Whitewater Kayaks – How to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Kayak
Kayaking is an adventurous sport, and is definitely not meant for the weak-hearted. Whitewater kayaking is a sport that involves paddling a kayak on a whitewater river. Whitewater kayaking is of many types, ranging from gentle waters to dangerous whitewater, involving rapids of 6 grades. Grade I is the slow moving water, while Grade VI consists of aggressive stretches of water.
Due to the many grades of whitewater, not all manufactured kayaks are suitable for every grade. There are mainly 4 types of whitewater kayaks available. It is good to note that these kayaks are very different from sea kayaks. All of these are very easy to maneuver, while maintaining high stability in the water. Features of the 4 types of whitewater kayaks are listed below.
River Running Kayaks
These kayaks are perfect for beginners, as well as for the experienced paddler. These kayaks are designed with soft edges, and are quite stable, and extremely fast, due to their substantial volume and length. Their flat bottom enables advanced kayakers to surf with ease. River Running kayaks are extremely comfortable and their smooth round bows, make it easy to brace and roll. Remarkably, these kayaks also contain outfitting that can be customized.
If you're interested in risks, thrills and extreme adventure in whitewater, then a creek boat is the one you're looking for. Creeking kayaks are designed to maneuver very technical and difficult rapids, while enduring every abuse of boulders and rocks in the narrow creeks. These kayaks have potentially less chance of getting caught up in between the rocks, due to their soft chine. These kayaks are usually 8 feet in length and have a rounded displacement hull, allowing for soft landings, even from huge drops! Creeking kayaks are the largest in the whitewater family. These kayaks are definitely built with the whitewater thrill seeker in mind.
These are also known as Rodeo or Playboating kayaks. If you like to be artistic or gymnastic, to perform moves like spinning, surfing and various other vertical moves, then this kayak could be the one you're looking for. Read on and see if this is the one you need. With a Freestyle kayak, you can perform tricks on a variety of river features, and perform even better on waves and holes. These kayaks are short and have centralized distribution of volume, in their sterns and bows.
Free Running Kayaks
Free Running kayaks are designed for those kayakers, who love paddling the river, but want to enjoy the thrill of the entire river. You could call this type of kayak, a hybrid between a river running kayak and a freestyle kayak. Of the 4 types of kayaks, these are the most suitable for beginners, who can use them to learn how to brace, roll and play. The best thing about these kayaks is that they provide enough stability to go on a down river exploration.
Now that you have all the information about the 4 types of whitewater kayaks, you can make a well-informed decision, based on your level of expertise.