Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Perfecting your forward paddle stroke for kayaking, rafting and canoeing

Torso Rotation

In the post Going the Distance (http://www.wetexit.com/blog/) aivasyuk has some good pointers for improving the forward paddle stroke. I agree that torso rotation during your forward paddle stroke is the most important rule for power and endurance in all styles of paddle boating, including river kayaking, river rafting, sea kayaking and canoeing.

Additional Factors

Some additional factors in a good forward paddle stroke are straight arms, paddle held far forward and good separation of the hands when gripping the paddle. These techniques apply to both single and double-blade paddles. They will help to ensure that you get your paddle power from torso rotation rather than from elbow bending. Kayakers should set proper hand positions on the paddle with elbows at 90 degrees when the paddle is held on top of your head (mark this position on your paddle with tape). Most of the beginners that I have taught seem to instinctively hold their hands too close together on the paddle, hold the paddle too close to their bodies and get all of their paddling power from elbow bending. This provides weak, low endurance paddle strokes and puts you at risk for developing tendonitis in your elbows. One year I got "tennis elbow" from too much elbow bending while paddling. It took a long time to heal and I lost many days of boating. Then I learned how to power the paddle with torso rotation and I have not had any more problems with sore elbows.

The key for success

Perfecting your forward paddle stroke is a key for fun and success in all forms of paddle boating. Power and endurance in the forward paddle stroke are obviously critical for flatwater canoeing and sea kayaking where the paddle stroke provides all of the propulsion. River boaters don't need as much endurance because the river provides much of our propulsion, but powerful, efficient forward strokes are often needed to make a critical move or to get on a surfing wave when kayaking or rafting. The key to success in paddle boating is good stroke mechanics to ensure that you are using your torso muscles for power. Boaters who try to overpower the water with arm muscles and elbow bending will get less performance and have less fun than boaters who develop better stroke techniques.


Monday, January 30, 2006


Recent River Flows Directory

Which California rivers have the best whitewater flows for your next kayaking, rafting or canoeing trip?

Please let me know of any other websites with river flow data and I will add them to this list. Updated 19jan2009.

Dreamflows. River flows for many rivers and creeks in California/Nevada, the Northwest, and the Four Corners area. Chart of mid-day flows for the last three days and color coded as low, okay or high flow conditions.

River Flows and Weather - planetmango. Plots of recent CDEC data for SF American River at Chili Bar, MF American River near Oxbow Powerhouse, NF American River at North Fork Dam, SF Yuba River at Jones Bar, NF Yuba River at Goodyears Bar, Butte Creek Near Chico.

River Flow Information - theamericanriver.com.
  (Middle Fork, North Fork, South Fork American River)

NW Kayaking - Whitewater Rivers in North-Western USA. Kayak trip planning information: river flow, rainfall, and weather information for California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia.

California Kayaking Information - Eddyflower. Flow data for 257 river runs in California and additional runs in 41 other states in the USA.

California River Flows - Whitewater Voyages. Plots of recent hourly flow data for Merced & NF Yuba. Table of Kern River Basin hourly flow data.

Owens River - Los Angeles Aqueduct Realtime Data.

California Nevada River Forecast Center - National Weather Service. Flow data from 160 stations on rivers and creeks. Flows color coded as normal, monitor, above and danger stages. Flow forecasts.

River Gauges - American Whitewater. River flow data for all 50 states. Data from USGS.

USGS Real-Time Data for California: Streamflow. Stream flow data for 424 sites in California.

Water Level Selection - wkcc.org. River flows for Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. Table with one recent data point each for a long list of rivers and creeks.

Recreational River Flows - rivervilla. River flow data from USGS on rivers in Southern Oregon, North Coast CA, Sacramento Drainage, and Sierra. CDEC sites return "Internal Server Error."

California River Flows and Weather - raftsiberia. Current river flow data for Northern Sierra, Central Sierra, Southern Sierra, Klamath Mountains, North Coast Range, South Coast Range, Great Basin and Other Rivers. Compiles data from Dreamflows, USGS and CDEC. Table with one recent data point each for many rivers. Links to river guides and plots of real-time flow data.

Real-Time River Stages - Sorted North to South by River Basin - CDEC. Hundreds of gauge stations on dozens of rivers throughout California.

CA DWR CDEC Interface - acme.com. Links to CDEC flow data for many whitewater rivers: American, Cache Cr., Cosumnes, Eel, Feather, Kaweah, Kern, Kings, Klamath, McCloud, Merced, Mokelumne, Pit, Redwood Cr., Russian, Sacramento, Smith, Stanislaus, Trinity, Truckee, Tuolumne, Yuba.

California Real-Time River Flows - aorafting. Plots of real-time data for Tuolumne, Upper Klamath, NF Stanislaus, & Cherry Creek.

