Why Is Whitewater Kayaking So Hard (Things To Consider)

Kayaking is a fun activity, but it’s also hard to learn. It takes a lot of practice, and even then, you might not be very good at it.

Whitewater kayaking can be challenging. It takes skill and patience to master this sport. But if you’re interested in learning how to kayak, keep reading! 

We’ll take a look at why whitewater kayaking is so hard, and we’ll cover some tips that will help you get started. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the challenges of whitewater kayaking and how you can overcome them.

Why Is Whitewater Kayaking So Hard
Why Is Whitewater Kayaking So Hard
Table Of Contents
  1. Here's The Answer To Why Is Whitewater Kayaking So Hard
  2. What Skills Do You Need to Master Before You Can Start Whitewater Kayaking?
  3. How Long Does It Take to Learn How To Whitewater Kayak?
  4. Tips For Staying Safe While Whitewater Kayaking
  5. Why Is Whitewater Kayaking Harder Than Other Types Of Kayaking?
  6. Conclusion
  7. Here's What You Need To Know To Wakesurf Behind an Inboard/outboard Boat:
  8. Inboards/Outboards Wake Waves
  9. How Many People Can Ride the Wake from Inboards/Outboards?
  10. Best Wakesurfing Position
  11. Choosing Boats For Wakesurfing
  12. When To Board and When To Stand Up Behind an Inboard/outboard?
  13. Final Thoughts
  14. Here's What Size Motor Do I Need For A 17 Foot Boat:
  15. What Size Motor Is Best For a 17 Foot Boat?
  16. Considerations When Choosing The Right Motor
  17. How Big of A Motor Can You Put on A 17 Ft Boat?
  18. Common Mistakes When Determining The Motor Size
  19. Outboard vs. Inboard: Does Size Matter
  20. Conclusion

Here’s The Answer To Why Is Whitewater Kayaking So Hard

The truth is, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re looking into trying out whitewater kayaking. It’s not just about paddling through rapids or learning how to roll.

  • There’s also the physical aspect of being in good shape and knowing how to swim. You need to be comfortable with yourself on the water, both mentally and physically.
  • Whitewater kayaking is a sport that involves navigating rapids and waves. It’s challenging but also fun! 
  • The difficulty of whitewater kayaking comes from the fact that it requires you to stay upright while paddling through rapids, moving water, and other hazards like rocks or fallen trees. 

Things to consider include staying stable, staying hydrated, choosing a kayak and the right gear, and more. Whitewater kayakers are constantly battling dangerous rapids, strong currents, and potentially life-threatening hazards. 

Furthermore, kayaks are small, which makes them challenging to handle and control. These factors make it essential for whitewater kayakers to be skilled in the sport before attempting more advanced rivers.

Unstable Surface

One of the biggest reasons why whitewater kayaking is so hard is because you are on an unstable surface. This is a problem for many reasons, but let’s start with the obvious one: water and boats don’t mix well together.

All of this instability also makes it difficult to get in and out of boats, especially if you’re wearing your wet suit and helmet. The paddler is constantly moving, and the water is constantly moving, so it can be hard to stay in a straight line.

Beginner kayakers often have a lot of trouble with this and end up going in circles. Another reason why whitewater kayaking is so difficult is because of the maneuvers.

There are a lot of different maneuvers that kayakers have to do in order to navigate the water, and it can be really confusing for beginners. Waterfalls are also a big challenge for kayakers, and they often have to portage around them.

Difficult Paddling

In order to paddle, you’ll need to get comfortable with using your feet. This is no easy task for beginners! Imagine if you were trying to write with your feet—it would be difficult and awkward, right? Well, kayaking is basically the same thing.

  • This is a good thing because it gets simpler and easier with time and eventually becomes second nature. The other thing about paddling is that it can really wear you out!
  • You might think, “how hard could this possibly be? I just have my arms up in the air like some sort of weird sea lion or something” Well, let me tell you from personal experience: paddling takes a lot more energy than most people realize.
  • It also requires coordination between both sides of your body (left vs. right) which can take some getting used to as well! The most common stroke used in whitewater kayaking is the sweep stroke, which is used to control the kayak in the water.

The sweep stroke is a powerful stroke that is used to navigate through the water and is the most commonly used stroke in whitewater kayaking.

Cold Water

It’s not just the cold water that can be dangerous. The effects of hypothermia are equally, if not more so, to be feared.

It’s possible to get hypothermia if you lose more heat than you can produce, causing your body temperature to drop below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).

