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Outdoor Curious | Top Facts & FAQs about Whitewater Kayaking Answered by Ben Stookesberry

Author(s): Eddie Bauer
Video Release Date: August 17, 2020
Video Source: YouTube

Whitewater kayaking may seem like a niche sport, but it can be quite accessible and very thrilling. Learn exactly what Whitewater Kayaking is, how to find the right kayak for you and how to roll your kayak in a river from Eddie Bauer Kayak Athlete, Ben Stookesberry.

In 25 minutes, learn everything you have been wondering about whitewater kayaking from a world-renown expedition kayak athlete who has more than 132 first descents of rivers in 36 countries under his belt. The questions answered in the video include:

1. What is whitewater kayaking?
     a. Kayaking in a river with turbulence and rapids.
2. What’s the difference between whitewater and flat-water kayaks?
     a. In general, whitewater kayaks will be shorter in length with a flatter bottom, similar to a surfboard to allow for more maneuverability while flat water kayaks will be wider, longer and have more of a rounded bottom to allow for greater speed.
3. How to roll a whitewater kayak?
     a. Unlike popular belief, the foundation of your ability to roll will come from your hips and knees while most think it comes from your arms and use of the paddle. 
4. What are the different types of whitewater kayaking?
     a. There are 6 different classifications of whitewater kayaking starting with level 1 that simply involves moving water with minimal risk all the way to level 6 which, at times is considered un-runnable, due to the high risk of injury and need for expert level training. 
5. Is it harder to whitewater kayak when you’re overweight?
     a. Whitewater kayaking is a great sport because there are many different types of kayaks that allow for all different body types.
6. How should my kayak fit?
     a. Comfortably! You will be spending a lot of time sitting in your boat so you want to make sure you will be comfortable while also fitting tight enough to allow you to move on the water freely.
7. Why do people whitewater kayak?
     a. For Ben, it is the ultimate expression of freedom because you are surrounded by natural wonders while pushing yourself physically and mentally.
8. How to splat with a whitewater kayak?
     a. In order to splat you would need to pull off a move call the stern squirt, but before getting to that point you should focus on perfecting your roll.
9. How long should my whitewater kayak be?
     a. Depends on the river and the goal of your expedition but you’ll find kayaks range from 5 ½ ft. to 13 ft. long to accommodate all types of adventures.
10. Where can I learn to whitewater kayak?
     a. Finding a place with a clean river, warm water and access to a certified instructor.
11. How to pack gear on a whitewater kayak?
     a. Depends on the kayak you are using. The smaller the boat, you won’t be able to pack as much gear while wider and longer boats will provide ample room for gear. It will be important to use a drybag when packing your gear so that it all remains dry.
12. What are tips for controlling a whitewater kayak?
     a. Practice, practice, practice! Start with flat water to practice your paddle strokes and better understand how your body position and paddle strokes impact the movement of your boat.
13. How long should my whitewater kayak paddle be?
     a. Depending on your boat, you’ll want a paddle that is at least 3-6 inches taller than you are while standing.
14. What does it mean to portage a kayak?
     a. It is the ability to carry your kayak over land.

Other Questions Answered:
15. How do you go over a waterfall in a whitewater kayak?
16. How to scout a river before and during a whitewater kayaking trip?
17. How to pee in a whitewater kayak?
18. How often should I drain my whitewater kayak?
19. How to choose a whitewater kayak?
20. What to bring whitewater kayaking?
21. How to stay in contact when you’re on the river?
22. Is whitewater kayaking dangerous?

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