Whitewater canoeing

Just suppose I lose my mind and decide to try WW canoeing.

That would require a boat,drysuit,helmet,and paddle. That would be about $2K , correct?

I don’t kneel in my flatwater canoes;is a pedestal going to kill me?

Do you roll WW canoes?

well if you want to spend that much…
go ahead.


Used boats can be found for cheap.

You only need a drysuit if you’re going to be in cold water.

If you already have an old paddle that you don’t mind bashing on rocks, just use that.

come on, admit it String
It’s Daggermat’s pictures, isn’t it?

My advice, don’t get a highly rockered dedicated WW solo until you get your single blade technique a little more sorted out.

You’re a big boy, a Supernova would be a great boat to get started in. At 3" of symetrical rocker, it’s no slouch at turning.

come on, admit it String
It’s Daggermat’s pictures, isn’t it?

My advice, don’t get a highly rockered dedicated WW solo until you get your single blade technique a little more sorted out.

You’re a big boy, a Supernova would be a great boat to get started in. At 3" of symetrical rocker, it’s no slouch at turning, and it’s not too hard to go straight in it either.

I know a lot of people who are WW
paddlers. The chatooga is at our doorstep. just thinking here.

Boat, Pfd, Helmet, Paddle, Pants
With apologies to the Bares.

I started paddling class II whitewater in a Mad River Explorer. Any similar boat that turns easily will do at least to start. Royalex or Poly are a little tougher. Composites are easier to fix.

In addition to the list in the title I soon added a farmer john wetsuit and an inexpensive dry top. In New England the best water is in early spring when the water is c-c-c-COLD!

Whitewater helmets are designed to protect you from multiple hits. I know quite a few canoers who don’t wear them at all in class II and under. Many clubs and outfitters require them on anything.

Bycycle helmets are designed for a single hit and should be discarded after that happens. I have used and will again use a bycycle helmet on class II and under when I don’t expect to be rolling. IMO a bycycle helmet is better than no helmet.

Straight blade T gripped paddles are commonly used. Some folks use bent shafts. I have used my Zav whitewater on Class II and was quite happy except that I beat the crap out of the tip :frowning:

Whitewater, flatwater, what ever, I always wear pants and prefer that my partners do too.

That’s why they call me,

Textile Tommy

Oh yeah some open boaters roll. Many do not.

last 2 boats under $300
for the 2 of them. Put an adv. on the local message board, buy whatever you find for cheap, learn it’s characteristics, look forward to swimming for awhile. I won’t pay over $300 for a boat, but don’t mind patching, outfitting,or paddling something not up to anothers standards.

Best place to learn is a good park and play spot. A lot of my photos are at Satans Kingdom, where Aaron and I spend hours, sometimes with Erik Eckilson making the drive to join us. I’ve found that the 2 spots here, one a 50 yard section and the other a single hole, have taught me more about ww paddling than all the downriver runs I used to do. Now the downriver runs that used to take 2 hours take 4 hours, as we like to examine every rock, drop and hole.

Real happy with the AB Edge paddles, around $75 retail, tough as nails, t-grip a must. Helmets and gloves a must, drysuit is real nice. I wear mine nearly year round, more for abrasion protection than temperature when it’s warm, at least in the cl. 3 or teeny bit of 4 I do.

The need for floatation bags has been inferred in some of the replies here, and they aren’t really needed for Class II (usually), but for bigger or tougher water, float bags will make it easier and more likely to recover the boat unharmed when you swim.


spare paddle, throw bag,

I’m actually more likely to flip my OC-1
while playing Walter Mitty, Olympic Slalom Racer, than I am when running harder rapids, so installing some float bags is one of the first things I do. That said, in my old age I can recall flipping my open boat only once in its 10 years of life. Near-swamping is another matter, but one of the chicken-hearted satisfactions of open boating has been learning how to run certain rapids dry that are filling other boats too near swamping.

rolling another issue
I don’t roll, my son is planning on learning, and we will try it together this year I’m sure. What I’ve gathered is that I’d need toe pegs, and with a 34" inseam and size 12 feet connected by 48 year old abused knees, I may prefer my present flat footed set up. The other excuse I use to not roll is that most of the flips I have are in shallow rock infested water, where any time spent upside down is rapidly increasing the chance of shoulder or head damage. I don’t mind getting thrown out and have plenty of experience with finding the nearest rock to climb back in the canoe.:wink: The yakkers I paddle with avoid my playspot due to the carnage they’ve incurred trying to snap a roll.

