This is the first installment of a new feature here at T&T. On Tuesdays I’ll post a quick and easy tip that I’ve learned, used, or stashed away for future use. This week’s topic, how to manuever your recreational kayak or canoe through a random rapid or wave.
Picture this, you’re out for a leisurely paddle on the river in your canoe or kayak. You come around a bend and find yourself face to face with a couple of downed trees that are channeling the water into a small rapid. We’re not talking whitewater here, but enough to swamp you if you’re careless and hit it the wrong way.
Assuming that you’re not going to exit the river and portage around the rapid, and you can see a clear channel through, the best thing you can do here is to line yourself up and paddle straight through the rough patch. Your instinct might be to approach slowly, but momentum is your friend here. If you keep up your momentum you’re controlling where your boat goes and the river does not. If you have to make a slight course correction by dipping your blade into the water for a rudder stroke that’s fine, but ideally you want to use some power strokes to propel yourself in the right direction.
The same holds true on open water if you encounter the wake from a speedboat or other larger vessel. Turn yourself perpendicular to the approaching wake, paddle strongly into it, and punch through. If you’ve got the space, and are feeling playful, you can even paddle away from the wake to take a little ride. Again, momentum is your friend here because it will keep you in control rather than the water, and it will keep you from turning parallel with the wake and potentially swamping your boat.
That’s all for now!