Marc's WhiteWater Gear Reviews


The White Water River and Creek

‘Whitewater is formed in a rapid, when a river’s gradient increases enough to generate so much turbulence that air is entrained into the water body, that is, it forms a bubbly or aerated and unstable current; the frothy water appears white. The term is also loosely used to refer to less turbulent, but still agitated, flows. The term “whitewater” also has a broader meaning, applying to any river or creek itself that has a significant number of rapids.’

The Kayak / Canoe

There are five main “categories” in whitewater kayaking, and thus, Kayaks:

River running

A principal design characteristic of riverrunning kayaks is their comparatively longer length and narrower breadth. The longer length at the waterline not only helps to carry speed but the longer arcs thus created between stem and stern allow the boater to more efficiently and gracefully carve into, through and out of eddies and other currents.
(More on this topic can be found on this River Kayak page.)


Creek boats usually have increased “rocker,” or rise, fore and aft of the cockpit for manoeuvrability.
(More on this topic can be found on this Creeking Kayak page.)


Pro level slalom competitions have specific length (350 cm (140 in) for kayaks), width, and weight requirements for the boats, which will be made out of kevlar/fiberglass/carbon fiber composites to be lightweight and have faster hull speed. Plastic whitewater kayaks can be used in citizen-level races.


Kayaks used for playboating generally have relatively low volume in the bow and stern, allowing the paddler to submerge the ends of the kayak with relative ease.

Surf kayaking
(‘out of category’, but relevant)

There are a number of speciality surf kayak designs available. They are often equipped with up to four fins with a three fin thruster set up being the most common. Speciality surf kayaks typically have flat bottoms, and hard rails, similar to surf boards. The design of a surf kayak promotes the use of an ocean surf wave (moving wave) as opposed to a river or feature wave (moving water). They are typically made from glass composites (mixtures of carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass) or rotomolded plastic. Many kayaks, such as those used in whitewater kayaking on rivers or tidal rapids, are used. Many whitewater designs can be fitted with fins, to assist in control on moving surf waves.

One thought on “Kayaks

  1. Awesome website, Marc! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. CU in Slovenia/Italy/Austria/France/Spain next spring! (We seem to be crossing paths everywhere……..)
    Let’s conquer the Inn when snow melts. How about that?

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