How Do You Kayak in White Water Rapids?

June 27, 2022 3 min read

How do you kayak in white water raging rivers? First, know how to exit safely. Even if you're wearing a spray skirt, make sure you know how to let go of your kayak in an emergency situation. After all, you're not Michael Phelps, and you may not know what to do in a life-threatening situation. For shallow waters, you should lie on your back with your feet facing the flow of the water.

Keeping the Power Face Facing Exactly Perpendicular With the Current

Keeping the power face perpendicular to the current is essential when kayaking in white water rivers. When you exit a rapid, the angle of the boat should be at about 45 degrees, with the power face facing perpendicular to the current. The strength of the current and your boat's speed will determine the angle you should maintain at the exit. To maintain this angle, tilt your boat downstream and push with your upstream knee.

Another important tip for swimming in a river is to keep your head above the water. This will prevent you from floating into a strainer. When you're swimming, stay on your stomach and point downstream to swim out. Then, try to get to the middle of the river and reach shore before the strainer. Always remember: Never stand up in a fast-moving current!

Avoiding Rocks

Avoiding rocks when kayaking in white water river sections is essential if you want to survive the rapids. First, look well ahead of you to spot visible rocks. These rocks are easily missed unless you look upstream, but if the current is strong enough, they will push your kayak toward them. Avoid leaning away from them, as you'll end up with your upstream edge exposed to the current.

Another important feature to avoid when kayaking in white water rivers is hydraulics. A hydraulic is a rock that is steep enough to force water to pour over it. Kayakers may get stuck at the bottom of a hydraulic. If you get stuck in one, you may have to swim out of the river or risk falling in. These hazards can be deadly or extremely dangerous. In addition to rocks, river constrictions can create different types of waves.


While rolling in the rapids requires power and good technique, it's possible for anyone to do it. The key is to be aware of the conditions and be prepared to respond accordingly. This article will discuss some tips for beginners, and how you can improve your rolling skills. We've also included some videos that demonstrate some of the best techniques. Read on to learn how to improve your roll in white water rapids! We hope these tips will help you become a safer paddler on the water!

First, you'll want to learn how to properly identify a whitewater feature. A hole, also known as a hydraulic, is when water flows over an obstruction and back onto itself. A low head dam is one of the most dangerous hydraulics because the flow is pushed back toward the obstruction. This is particularly dangerous for beginners because of the sudden drop in gradient. The horizontal line on the whitewater graph shows the gradient of the river.


The first step in scouting a rapid is to make sure you have the right safety gear and throw bag. Having a waist throw bag makes it much easier to scout multiple rapids at once. Also, be sure to bring plenty of drinking water and tie up your raft properly. Many guides will ask that someone hold the raft for them while they scout. It is important to communicate with your crew, so they will know where and when to make their next move.

While scouting white water rapids, you should also consider the flow of the river and the presence of any obstructions. In particular, look for eddies and perches so you can determine the best way through a rapid. Also, consider whether or not there are any overhanging features that could prevent your raft from flipping. This way, you can plan accordingly. If possible, make a list of obstacles you will need to avoid when scouting in white water rapids.

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