Wildwater paddling: long distance in the rapids
July 07, 2008
When people think of whitewater paddling nowadays they usually imagine big water play in 4-foot long "boats" that look like elf-slippers. These boats aren't made to paddle anywhere. They're just for play. And, of course, they're great at that.
But there's another kind of whitewater action out there. It's called Wildwater or Downriver. (I have a couple other links about it here at OYB.)
What you do is take a fast, narrow hull and give it more volume, then go paddling down your favorite river in any type of wind or waves condition. The usual flatwater boats are designed only for use in calm conditions (well, you can battle thru waves but you really do risk swamping).
Wildwater has both kayak and canoe classes, solo and double.
As perhaps is usual with activities of culture and character, wildwater paddling is done more often by far in Europe.
But there's a long tradition of it here in the USA, too.
It has more of an adventure and independent flair than the typical whitewater playboat side of things. OK, quirky even. I suppose the usual WW simply brings out more of the acrobatic thrill side. Which is fine. Really!
I just want to give props to the WW folks who are usually left out...
So check out:
These vid clips are sweet: www.downriver.de/movies/MovieNeu/Video.html
[pic courtesy of downriver.de]
Speed thru the rapids...in a close pack of paddlers...good action!
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