The last week or so I've been focused on the risks and hazards of whitewater kayaking. The point of this highlight was not to scare anyone, but rather to help instill a healthy fear, no, respect for the natural resource that we have come to cherish. Whitewater is an amazingly violent, yet elegant miracle that has shaped the sport of whitewater paddling. It is to be studied and respected. To that end, here are a series of articles on the hazards and risks inherent in whitewater kayaking. Be safe!
When people are scared to whitewater kayak, its the big things that they fear. People don't want to drown or be hypothermic. It won't take long before they realize that shoulder injuries are common and they'll be leary of those. But, very rarely do would-be whitewater paddlers realize that broken bones and twisted ankles are also a real possibility. As a matter of fact, they are probably far more likely than drowning or hypothermia are.
- Read More: Unexpected Injuries in Whitewater Paddling
While there are lots of things that can go wrong when whitewater kayaking, there are a few main categories by which they will ultimately end up in. The main health risks that can occur when paddling whitewater are drowning, hypothermia, and shoulder injuries. All kayaking mishaps can lead to drowning. Many of them can lead to hypothermia. Yet, no one thinks a shoulder injury will happen to them. Be sure learn all about how and when these unfortunate events happen and what you can do to prevent them. Happy paddling!
Strainers and undercut rocks are very scary obstacles in whitewater rivers. Most of the the time kayakers unexpectedly come up on them. Often, boaters underestimate the power of the river around strainers and undercuts and they end up inadvertantly getting swept into them. Here's how to deal with strainers and undercuts.
Of all the threats and risks that keep people from whitewater kayaking, pinning is one of the most overlooked. Pinning occurs when the kayak is pushed on one side by the current and is pressed up against an obstacle such that the kayak is stuck in that position. Kayaks can get vertically pinned, as in when they come over drops and ledges. They can also get pinned sideways when trying to turn by an obstacle.This is a very real threat and something that beginners are routinely at risk of happening to them.
When people are afraid to whitewater kayak, its generally because they think, rather, they know that they will flip. But, its not necessarily the flipping that scares people. Its what happens after that, namely the potential for drowning. Virtually all whitewater kayaking risks and dangers can lead to drowning. Therefore, before anyone gets into whitewater kayaking they should first be fully apprised of not only the risks of drowning but how to prevent drowning in the first place.
Waves and holes are some of the most fun river features encounter in whitewater kayaking. The surging swells, the tossing about, and the power of the water are all part of the allure of braving the rapids. Holes however are some of the most dangerous and feared whitewater features around for the damage they can do in an instant. Its therefore imperative that you learn how to survive whitewater holes before you intentionally go into one. Otherwise, you just might get the opportunity to know what it feels like to be inside of a washer machine.
Eddies are a whitewater kayaker's best friend. They can, however, quickly turn into a paddler's worst nightmare. The same goes for eddy lines and whirlpools. While they might be fun to do stern squirts and mystery moves in, they can also really complicate things when just trying to survive a day out on the river. Learn all about how to deal with and survive eddies, eddy lines, and whirlpools.
There's a lot to consider in purchasing your first kayak or standup paddleboard. There are sit-on-top kayaks, plastic paddleboards, kayak-sup hybrids, and even modular kayaks and SUPs. Here's a guide to buying your first recreational kayak or SUP to help you make this awesome life changing decision.
When sit-on-top kayaks first hit the market they were a great way to get beginners out on the water. The rental market absolutely loved them, especially in vacation, beach, and resort towns. But, at some point amid the popularity of kayaking sit-on-top kayaks broke free of the stigma of being for beginners and became a real kayaking option even among seasoned paddlers.