In this our September blog post we will be discussing how to choosing your lines when running a river.
Over the past few months we have had quite a number of intermediate paddlers approach us to ask, "How do i know where to go? I can follow someone's line, but I want to choose for myself!" The general answer to this question is to lean how to read the river you are running. Understanding hydrology is key to running rivers. We all may seem a little nuts, but most of us are intelligent people who understand how a river works and what creates the features we are running.
Basically when water hits an object there will be a reaction, old Einstein had it right. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.Whether the object is a rock, tree, headwall, siphon or the shallows, there will be a reaction and thus create features of whitewater.
So how do we know what is the safest route through the rapids? We study them!
"If in doubt, get out and scout!"
Scouting is the best way to see what you are up against. Study how the water is moving and choose the path of least resistance. Find a line that sits in your comfort zone, especially if you are nervous about running the rapid. If the rapid does not feel right then portage the rapid. There is no shame in not running the rapid. Skill is acquired through iteration, and building the correct skill set in the correct time frame is essential to your success.
Determine whether you can punch a hole, hit the boof, make an eddie or soar over a wave is all down to you and your skill level. For one paddler to tell another "they will be fine" in our eyes just does not cut the mustard. At the end of the day you are paddling your boat and must make the conscious decision whether it is safe for you and the team. Remember this is the biggest individual group sport in the world. Having a team you can reply on to help you in times of trouble or guide you through a rapid is vital to your success. We reply on each other, but must make conscious decisions ourselves.
We will not paddle with people we do not trust and neither should you.
Thank you readers, we appreciate you following us as we bring a topic to you every month.
Happy Paddling and be safe!
Josh Askew, Owner at WaterFlow Paddling.
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