Every whitewater kayaker begins to salivate upon mention of rain. Unlike in other sports, whitewater paddlers revere rain. It is the mechanism which revitalizes the whitewater boater’s playing field. Whatever level of emotion is induced as a result of rain, that doubles at the mention of flooding and flood stage conditions. Once again, where most in society would despise the results of flooding, the whitewater kayaker’s experienced is enhanced. Whitewater kayaking during flooding and flood stage conditions is truly a treasured experience for the white water kayaker.
Of course, paddling during and after flooding brings with it a whole slew of perilous and out of the ordinary scenarios. Whitewater kayakers and canoeists must therefore be on top of their paddling game in order to stay safe and ensure maximum enjoyment of the paddling conditions. It’s easy in the over-exuberance of the moment to forget or be lax about basic kayaking safety observances. This can be the difference between reminiscing in a diner after a great day of paddling or ending up in the hospital, or worse.
There are a number of things to watch out for when whitewater paddling, canoeing, kayaking, or rafting during flood-stage. Five of these such changes are debris in the water, changed river conditions, strainers, rising water levels, and of course stronger currents.
The next page of this article describes each of these dangers and what the person kayaking during flooding should do.