A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Your First Whitewater Kayak

whitewater kayaking

Last updated on September 2, 2022

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Do you want to kayak in whitewater? It is enjoyable and a broad game. Besides, it is a very risky game. Because it is not easy to be keen on kayaking with water streams. However, if you are an expert, you can easily do this. But beginners cannot quickly adapt to it.

Moreover, there are many types of styles in kayaking. However, if you want to start a new kayak, you have to learn a lot. Because whitewater kayaking is very challenging and risky. That’s why this article is best for beginners.

In short, this article will help you to get your first whitewater kayak. So, let’s get started on our journey.

What is Kayak

A kayak is a kind of light boat. It has a taper attached at both ends. However, it propels through a single, double-blade paddle. It keeps moving as the foot rotates on this paddle.

Moreover, It is a traditional boat using for kayaking. However, it is made of plastic or fiberglass. People do kayaking for entertainment purposes.

Types of Kayaks

There are three different types of kayaks. You must know these three categories. After that, you can easily detect that which is good for you. So, let’s see the type of kayak.

River Runners

It tends to be a little longer than other boats. To clarify, it is longer than those used for kayaking. However, River runner is very suitable for comfortable travel downtown. It is also very easy to control. Whatever you give here will take it quickly. Moreover, it is much better than other kayaks. Because it manages well in high-volume rivers.


These boats are designed to be a fast-flowing stream. However, these are usually strong enough for rocky rivers. Besides, Creekers’ boats are very stable and undulating. Creeker boats also handle vertical drops well. Moreover, this kayak is designed for long racing. Above all, these are suitable for running the most challenging rapids.


Playboats are the opposite of crackers. However, its design is very sharp and makes rapids harder. It also allows you to run rapids or surf waves in the long river run. Besides, playboats come in two different styles. Styles are Competition styles and Slice styles.

What is Whitewater

White water is the part of the river that is too narrow to produce very fast, steep, and rapid. Usually, these can be rapidly formed around small rocks. White water has five different classes.

  • Class 1 continues at a slower pace. There is less water here.
  • Class 2 is very small and shorter rapid.
  • Class 3 is very big. And its rapid is more sustained.
  • Class 4 is very difficult and challenging for kayaking.
  • Class 5 is riskier than other classes. It is challenging for every kayaker.

How to learn Whitewater Kayaking

Many people want to learn kayaking. However, this is not an easy task. Kayaking is one of the challenging jobs. There are many risks involved in kayaking. Besides, you cannot learn it alone if you want to. You can try it alone. But it is undoubtedly dangerous to do so.

Moreover, it would be helpful if you learned from an experienced trainer. Many people know by grouping. However, you can learn with them. With them, you will get all the help you need. Must take swift water rescue training.

It is also essential to know about the river. Because the movement and direction of the river play a massive role in kayaking. Even if you don’t know you can, you can get help from those who know everything about the river. Also, take whatever you need for safety and security.

How to Choose a Beginner Whitewater Kayak

There are many types of whitewater Kayaks. However, these range from freestyle to river racers and creek boats. If you are a beginner, you can take a mini whitewater kayak. Besides, many people buy Canadian tires, pelican or similar. It is cheap but refrains from buying this kayak. Because these are inferior, and these were not made for whitewater.

Moreover, try to buy a quality kayak. It helps you to drive on the river and gives you a better experience. River runners are the best kayak for beginner whitewater kayaking. This type of boat is suitable for kayaking. It also helps to maintain balance in the river.

Jackson Zen 3.0 is one of the best boats for kayaking. However, many advanced kayakers use this boat. It helps kayaking flexibly on the river. It also helps even in adversity. Besides, you can see other boats like this. Because these types of boats are very demanding in the market.

What Else do I Need to Start Kayaking

You will need a few things before you start kayaking. That is useful for beginners. The paddlers have emphasized five things. Five things are:

  1. Boat
  2. Paddle
  3. Life Jacket
  4. Helmet
  5. Spray Skirt

You must have at least these five things to do kayaking. However, solid shoes and warm layers are also important for beginners. It helps in paddling in the water.

Besides, you can keep the bag float. This float bag helps to keep the kayak float while swimming from the kayak. It also protects from damage if there are stones at the bottom of the river.

Common Terms to Understand Before Buying a Kayak

Here are some common terms that are very important for beginners. However, you have to understand this before buying a kayak. So, let’s know about this:


An outfit is something that stays inside the boat. It helps you stick tight into the boat. So, it is essential to keep this outfit strong. Otherwise, it can create a problem in your kayaking. Check out the outfit first before buying a kayak.


The kayak that moves from the bottom to the side is called the Kayak edge. Edge plays a significant role in keeping the edge of the kayak straight in the water and keeping pace with the water. So, make sure that it is flexible before buying.


How much curve your kayak hull from front to back be called a rocker. In other words, rockers help you climb the kayak bow up. Usually, a banana-shaped kayak has a high rocker. And there are fewer swings on the plane.

Hull Type

There are two types of hulls in the kayak. One is the displacement hull, and the other is the planning hull. To clarify, the displacement hull is rounded, and it can interact more. The sharp edges of the planning hull kayak have a flat shape.

Kayak Sizing

The boats come in different shapes and sizes. Kayak manufacturers always offer a weight range. So, paddlers can take the correct size based on their weight. The size of a kayak can also give an idea about the size and insight into a boat.

Kayak manufacturers reveal the length and width of the kayak. That must say, wide kayaks are much more stable than narrow kayaks. However, short kayaks are relatively easy to rotate. But it is much slower than a lengthy kayak. The size of the kayak depends mainly on its height and weight.

Dangers of Whitewater Kayaking

People do Kayaking in the river. As a result, danger in the river while kayaking is a common problem. So, you have to take the initiative to reduce this risk. Otherwise, you will be in considerable danger. That’s why learning river paddling is compulsory. Therefore, you have to take a risk.

Moreover, weather, drowning, hypothermia can be dangerous. It can also be dangerous to go kayaking without learning it properly. There are many dangers to not knowing how to swim. So, you have to be physically fit. Otherwise, it will be dangerous for you.

Tips for Your First Time Kayaking

It is probably your first time kayaking. Thus, there are some essential things to keep in mind. Some tips will help you to your first whitewater kayaking. So, let’s know the tips:

  1. Since you are new. So, start in a place with little water. It might be a lake or pond.
  2. Find a sandy beach to get started. Steep and rocky places will be challenging for beginners.
  3. Go kayaking on a sunny and windless day. This day will reduce your complications.
  4. If there is wind, start paddling in the air once you get used to it.
  5. Do this paddling for fun. Imagine being on a trip. Paddling time is kept down to two hours.

Ending Thought

Kayaking is an entertaining game worldwide. There are also many risks involved in kayaking. So, you have to know everything thoroughly before kayaking. Otherwise, it can be dangerous if you take less knowledge.

However, whitewater kayaking is a very tough and challenging task for beginners. Therefore, you have to grab proper knowledge about kayaking. This beginner guide will help those people who want to start kayaking. So, you must read this guide attentively. This article will help you to get your first whitewater kayak.

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