river speed?

JackL and Nanci can’t read this. They whooped me again! I need help.

Is there a simple rule of thumb on river speed? In other words when do I stay on the outside of the river and ride the current, and when do I cut “the

the corners” and straighten out the line?

I did the lumber river yesterday and would hit “deadwater” on the inside curves. I would see

the GPS drop or jump as I wandered closer to the inside curve or the center of the channel. What is better? a shorter line or or a faster line.

WW is not about speed
Except for slalom. Bombing down the river misses the point. Paddling rivers is about enjoying the rapids and enduring the flats. Unless it is not WW.

Except for downriver, you mean, Disco.
Slalom boats are not for “bombing down the river,” but for negotiating a string of features and stations in rapids as quickly as possible, using methods similar to those one would use in any whitewater craft.


– Last Updated: Sep-21-08 10:09 PM EST –

Sorry :
they did not have a title saying river technique.
I normally paddle on impounded water so I am completely at loss on a moving river. Most of the people I know who do white water do it hit and switch and try to get to the finish line as fast as possible. I want to know how best to read the river to get to the finish line before JackL&Nanci.

water speed
Well, the water moves faster on the outside of curves, but on most rivers I would think the racing line would be somewhat to the inside of the fastest water line, due to shorter difference covered and less abrupt maneuvering.

It’s going to be highly individual depending ont he river, however.

What is your average paddling speed, net of the current? Let’s say it’s 10 MPH, and you’re on a river with a top current speed of 4 MPH (fairly brisk non-whitewater). Now let’s compare 3 lines - the outside curve; the inside flat; and a rounded path between the two, but rather closer to the outside curve. River current speed on these three lines will be something like this: 4 MPH outside, 0 MPH (dead) inside and 3 MPH on the rounded line.

So, if you add boat speed to river speed on each line, you’ll get the ratios of equivalent distances: 14 MPH on the outside bend and 10 MPH on the inside shortcut. Thus, if the outside bend is more than 40% further in distance (14/10), you’re better off going with the inside shortcut.

In my experience, the rounded outside path seems to be the fastest overall. Now, that’s in a slower boat than you have - my Wildfire travels at about 3-4 MPH, so I’m looking at 7.5 MPH on the outside bend versus 3.5 inside and about 6.5 on the rounded path. When the river makes a 180-degree turn I cut across the slack water, otherwise staying toward the outside seems to pay off.

Another factor, which also favors the compromise rounded path, is loss of momentum from abrupt turning. Any turn or deviation from current direction loses momentum. Again, this is probably more important in my slower boat than in your faster one, but I’d think the general principle still applies.

Highly Variable, No Clear Rule to Follow

– Last Updated: Sep-21-08 11:48 PM EST –

I know from experience that sometimes it's fastest to cut the curve as short as possible to reduce the distance traveled. Other times, this will do one of two things, both of which are bad if you want to maintain speed. First, there is normally a point bar on the inside bend, and thus shallow water. Being a racer, you know what "suck water" is, so shallows are best avoided unless you are only there for a short time. The second thing that can happen if you cut even a little bit too short is that you wind up on the eddyline (which is actually a very broad band on most river curves), and when that happens, you'll end up powering the boat through a very "sharp turn" just to maintain your straight-line heading. You'll need to put all your effort into a turning type of motion, and the boat will "act" as if it is in a sharp turn (and compared to the actual current direction beneath ALL parts of the boat, the boat IS turning) even though you are going straight. This is just the result of the paddlers resisting the river's efforts to spin the boat completely around. As happens during any really sharp turn (remember, the boat is turning "relative to the water" even if it is not turning "relative to the earth"), your speed will drop waaaay down in the process.

The bottom line is that you'll have to play it by ear on every curve of the river. If there's any "rule" that might work most of the time, it would be the one proposed by Memphis, where you cut the curve just enough to shorten your route a bit, but not so much that the boat runs through extreme shallows, slack water, or within too strong of an eddyline to let you maintain good forward speed.

Simple answer Charlie
Never stop to pee !

Second simple answer is cut every single tangent.

Even kiss the bushes and snags as you come to the curve point, (assuming there is no “suckwater”), and then go with the current toward the middle of the river, but be ever so careful to watch for the swirling water back toward the eddy.

Yesterday with the strong current it was a stern paddlers day doing many sweeps for the five plus hours.



saw the post. Now he will know I am trying how to beat him again.(after three years of being whooped

on By JackL and Nanci )