How to Turn a Whitewater Kayak Into a River Kayak

How to Turn a Whitewater Kayak Into a River Kayak
Whitewater kayaking is a very exciting sport. Using a whitewater kayak entails taking on rivers with flows that create rapids or whitewater turbulence. Using a whitewater kayak as a river kayak means trading off some functionality between the two paddling conditions. Every kayak is different and there is no boat that will work best for all paddling conditions. However there are some steps you can follow to aid in using your whitewater kayak's mechanisms as a river kayak.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Whitewater kayak
  • Paddles
  • Life jacket
  • Helmet
Step 1
Wear your helmet and life jacket.
Step 2
Carefully climb into the kayak one foot at a time. Make sure the paddles are inside before getting on.
Step 3
Familiarize yourself with your kayak. It may feel a little different to have a whitewater kayak on calmer and smoother waters. Test the kayak's balance by carefully rocking from side to side so you can get a feel for its stability.
Step 4
Grasp the paddle with both of your hands and start with slow and gentle paddle stroking techniques. You are now using your whitewater kayak as a recreational river kayak. Use the same paddling, bracing and steering techniques as you would on a whitewater river. However recreational river kayaking will be calmer, you will need to adjust your maneuvering strokes as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

Consider that whitewater kayaks are shorter than regular, recreational river kayak and because of this maneuvering should be easier around rocks and other obstacles.
You can easily turn a whitewater kayak into a river kayak simply by using it in the same manner. However, you should not do this in reverse. Do not attempt to use a river kayak as a whitewater kayak.
A whitewater kayak is superior in its mechanism as it is designed to be used primarily on rivers with fast flowing water and rapids. A recreational river kayak will be too long and you will have difficulty in quickly maneuvering around rocks.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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