Types of Kayaking


  • small boats on small water
  • high level of skill required as this is harder that it looks on youtube.
  • High emphasis on reading the water for best line around obstructions and banks .
  • helmets and a bomb proof roll required, as are groups to watch for each other
  • creeking requires scouting to look for changes in the water such as lay downs and strainers.


  • Downriver racing is a good way to learn about moving water as it giving you the ability to watch the line other competitors use in the thereby learning how to read the river.
  • Helmets required in all moving water to avoid banging your head should you lose control
  • Always wear a PFD (personal floatation device) rolls happen you will be thankful you had it on if you swim.
  • Reading the river for correct line, hidden obstructions is an important skil aided by polarized glasses.


  • Flat water comes in two varieties fresh and salt. No matter what your flavor they are similar in many respects.
  • Waves, both fresh and salt water have wave action, the important thing to remember is that spray skirts will save you a lot of trouble if the wind kicks up.
  • Sit on top (SOT) kayaks often called "ocean" kayaks are designed for warm water only.
  • SOT are wider and more stable but harder to maneuver and paddle, the wider frontal area is drag inducing making forward progress more energy consuming.

Kayak Fishing:

  • Fishing from Kayak has quickly evolved into fresh and salt water disciplines. The salt water rigs are set up to fish for specific conditions of types of fishing through hull fish/depth finders are possible.
  • Most fishing rigs are SOT style kayaks.
  • Peddle type kayaks are favored as the "paddler" needs to have his/her hands free most of the time to work with fishing gear.
  • Most fishing rigs will have a crate of gear on the rear

Freestyle and Surf:

  • Freestyle and surf kayaking use similar boats.
  • Rodeo describes the freestyle tricks on standing waves in rivers sometimes refer to as playboating.
  • Surf kayaking is done in the ocean on moving waves similar to normal surfing on surf boards.
  • Tricks are possible such as spins and big air off the top of ocean waves.
  • There are many judged competitions.


  • Stand up kayak boards are mainly used on flat water though some adventurous souls are tackling rivers.
  • Used mostly on salt water they are used for surfing and touring.
  • Always wear your PFD and helmet.

Sculling or Crew:

  • Generally a collegiate competitive team sport.
  • Narrow boats with two paddles or oars one for the starboard and port.
  • Crewed by one, two or four rowers power the "rowing shell".


  • Slalom is timed racing around gates hung above the river on cables.
  • Slalom courses are usually laid out in swift water conditions on the river.
  • Olympic slalom racing consists of man-made controlled white water courses.

White Water Classification System

Class 1

Very small areas of rough water does not require any maneuvering, (skill level: none)

Class 2

Some rough water, small drops, some rocks, may require some maneuvering, (skill level: basic paddling skills)

Class 3

Whitewater, medium waves, up to 3-5 foot drops, but not much considerable danger, may require some significant maneuvering. (Skill level: Experienced paddling skills)

Class 4

Whitewater, large waves, long rapids, rocks, possible large drop, sharp maneuvers maybe needed. (Skill level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)

Class 5

Whitewater, large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, large drops possible, precise maneuvering Often characterized by "must make moves" the failure of which may cause serious injury or death. Sometimes expanded to 5+ the most extreme runnable rapids (Skill level: Expert)

Class 6

In practice this refers to rivers that are unrunnable, meaning any attempt would result in near drowning and/or death.