Of all the different categories of canoeing, whitewater canoeing is definitely the most challenging and competitive. The reason is simple- the fact that you are paddling your canoe in choppy river waters, is enough for adrenaline-junkies to get all high.
The Different Levels of Challenge
Even within this riveting sport, you get to juggle from the ‘easy’ levels 1 and 2, to the ‘intermediate’ levels 3 and 4, and finally after gaining sufficient experience, you can graduate to the ‘advanced’ levels of 5 and 6. So where you essentially begin from is a calm, breezy river, slowly gain the practice and momentum to go on to an intermediate one in terms of current, and finally (hold your breath), paddle your way through the likes of the Niagara Falls! Boy, that would take plenty of guts and guile, apart from years and years of strenuous practice to make it through!
Diversions in Whitewater Canoeing
If you go by the technical definition of whitewater, it would basically encompass any water body that has the right flow, gradient and environment to be able to get aerated on its own. Obviously upon aeration, the water body gets a foamy appearance and that’s where the term ‘white water’ gets derived from. But even within whitewater canoeing, there are several diversions that you could specialize in. Of these, the most popular ones are River Running and Play boating, while the lesser known but equally exciting ones is Slalom and Creaking. Based on the water bodies present in different geographical zones, the specific diversions of whitewater canoeing have taken the forefront.
Rivers deemed suitable for the Sport
Just so you know, not all rivers can be deemed suitable for Whitewater Canoeing. The International Canoeing Federation has laid down a certain set of norms and guidelines which actually determine whether the said river is ratified as ‘white water’ or not. So anybody who is interested in learning the sport should definitely first take a look at the list published by them and ascertain whether the water body they wish to practice in, fulfils all the terms and conditions that have been specified by the concerned sporting association.
An integral part of whitewater canoeing is staying fit and since paddling is an important aspect of this river sport, developing upper body strength is important. Equally important is stamina as the longer and faster you can paddle the better your chances of navigating class VI rapids. Cardio workouts and rowing machine routines are most useful when preparing for whitewater canoeing.