River Progression Considerations


   Updated May 21, 2012
There are many factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding what river difficulty level one is ready for. Kayaking with the Hi-N-Dry, though a useful asset working in your favor, offers no exception from using proper discretion in river selection. First of all, it is important to understand that there is no set formula for determining what river one is ready for at any given point in one’s kayaking progression. Opinions vary over who should make the decision regarding when is the right time to step up the river difficulty. Should it be the kayaker himself, who is ultimately responsible for his/her own safety, or is it the more experienced friends and acquaintances who should decide? Perhaps a combination of these two is best. What makes it difficult to lay in stone who can do what river are the vast differences between each individual kayaker. There are different personalities, different athleticism, differing degrees of intuition and instinct, some people learn faster than others, some people are more gifted than others, and some people have more confidence in their abilities and their decision making than others. This means that people will follow different progression paths and making these decisions is complicated. The sense of invincibility that a reliable kayaking roll can bring should not be cause for throwing caution to the wind. The Hi-N-Dry does not magically give you ferrying skills, eddy catching skills, river reading skills, river rescue skills, boofing skills, surfing skills, etc.

For more material on the topic of river progression, I recommend the following:

Whitewater safety advice and considerations from the Keelhaulers Canoe Club.

Multiple choice test that gauges kayaking ability levels and matches that with rivers.

 Updated May 21, 2012