Water Reading

Reading the River

One of the primary skills for paddlers on whitewater is “reading the river”. This enables them to use the power of the river, and not get abused by the power of the river by being in the wrong spot.

Rocks in the River

Rocks can be your friend or your foe. Sometimes they are foe. Sometimes they are your friend. Sometimes they are fun! It is usually no big deal to hit rocks. A friendly rock is one with a rounded upstream face and a pillow of water cushioning it. When you encounter a rock on the river, it is important lean into the rock, lifting your upstream edge. The pillow helps keep your boat off the rock.

The Eddy

One of the most obvious river features are the eddies, or slow water zones, most often found on the sides of the river. A rock or pile of rocks deflects the current, and the water circles back upstream to fill in behind.

Reading the River

One of the primary skills for paddlers on whitewater is “reading the river”. This enables them to use the power of the river, and not get abused by the power of the river by being in the wrong spot.

about hydraulic in river

Rocks in the River

Rocks can be your friend or your foe. Sometimes they are foe. Sometimes they are your friend. Sometimes they are fun! It is usually no big deal to hit rocks. A friendly rock is one with a rounded upstream face and a pillow of water cushioning it. When you encounter a rock on the river, it is important lean into the rock, lifting your upstream edge. The pillow helps keep your boat off the rock.

about hydraulic in river

The Eddy

One of the most obvious river features are the eddies, or slow water zones, most often found on the sides of the river. A rock or pile of rocks deflects the current, and the water circles back upstream to fill in behind.

On your local river, see if you can find eddies with water actually flowing upstream!

Paddlers in any type of competition or just for fun do eddy turns. Eddy turns are the foundation for controlling your descent of the river. You can stop, rest, set up moves. Eddy turns require an approach path that sets you up to get all the way into the eddy. Your bow stops in the calm of the eddy, and the stern is pushed around by the current. Once a paddler enters the eddy they need to tilt their boat to stay balanced, or else water climbs up on their boat, and flips them. > On your local river, count how many eddies you can see that would fit a kayak.



about hydraulic in river

 

about hydraulic in river


Reading the River

But a river has more than eddies behind rocks. The spectrum of features at formed at different water levels is part of what makes whitewater so much fun. As more water covers a rock you get a rock that is barely covered changing to a steep pourover, to pourover to wave hole to a series of waves.

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Reading the River

As a tiny bit of water goes over the same rock, you still have a pillow on the upstream side, and an eddy below. As even more water goes over, you get a pourover. With even more water over the same spot, it turns into a wave hole,tall and more wavelike, with white crashing back upstream. With more water you have only a occasionally breaking wave, and a series of waves after. With more water the wave will stop breaking, and you have a series of waves.