This can lead to death or serious injury in severe cases and should always be taken seriously. Symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech

High Waves

The next thing to consider is the waves. Waves can be dangerous, especially if you’re an inexperienced kayaker. Waves can cause the kayak to lose control of the water and flip over.

They can also trap you under the water, which could lead to drowning. The waves can be so high that they can swamp the kayak and fill it with water. This can be very dangerous and can even lead to death.

To prevent this from happening, kayaks have a spray skirt. This is a piece of equipment that covers the opening of the kayak and prevents water from getting inside.

The rapids can be very fast and can throw the kayak around. This can be very dangerous and can even lead to death. To prevent this from happening, kayakers wear a personal flotation device (PFD).

Waterfalls can be very dangerous and can even lead to death. To prevent this from happening, kayakers wear a helmet.

No Experience With Currents Or Rapids

Think about the rapids you’ve seen on TV or in movies. Did they look calm, like a sheet of glass? Of course not! They were full of water that was moving fast, and it seemed as if there were a lot of rocks in the way.

The same thing happens when you’re trying to paddle down a river; there are plenty of currents and rocks to go around—and they can cause serious damage if your kayak hits them at high speed!

If you haven’t had much experience with currents or rapids before, then it’s important for you to know how these things work before attempting them on your own.

The best way to learn about them is by reading books written by other people who know what they’re doing.

What Skills Do You Need to Master Before You Can Start Whitewater Kayaking?

What Skills Do You Need to Master Before You Can Start Whitewater Kayaking
What Skills Do You Need to Master Before You Can Start Whitewater Kayaking
  • You will need to be able to paddle efficiently and with a high degree of skill. Whitewater kayaking can be thought of as a game of chess, but rather than using your hands, you use paddles, and the board is moving water instead of still land.
  • Rolling is one skill that many people struggle with because it requires both upper body strength and good balance throughout your entire body (legs included). In order to roll properly, you need to get your hips up high enough so that when you flip upside down (the ‘flip’), your head stays out of the water longer than if those hips weren’t raised high enough; this allows more time for air exposure.

How Long Does It Take to Learn How To Whitewater Kayak?

It depends on your skill level and the type of kayaking you are doing. Most people can learn the basics in a couple of days, but it takes up to a year or more for them to get good at it.

  • It takes years of practice before they master the sport, so don’t expect instant results! There are a few misconceptions that need to be addressed before answering this question.
  • The first is that you need to have a lot of experience or be an expert boater to safely kayak whitewater. The second is that you need to be in great physical shape and have a lot of upper body strength.
  • The key to learning how to kayak whitewater is to start slow and build up your skills and confidence. There are many different types of whitewater, from mild to extreme.

Start with milder whitewater and work your way up as you get more experience. Kayaking is also much more fun when you share the experience with friends or family.

Tips For Staying Safe While Whitewater Kayaking

Tips For Staying Safe While Whitewater Kayaking
Tips For Staying Safe While Whitewater Kayaking
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Always wear a dry suit.
  • Always wear a wet suit.

Don’t Panic

Panic is the most common reaction to danger, but it’s also one of the worst things that can happen during a kayaking trip. Panic can lead to bad decisions and make you lose control of your kayak.

You may feel like you’re freezing up or unable to think clearly or even see straight. In the event that you find yourself in a scenario like this, try to take a few deep breaths and focus on the task at hand.

Getting out of the water and safely back onto land as quickly as possible. It’s critical to maintain your composure when confronted with a challenging issue and consider your options for resolving it.

If you find yourself in a difficult circumstance, there are numerous options that can assist you. There are also many professional kayakers who are willing to help you if you are having trouble.

Practice Proper Paddling Strokes And Techniques

  • Practice paddling strokes in a pool.
  • Practice paddling strokes on flat water.
  • Practice paddling strokes in a river.
  • Practice paddling strokes in a lake.
  • Practice paddling strokes in a tidal pool.

You can also practice your techniques at local parks or even man-made pools, where you can learn proper techniques and develop your confidence before heading out into the wild waters of nature to kayak!

Knowing How To Roll Properly

Knowing How To Roll Properly
Knowing How To Roll Properly

Learning how to roll is a difficult and intimidating process, but it’s the first step to becoming a competent kayaker. If you can’t roll, you’re going to have a hard time staying afloat when unexpected currents or waves come along.

Rolling properly is also crucial for avoiding injury while on the water. You should be able to get back up after any fall within seconds of landing in the water, rather than being stuck upside-down for several minutes (or worse yet, remaining underwater for too long).

