Frequently Asked Questions: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing

I thought water was blue?

Frequently Asked Questions: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing

Postby Hana » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:05 pm

Frequently Asked Questions about Whitewater Kayaking/Canoeing
...and lots of other comments and statements that may or may not be solicited or useful but I'm saying it anyway because I want you to try whitewater kayaking/canoeing.

"Do you have gear? Do I need my own boat, paddle, etc.?"
Yes, we have gear! If you have your own already and would prefer to use it, that's okay too! If you need gear, we have boats, skirts, paddles, life jackets (PFDs), helmets, booties, wetsuits, drytops, semi-dry tops, fleece layers.

"Are there any rivers around here?"
Heck, yeah! Here's a list of rivers that we frequent. All are ONE hour or less from UMass:

Deerfield River (VT & MA)
Westfield River (MA)
Farmington River (MA & CT)
West River (VT)
Green River (MA)
Millers River (MA)
Ashuelot River (NH)
Connecticut River (MA)

"What exactly do you do?" / "I don't see a lot of trips posted here"
Generally speaking:
We teach people how to be safe, how to use their boats properly in current, go on river trips, and best of all: have fun!

More specifically:
Rolling sessions twice a week.
Trips on weekends.
Longer trips during vacations and long weekends.
Social events.

We often broadcast our trips via our e-mail list. If you are interested in getting on that e-mail list, please email

"What is a Rolling Session?!?!? And WHY?!"
Rolling sessions are awesome! We are SO lucky to have them here at UMass, and even more lucky to have them TWICE a week, and even more super lucky to have them at a very low price ($3 for members, $5 for non-members)

In order to come on a river trip with us, you must attend at least 2 pool sessions before the trip.

This is what happens at a pool session:
On your first time, you will learn how to safely get out of your boat underwater AKA "wet exit". Our instructors are certified American Canoe Association instructors (
Step 1: You get a boat, skirt and paddle (at least).
Step 2: At first, you will be in a group of new people. We go over everything you need to know.
Step 3: Then, one at a time, we work with you in the pool until you have a perfect wet exit.
Step 4: Once that part is over, you are free to paddle and play around the pool. We often have a beginner "How to..." lesson on a variety of topics. Instructors are available to help you with any questions you may have. Many people want to learn how to "roll" their boats on their first visit, and we can help you with that too. So that's why we call it a "Rolling Session".

If you are an experienced boater and have never been to one of our pool sessions before, you will need to go through a the wet exit lesson as well. Everyone who attends our pool sessions must go through this "class". If it's more of a refresher or check, great, but we still need to make sure you are being safe.

"Why do you whitewater kayak/canoe, anyway?" / "Isn't it scary?"
That's a big question. You're probably reading this right now because you are curious about possibly, maybe, going to a pool session, and possibly, maybe trying out whitewater kayaking on the river.

So, welcome to the idea of whitewater kayaking/canoeing with the Outing Club! Maybe you have seen some extreme crazy person going over a huge waterfall, or maybe just some photos of some remote river in Himalayas in the latest Nikon camera advertisement. Or maybe you've been whitewater rafting before. Or maybe you've done some recreational or sea-kayaking. Or maybe you've never even been in boat.

Here, in Amherst, with the Outing Club, we go "whitewater kayaking/canoeing". We go to different states, sometimes we go to different countries. Some of us are old, some of us are young. Some of us have been paddling since the age of dinosaurs and some of us just started a year ago. But, we all love it and we all want to help you to become a whitewater kayaker/canoer, whatever that means for you.

Whitewater kayaking is a LOT of FUN. Honestly! I'm lazy* and I would live in my boat if I could. Imagine: You're on a river. Riding over the waves, surfing, dodging rocks and different features on the river. It's also fun because of all the people who come along with the sport. Not only are you going on an adventure in the outdoors, on a river, but you're going on an adventure every time you go somewhere with people who are new and fun.

There are many, many more reasons that I love whitewater, some personal and some silly, but I don't want to bore you. It's fun and we would love for you to be a part of our community. So come to a pool session and a river trip!

*I'm not lazy. I just like to sit.
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Re: Frequently Asked Questions about Whitewater Kayaking

Postby dustin » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:58 am

I made it a sticky, just keep your fingers out of it and you should be fine ;)
Don't worry, I know CPR.
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