Whitewater Kayaking for Beginner

I have been kayaking on and off for the past ten years but have restricted myself primarily to flat water and sea kayaking. I am now living in Colorado right now and flat water tends to be quite a drive, however, whitewater is in abundance. I currently own a Necky Manitou and have predominantly used this type of kayak for the past four years. I have never tried whitewater kayaying and would like some advice on my first whitewater kayak. I’m about 5’4" and 110lbs and need something that would be both comfortable but also easily carried. Any suggestions.

Where in col do you live? If I was…
…you, I’d look up coloradokayak.com and see

if they can help you.

Or go to www.wildnet.com the US’s Prijon dealers

in the US, located in Boulder(?).

Get a used boat. if youy have to buy, get a used one.

What part of Colorado?
Best thing to do is to take an introduction to whitewater class so you can get a feel for what you want the boat to do and try out some boats. Do you already know hot to roll? There are playboats, downriver boats, creekers etc, so you kind of want to define what rivers/creeks you will be paddling and whether you want to surf at waves and play in holes or just run rivers or do more intense stuff. If you post where you are I think people can suggest spots to take classes. also check out www.boatertalk.com.

Colorado Springs
I am located in Colorado Springs and really don’t want to travel more than a couple of hours to a location, otherwise it becomes an entire weekend trip and I haven’t quite been able to get my husband onboard with whitewater kayaking, he is still mastering flat water. Once he becomes more conmfortable with flat water or gains an interest in whitewater I would be interested in locations throughout Colorado and perhaps Utah.


Arkansas River ???
I would expect you are looking for a used playboat or river runner. Good news is there a lots of cheap used boats in Colorado. Lots of choices for a lighter weight paddler. I’ll let the whitewater experts here give you some help.

I used to live near Boulder and I’m better acquainted with Northern part of the state except for Gunnison River and Colorado River. I was into canoeing when I lived there. I do know there are some great fun whitewater spots near Salida and Buena Vista. I don’t know anyone who teaches classes there but I would expect there is an outfitter in Pueblo or the Springs who does. There are four or five folks from Colorado that post regularly. They are mostly flat water paddlers though but they probably know whitewater paddlers. If you don’t get any responses put “Colorado” in the title along with whitewater and I’ll bet you get some good help.

Second The Intro Lesson(s)

– Last Updated: Jun-21-06 4:42 AM EST –

If you're just starting. I second seadart's suggestion to take a lesson or two with an outfitter. It's more fun to have someone to show you the fundamentals of river reading, boat control and maneuvering in river currents when starting out. It's also a chance to try different boats.

Plenty of ww boats show up regularly that will fit you. I think a there is an active www forum/gearswap board specific to CO.


Good luck, ww can be fun stuff. :)


Lots of WW lessons available
Unlike sea kayaking, there is quite a market here for WW boats and lessons.

I third the “take a lesson” advice. Not only will you be introduced to WW in a controlled fashion, you might be hooked up with some used boats to check.

Two years ago I took an intro WW class in which all the boats used in class were for sale. This class only cost $89 through REI and included an evening pool class, followed by a full day outdoors (half on a tiny pond, half in Clear Creek WW Park). Use of all gear was included.

If you want to check the 'net, look up Colorado Whitewater Association, among others. There seem to be more than a few WW clubs out there.

WW Classes for Flat Water Paddlers
Think anout doing a class together.

WW classes for flat water paddlers would be very wise. Every instructor should be teach the moves, skills and technique that can be used anywhere.

If a student is not comfortable running a set of rapids, portage SHOULD be the solution.

Husband: your flat water paddling skills will increase with any white water class. You can choose to run white water when you feel ready. If you never run rapids, the skills will still be good to have on flat water.