First ww paddle tomorrow

There’s a release on a river in PA and this will be my first ww experience. I know how to dress for winter sea kayaking conditions, but am sure I need to layer more heavily tomorrow. Weather’s high 30’s low 40’s; the water’s around 40 degrees.

I’m going with a good sized group, all (except one …my sea kayaking partner) are very experienced, some are instructors (though this is just a fun trip, not a working trip for them). They feel that this will be a fun day for me, though I’m a bit nervous (class is 2/3, and online descriptions I’ve found are a bit nerve-wracking).

Any advice to assure I don’t make this a working day for the instructors? I have a roll and brace on both sides, though not tested in ww.


There are just too many ways to have fun in the water!!

and become one with the river. You’ll be so stoked at the end of the day, that you’ll be sad that it’s over, no matter how tired you are. Take any advice you get from more experienced ww paddlers, and just do it. It’s really not that hard – it’s mostly attitude & technique.

And if you don’t capsize at least once, you’re not trying hard enough. You’ll learn just how good your roll really is.

I find WW to be a great skill builder for sea kayaking, and just plain fun!


I’ve read your posts over the years (here and on Connyak). Learning more about sea kayaking is one reason I’m learning ww. Another is that a friend gave me a van so I can actually get to a river outside of NYC limits without having to paddle there. Just got the racks on her today, so I’m ready!


Maybe a bit heavier
The activity level in whitewater is different than sea kayaking. Sea kayaking is pretty much a steady level of activity, while ww tends to mix periods of more intense activity with just kind of drifting.

You will be wetter, even if you don’t swim, just from the spray.

The flip side is you need a wider range of motion.

So, maybe a bit heavier layer than you would pick for sea kayaking.

ya better take some pictures…
we’re gonna wanna see what its all about back at the pier.


when sea kayaking I’m usually good with one heavy weight top and bottom, and if really cold then I add a vest under my dry suit. I’m thinking of putting a wool layer under the heavy fleece tomorrow. I don’t want to end up like the Michelin man (I’m close enough to his dimensions already). I hate being cold, but find it easy to cool off if over-dressed.


Not unless you send a pic
of your new surf kayak adventure!

You’ll do great!
Keep it simple and when in doubt "PADDLE, PADDLE, PADDLE, PADDLE!

Respect the river and the “online descriptions” but I think the rapids always sound worse when someone else is telling you about them. Even to this day.

Maybe ask the guides about dress. I had a tendency to over dress when changing at the put in because its so cold out. Then I would over heat once I began paddling.

Maybe try to pick a guide you trust and can communicate well with to be your paddling partner for the day. One or two people giving you a minimal amount of advice can be a lot better than ten people yelling confusing unrelated tips to you at the same time.

You will probably get a lot of good attention out there. In my opinion, watch, listen, follow and be agressive. On a Class II/III the guide types will probably let you follow only a few feet from their stern and not mind if you end up on their stern and in thier PFD with them (!). Trust me. They will probably enjoy giving you a hard time about it.

Nail your first roll. Your confidence will soar. Even if you have to try numerous times. The river roll feels a little different but if you can roll, you can river roll. If you just lose it, hang in there for a bow rescue, its a lot warmer than a winter swim. Even if you have to play Inna Gotta Devita on your hull, hang in there (you’re probably too young to know what that is?). Alas alac, if you do swim, don’t worry too much, every guide out there will want to be your knight in shinning rescue boat. And everyone I know has swam a Class II/III at some time or another. Just part of the sport.

The first time can be very exhilerating. Personally, I sea kayakes for almost a year, going up through the BCU. Then, my best friend/paddling partner and I decided to try white water so we went and paddled the New River Gorge in W.V. I remember each and every rapid, each and every stroke I made, each and stroke I SHOULD have made… the sound at each horizon line, it was the most beautiful place on earth, the most exhilerating experience I ever have had, that first time ww boating.

You’ll do great. Be agressive, have fun. I’m excited for you. Please post back and let us know how it went.


Ear plugs?..
…the worst part–for me–about getting flipped

in cold water is the cold water shock. I lock

solid and forget everything.

Ear plugs help a lot.

It must be pointed out that I’m a REAL woose

about cold.

Give me triple-digit heat anytime.

Towhicon Creek?
I used to live very near there.

Thanks sternsquirt…
that’s really great advice and got me into a more ‘go for it’ frame of mind.

Ear plugs? I’m not sure if I like this idea. I think I’d rather hear what’s going on around me (HEY YOU, get your kayak out of my PFD?). I rolled last weekend with no ill effects. I put my face in the water for about 10 seconds beforehand and had no problems. Of course the air temp was quite warm, though the water was 39 degrees.

Do other ww kayakers use ear plugs?


Yes, that’s it
Did you paddle there much?

Class 2/3 on your first ww trip?
You got hudzpah. Just stick with someone who knows the run well. It’s a GREAT help to have an idea of what’s coming up.

Have fun!

Seeing you’re from Manhattan, I’m guessing you’re paddling the Tohicon tomorrow.

Which section are you paddling? the upper is cl 1-2, the lower is cl 3.

If you’re doing the cl 3 section, and this is your first WW, I suspect you may be doing some fish counts. :wink:

The Toe is a fun river. I’ll be there tomorrow. It will be the maiden voyage for my new canoe (an Ocoee), so I may be doing a little fish counting myself.

I’m excited for you…
I’ll be doing the same thing at some point this year… most likely in an area here in MD known as the “Needles” on the Potomac.

Would love to hear your report of your first time in the WW…

Good luck, I’m sure you will do GREAT…


If we count fish together
I’ll get you up if you get me up!

I don’t know the river. The folk I’m paddling with know it well, but I didn’t ask where we’d be putting in. They assured me that we’ll be following them down the hairy parts so I know where to aim, but yes, I definitely expect to get very wet (on the outside anyway).


More Tohicon
I’ve paddled the Toe many times. It has a lot of fun play spots, and just about all the rapids are pretty forgiving- no serious consequences if you screw up, and most have a pool below if you have a yard sale.

IMO, the cl 3 section is a bit much for a WW first timer, but if you’re with folks that are experienced and know the river, you’ll do OK.

Are you paddling with KCCNY, by any chance?

No, but
I think the people I am going with are involved with that club in one way or another. Lyn

Stay focused . . .
Stay in the moment. Speaking as a sea kayaker who dabbles in whitewater, I can say that when I hit a rock (or worse) in whitewater its almost always the case that I did so because instead of giving full focus to the stretch of river in front of me I was either congratulating myself in how I handled the previous stretch or kicking myself for how I handled the previous stretch.

Read the river. See you line. Go there. Be there! Have fun!

you haven’t finished the rapid until you’re safely in an eddy. Many people get almost to the end of a rapid then think “yipee, I made it” and stop focusing on paddling. This can lead to swims for a lot of beginners so remember to stay focused and keep paddling.