much of what was listed above…

The Swifty is the same as a Keowee
I have taken my Keowee down the Nantahala River on numerous occasions. It is a class I-II-III River.

There are other rivers where I have done class III rapids, while still others after scouting I opted not to.

Make sure you have a decent skirt, and make sure you have a helmet.

Scout all the rapids, and don’t do what you can’t scout.

If you are not comfortable out of your boat and swimming than forget all that I say above and don’t do any WW.

Cheers, and stay happy!


TN “Red River” with class III? No.
I don’t know of any Tennessee river by that name, and I’m sure I would have heard of it if it had any amount of class 3.

… on a lot of things. Rivers with ratings of “1-3” may be mostly class 1, except for one or two rapids (which may or may not be carried around). Or it might be class1 at low water, class 3 at higher levels.

At the very least, you should research the river so you know exactly what the situation is.

I looked on the AW page, but they don’t list a Red River in Tennessee.

If it is an honest class 3, then it is no place for a novice in a rec kayak.

Look before you leap!.
I found info on the Red River in Tennessee when I was combining canoe time with a business trip. Ended up on the Harpeth River instead, but there is indeed a Red River.

I’ve done Class I-II in a Swifty. Had a blast. A skirt is very, very useful!

red river
There is indeed a Red River in Tennessee near Clarksville. However it isn’t close to a class 3 river. A book I have says, “The level of difficulty for both forks [of the Red River] is Class 1 or higher, with enough ripples, sandbars, and shallows to ensure an active trip.”

In other words, have fun in your swifty. You may want to check the flows first. The books indicates that it is runnable November-early June.

An experienced paddler with good judgement who knows how to read whitewater can have a fine, safe time on a class 1-3 with a Swifty. A novice who’s new to whitewater should probably avoid class 3 water in any boat short of a guided raft.

If there are only a couple of class 3 drops, walk around them and enjoy the rest of the ride.

I agree …

– Last Updated: Jul-21-04 9:39 AM EST –

I agree with OC1. If you are going to do honest class 3 whitewater, if you are a novice, and if you plan on using a Swify; you are asking for trouble.
Whatever boat you use for class 3 whitewater will not be sufficient if the paddler doesn't have the skills to use it correctly. Get some instruction, have a good pfd and helmet, have flotation for your boat, scout class 3 rapids, and don't paddle class 3 alone!
Be prepared for natural consequences if advice you've received is ignored.


Of Course, If One Is Prepared…
for this… Go for it!!! :smiley:


Or this…

At least there is a big pool at the bottom! :-0

I reiterate that if there were a Red
River in Tennessee with any class 3 rapids, I would have heard of it. It doesn’t depend on flow, there is no Red River in TN with even isolated class 3 rapids on it.