The bags are for the boat
If the boat broaches in class two and fills with water, it can easily wrap. I’ve seen three wraps in the last 2 years on class II. The bags will keep the boat on top of the water and vastly decrease the chance of wrapping. Bags are a real good idea.

Bags also make your boat easier to rescue, and if you happen to still be in your boat when it fills up with water, bags displace some of the water, making it more feasible (but not easy) to paddle the boat out of trouble.

Bags good.


yup, bags a must
Swamping yields a looong recovery period. If my Encore throws me out, not an unusual occurance, I am able to right the boat one handed and get back in at the nearest rock. Making a capsize be no big deal allows the fear factor to dissipate and the learning/fun curve to increase more “rapid” ly.

Can’t stress a good park and play spot enough either.

Yes, it is safer to wear a helmet. However, it is not so critical if you are not going to be rolling, because you will tend to come out of the canoe with your head up, and you don’t go floating down a river upside down, like a kayaker, unless you roll your canoe.

I have and frequently wear a helmet, especially if I am standing up and poling.

One of the few injuries I have suffered while canoeing could have been prevented if I’d just remembered to put on my helmet. I dumped in a class III rapid and was floating along behind my canoe, painter in one hand paddle in the other, feet up, pretty much by the book. The canoe went into a hole and stuck, churning around and hitting me in the noggin when the current took me into the hole. I tried to duck, but the pfd prevented that and the boat wacked me on the thin part of my scalp, opening a non-severe but bloody gash. I was irritated with myself because I took the helmet off to scout the rapid and just forgot to put it back on.

I have not been able to master the skill of rolling the canoe.


Try it - you’ll like it
Take a class, or hook up with your friends for an easy run. If you decide you like it, a used boat is definitely the way to go. The rest of the gear isn’t that expensive.

I haven’t mastered the canoe roll either, but its fun to try. Practicing has definitely improved my low brace which has probably kept me upright in some situations that might have flipped me otherwise. At this point, if I’m going over to my paddle side, I might have a chance. If I flip to my off side though, I’m taking a swim.

Good luck.

Most whitewater canoesters kneel. Boat tilt is critical when crossing from fastmoving to slow moving current. It’s much easier to maintain boat tilt from your knees than from a seated position. Even easier from a pedestal with thigh straps.

If your knees won’t let you kneel you might consider a kayak, standing with a long paddle, or setting up your boat with a foot bar and thigh straps like they use on whitewater sit on tops so that you have good contact while seated.

Mild WW is fun and no special…
equipment needed.

Class I and mild II will teach a person canoe skills real quick.

A royalex or plastic boat is all you need.

If you are thinking of the Nantahala then you need a helmet and air bags.

The New River in West Jefferson and parts of the French Broad are prime examples of mild WW and novices paddle them every day in the warmer weather.



I got what you need string
I have an old mohawk scamp I think its an 88 model,solo ,14’,and a perception saddle.cant remember the rocker,but you dont want to paddle it on the flats for long distances.Was wanting to get up that way and paddle Jocassee with ya’ll again, but at the moment it’s not looking good. I am off may 3 and thinking abnout driving up and doing the race on the edisto.


Hi Jeremy
What boat are you thinking of racing?

If you decide to race, get up with us prior to the start.

There is one short cut that is legal, and it cuts a good amount off the course.

It took us a lot of years to find it, since it is only wide enough for one boat at a time, and it makes a 90 degree left bend just when the main river is about to turn.

Will we see you at Hooch ?



my pygmy coho
thinking of driving up on Thursday and camping and paddling friday and leaving on Sunday morning.maybe you or String can tell me where to camp at. As for the race I mainly just want to getaway far a few days and this fits in to my calander.How many diff. classes do they have?