What are the best parts about Whitewater Kayaking

is it because of the scenic backgrounds, or the thrill of the kayak rushing along the water, or the etc.

seeing as I’m a canoeist, I’m not tellin’.

well it’s still close to kayaking, so i’d like your feedback. kayakers and canoers probably similar benefits

you hit upon a couple of the highlights- great scenery, thrills. Frequently it is challenging and thus can demand your full attention. WW tends to force you to live in the moment. You ain’t thinkin’ about the bills, housework, or other worries. I’ve made a lot of good friends paddlin’ ww and am part of a bigger paddlin’ community yet still in control of my own destiny- challenge by choice. The short answer: it’s fun!

well alrighty then…but I could write a novel on the “best” things. Scenery can be a beautiful thing, hitting calm stretches between the features. The features are beauty in themself, and knowing how to read the water makes this beauty more apparent. Sometimes the beauty comes at you as “sweeeet, what a beautiful line”, sometimes it’s “$%^&#*!! what the heck did I get into” either followed by a swim, or hopefully an upright passage. I love just watching the water, swirls, froth, flow, and understanding how the paddle and boat interact with it. My favorite runs are with a few folks, 3-5 ideal imo, though I really loved the runs with my son, just the two of us. Got some pix a pro photog sent to me, me and my son running a creek in NY state early morning bomb run before the slalom comp started on the cl 2 section. I’ve made some good friends along the way,eckilson on this board, we’ve had some fun and a few nutty times. After awhile, 19 years of 100-200 outings a year, I got out of it, started to lose the enjoyment dealing with too many new kayakers doing stupid kayaker tricks instead of learning to read the river and stfu. I got into canoe poling for about 8 years, love that, going upstream through cl.2 and occasional 3, playing chess with the river. 2 years off the water now, getting myself more fit, and trying new things, but looks like Tennessee is in my future, and well, they have too many beautiful runs for me and my 4 remaining canoes to ignore.
Summing it up, the whole package is beautiful…scenery, water, wildlife, the right friends, the physical senses, feeling the water on the blade, in your face…everything. Playboating can be great, finding a spot with several good features, calm water just below, and push the envelope in those features. We had a weeknight gathering going on for several years, no shuttle so show when you could. Dirt road a mile into the woods, real nice. I’d often bring 3 boats, the squirtboat (underwater kayak), a C1 gyramax and my Millbrook OC. All great boats, but after 20 minutes, I needed to get out, and stretch, and doing this allows that. Downside, the driving, shuttles (I was always the guy with the truck, and the racks, and got tired of the extra lap I nearly always had to take), and the wear and tear on the knees, which poling solved.

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My son and I were on a bridge one day, looking at our local run, flood stage, figuring out lines, and just enjoying the eddies and waves. A duck was on top of a rock, plopped into the river, ran that water, catching waves, edging along pillows and skirting eddies. It flew…back to the same rock, and repeated the run…and the a third time…that duck understood.


For me the satisfaction of whitewater paddling is multi-fold. Although I had paddled a number of easy to moderate whitewater rivers in Minnesota, I really started to get interested in whitewater paddling when I moved to Tennessee. My primary motivation was to be able to see and experience Appalachian mountain rivers and there was no other practical way to do that with most of them, other than to paddle them. The problem is that those beautiful Appalachian mountain rivers tended to have some nasty rapids on them and not all were easy or practical to portage.

As my experience grew I did find satisfaction in being able to run difficult rapids through proper execution of paddling technique. There is satisfaction in being able to apply a skill set to overcome obstacles. And of course, there is some thrill in attempting and running rapids that are at the limit of one’s ability. But the beauty of the rivers was always one of the main attractions for me. And I have found that tapping into a river’s energy and bopping downstream can be very relaxing.

As for kayaking versus canoeing, I started out paddling canoes and still rather prefer them because I feel there is more thought required. But I did start to paddle whitewater kayaks when I became interested in paddling more difficult rivers especially in cold weather. I first bought a kayak after multiple canoe runs on the Ocoee river. That was well before the selection of compact bilge pumps and compact batteries that we now have. I would run a rapid and empty the boat and repeat ad nauseum all the way down the river. It got old after a while. In a whitewater canoe you are usually always kneeling in some amount of cold water. It is much easier to stay warm in a decked boat and a decked boat allows you to blast right through big holes and waves rather than having to cheat them to keep the boat dry enough to remain controllable.

But on less difficult whitewater rivers in warmer temperatures I always preferred a canoe.

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I’m a canoer.

The things I always liked about paddling whitewater was that you saw a lot fewer people on whitewater rivers in the areas where I paddled, and the majority of them actually knew what they’re doing.

I hate the “river dorks” in rental canoes, and rafts; they don’t have the slightest idea what they’re doing, they are loud mouthed, and obnoxious drunks with boom boxes.
I no longer make any effort to assist in their rescue, and I refuse to pick up one piece of their trash.
Silently, I do NOT wish them well…



Not missing my roll…

The scenic stuff on the side is not your focus in bigger rapids rapids…

But it is a fast, physically aggressive paddle in real rapids and that can be a lot of fun. Not the same as flatwater, at all, in terms of response needed.

Coming up for air !!!

Seriously did you like to ride the roller coaster when you were a kid? Backwards while rolling around and underwater in the middle of rocks and foam? Most whitewater paddlers are adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers. Finding a line through the mess and coming out upright on the far end has it’s own rewarding pleasure that is difficult to explain until you’ve tried it . It’s a combination of meeting a challenge and using your own hard won skills, I think, that brings the satisfaction.

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