What is Whitewater Kayaking?

Whitewater kayaking is a watersport that involves paddling a kayak on moving water that is whitewater. This sport can be started and enjoyed by anyone.

Whitewater kayaking can be on active moving water to demanding or extreme whitewater.

what is whitewater kayaking, types of whitewater kayaks

What is actually whitewater and how it is formed?.

Whitewater applies to any river or creek that has a significant number of rapids. A rapid is a section of a river where the river bed has a relatively steep gradient, therefore causing an increase in the water velocity and turbulence.

Some characteristics of a rapid are when the river becomes shallow with rocks exposed above the flow surface. As the flowing water splashes over and around the rocks, air bubbles become mixed in with the water and portions of the surface acquire color that is frothy water.

The colored water is what is termed whitewater in kayaking and canoeing.

Not all rivers have rapids that can aid you in whitewater kayaking. Some rivers are flat. Even though you can kayak in them, kayaking in whitewater with rapids is even more adrenaline charging.

Rapids occur when the bed material is highly resistant to the erosive power of the stream in comparison with the bed downstream of the rapids.

Rapids are categorized in classes. They are graded from I to VI. The grading is ranging from mild flowing whitewater to extreme whitewater.

The Class I rapids are easy to navigate and require little maneuvering. While the class VI rapids pose threat to life with little or no chance for rescue.

River rafting sports are carried out where many rapids are present in the course.

Types of Whitewater Kayaks

There are different types of whitewater kayaks designed for the type of river rapid you will be paddling. Whitewater kayaks are of different types depending on the class of the river rapid.

If you are not sure of which is which, here are the types of whitewater kayaks for the different river classes. Choose a kayak that is designed for the type of paddling you intend to do.

  1. Playboats

Playboats lengths range from about 8.5 to 9.5 feet long. They have a flatter design and are narrow at the ends. This makes carving with them easier.

Playboats are good at maneuvering and playing with. These whitewater kayaks are great at run rivers.

2. Downriver Boats

These are good for beginners because the track well and are generally stable. Their lengths range from about 8.5 to 10 feet. They do well on big rivers and on rivers with holes that you would rather punch through than end up in.

3. Rodeo Boats

The rodeo boats are probably the shortened and lower-volume version of playboats. These have length ranges from about 7 to 8 feet long.

Rodeo boat designed to stay in holes and get vertical. Generally, rodeo boats have low volume bow and stem, but they compensate for this loss by adding some volume around the cockpit.

This makes the rodeos to easily move by letting the ends slice through the water easily and keeping the kayaker above the water.

Most rodeo boats now have flat bottoms that give a lift to the boat on waves and in holes, allowing the boater to spin in place while on a wave. These whitewater kayak types are not suitable for downriver kayaking.

4. Creek boats

The creek boats are about the same length as playboats. Their lengths range from about 8 to 9 feet. However, they have extra volume than the playboats.

The rocker is more extreme than you’ll find in a typical playboat, enabling the creek boat to turn very quickly. This feature does, however, make a creek boat more tippy.

The bow and stern are rounded and have lots of volume to keep the boat from pinning between rocks in steep drops.

Creek boats are beginner-friendly because the length makes the boat track well and the rocker makes the boat turn quickly.

Final Words

whitewater kayaking is an amazing sport. Flatwater kayaking is an easy sport to get into, but if you think you are ready for the next step of the adrenaline-fuelled world of whitewater paddling, you are welcome and would enjoy it.

When it comes to which whitewater kayak type you will use, it will be about what type of rapids you intend to use your kayak.

Each characteristic of a kayak sacrifices another. There is no perfect, “do everything” boat. Look at the type of paddling that you plan to do and get an idea of the characteristics of the boat that will best suit your needs.

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