The most important thing about rolling is that it needs practice! You may not be able to perform your first few rolls perfectly, but don’t worry—you’ll get better with time and practice.

The most important thing is trying your best each time until you’ve mastered rolling under any circumstances; from there, everything else will become easier! After all: if you want something done right, then do it yourself!

Don’t Lose Your Paddle

It’s very easy to lose your paddle. As you’re paddling through rough water, everything will be coming at you at once. You need to focus on keeping yourself upright in the kayak and not losing control of your kayak or its contents (like your paddle).

If a wave comes over the front, try to grab ahold of your paddle! If you do manage to let go of your paddle while traveling down river rapids, just keep moving forward without panicking.

Chances are you would be able to stabilize yourself or at least swim ashore.

Why Is Whitewater Kayaking Harder Than Other Types Of Kayaking?

There are a number of reasons why kayaking is more difficult than other types of kayaking, such as flat water and ocean paddling.

  • Difficulty Learning: Whitewater kayaking is the fastest growing segment of paddling today. This means that there are not many people who can teach you how to do it well or even at all. If you don’t have access to a good instructor, then your learning process will be slow and frustrating, with lots of time spent trying things that don’t work out well for you.
  • Difficulty Learning To Roll: A roll is what allows you to return upright after being dumped in the water by an unexpected wave or current pullout (when your boat stops moving forward). Without this skill under your belt, you may not survive long enough for someone else’s help when they arrive on the scene!
  • Difficulty Learning To Paddle: Paddling whitewater requires strength and finesse in order for each stroke – whether it be forward or backward – not only propel you through rapids but also keep control over speed while maneuvering around obstacles (rocks). The hardest part about paddling on streams like rivers is knowing exactly where those obstacles will be, so there isn’t any surprise when someone gets “dumped” mid-paddle stroke!

Can You Do Whitewater Kayaking On Your Own?

To be able to do so, you’ll need to be comfortable in the water and be able to paddle a kayak. You should also be able to roll a kayak and read water.

This means being aware of how currents flow through different areas of the river and how much impact they have on you as well as other people around you.

In addition, it’s important that you’re able to swim because there are many instances where getting back into your boat after capsizing can only happen by swimming.

This may seem simple, but it’s important not only because safety is paramount but also because swimming ensures that your gear stays dry during those moments when getting wet might cause damage or loss of equipment or clothing items.

Main Reasons Why People Give Up On Whitewater Kayaking

Main Reasons Why People Give Up On Whitewater Kayaking
Main Reasons Why People Give Up On Whitewater Kayaking

It seems like most people give up on this sport because of the following reasons.

  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of patience
  • Lack of money (or can’t get a kayak)
  • Not enough time to practice and train properly
  • Not confident enough in themselves to believe that they can be an excellent whitewater kayakers

Types of People Who Will Never Become Good Whitewater Kayakers

There are a few types of people who will never become good whitewater kayakers. These people are afraid of heights, water, falling, cold water, and getting hurt.

If you fall in the water and can’t swim, then you will be very unhappy on your first trip down the river. The unknown is also something that could make this sport a little too scary for some people.


So to recap, whitewater kayaking is hard because it is a very physically demanding sport that requires you to paddle your kayak in the right direction while keeping it stable on uneven and unstable waters.

It also requires you to have the strength and paddling skills needed to keep your kayak upright in rough waters and rapids so that you don’t capsize.

In addition, there are many dangers associated with this type of activity, such as hypothermia from falling into cold water or getting injured when hitting rocks beneath the surface of rivers and streams.

This concludes our article on why whitewater kayaking is so hard. If you enjoyed this article, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more great content about kayaking!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Boost Your Whitewater Kayaking Skills Right Away?

Paddle straight and true. This is the foundation for all other whitewater skills! Also, try to keep your body centered over your boat, not leaning to one side or sitting back in the boat. This will help you paddle straight and true.

What Is The Worst Pieces of Advice You’ll Ever Hear About Whitewater Kayaking?

The worst advice you’ll ever hear about whitewater kayaking is that you have to be fearless. It’s true that you should never be fearful of the rapids themselves, but you need to understand and respect the power of whitewater.

What Should You Focus On If You Want To Get Better At Whitewater Kayaking?

The first thing you should focus on is your paddle strokes. You need to know how to properly hold, angle, and stroke a paddle before you move on to more complex moves.

Can You Really Improve At Whitewater Kayaking?

Yes! You can actually improve your skills and abilities when it comes to whitewater kayaking. Finding a local instructor and learning from them is the best method to achieve this.