California Stream Flows - allaboutrivers. Chart with one recent flow number for gauges on the Cal Salmon, Eel, Kern, Klamath, Merced, MF American, NF American, Scott, Smith, SF American, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yuba, and 20 other rivers.

Thanks to ElRemaro for his list of river flow websites covering California and beyond.

More information:
Whitewater River Kayaking Directory - BRT Insights.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006


Whitewater River Kayaking, Canoeing, Tubing & Rafting Blogs Directory

List of blogs & forums focusing primarily on whitewater river boating.

Please let me know about any other whitewater paddling blogs or forums that should be added to the list, any ranks (PR = Google PageRank) that need to be updated, and any dormant sites that need to be deleted. (Updated Oct 6, 2009.)

ww kayaking personal blogs - PR4 to PR3 > PR2 to PR1 > PR0.
ww rafting blogs, flat water paddle boating blogs.
ww organization blogs, ww business blogs.
ww photoblogs, ww videoblogs & ww socialblogs.
ww forums & ww bulletin boards.

Whitewater Kayak & Canoe - Personal Blogs - PR4 to PR3

BRT Insights - BruceT - PR4.
California Whitewater - MasaO - PR4.
Range Life - PR4.
IrishWhiteWater - PR4.
Girls At Play - AnnaL - PR4.
Jefferson State Creeking - PR4.
riversandcreeks - PR4.
Ruth Gordon - PR4.
Epicocity Project - PR4.

David Fairweather - PR3.
Lowri Davies - PR3.
Liveonce Expeditions - PR3.
Small World Adventures - PR3.
Nookie Team - PR3.
Got Boof - PR3.
Lekker Kayaking - PR3.
egcreekin - PR3.
AR Kayak Adventures - PR3.
Same Deep Water - PR3.
Huckin Huge - PR3.
atlantickayaker - PR3.
Rivers Of Chile - PR3.
RapidPirate - PR3.
This River Life - PR3.
Bellingham Whitewater - PR3.
whitewater-koa - PR3.
Max Bilbow - PR3.
Same Deep Water - PR3.
Liquid Kayak - PR3.
Wesley’s Wild World of Kayaking - PR3.
Western Maryland Boating - PR3.
Wonder Midget - PR3.
PDX River Explorers - PR3.
Kayak Hot Dogs - PR3.
kayak en nuestro pequeño planeta - PR3.
whitewaterinstruction - PR3.
passion4adventure - PR3.
River and Ocean - PR3.
Gutters of the Earth - PR3.
River Lover - Any River, Any Time - PR3.
roaring fork kayakers - PR3.
Beyond H2O - PR3.
Geoff Jennings - PR3.
Shasta Boyz Productions - PR3.
Kinetic in Stasis - PR3.
Hotel Charley - PR3.
Team Shred Ready - PR3.

More whitewater river paddle boating blogs & forums:
personal blogs on whitewater kayaking - PR4 to PR3 > PR2 to PR1 > PR0.
ww rafting blogs, flat water paddle boating blogs.
ww organization blogs, ww business blogs.
ww photoblogs, ww videoblogs & ww socialblogs.
ww forums & ww bulletin boards.

Blogs about human-powered river boating are listed based on their Google PageRanks (scale from 0 to 10). I know of 15 sea kayaking blogs that have achieved PageRanks of 4 or 5, so whitewater river bloggers are still lagging behind in this area.

You can see the Google PageRank for all websites that you visit by installing the Google Toolbar into your web browser software. For more information see my post on blog publicity via hyperlinks.

Comments contributed by readers are an essential part of the blogging experience. Thus, some websites built using blogging software which do not enable reader comments are not included in this list. Blogs that are dormant for an extended period of time will be removed from the list.

More information:
Whitewater River Kayaking Directory - BRT Insights.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


The Face of the River

"The face of the river, in time, became a wonderful book ... which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it had uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day." (Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi)

Cache Creek, at the confluence with Bear Creek. Takeout for the Wilderness Run. (Photos by BruceT, panorama of 3 images by JimH)

These words from Mark Twain hit me like a bolt of lightning every time I read them. The astonishing beauty of the dynamic river environment is that it always has a new story to tell. Every day of kayaking on the river is a unique and special experience for me. The river provides a beautiful book that is always right there for everybody to read, but we each need to reach out and expand our powers to look, listen and feel in order to fully understand its meaning.

More about: River Philosophy & River Quotes.

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Monday, January 23, 2006


Wilderness Run, Cache Creek, Kayaking Jan 22, 2006.

Jim, Masaaki, Yuriko and I drove to put-in for the Cache Creek Wilderness Run hoping that there would be enough flow to get us down the first part of the run on the NF Cache Creek (Lake County & Yolo County, California, United States). When we got there we found a throng of rafters loading up their 12 big boats and enough flow for us all!! The release from Indian Valley Reservoir was reported as only 100 cfs, but the flow had to be at least 200-300 cfs. After dodging a zillion strainers on the North Fork we got to the main part of Cache Creek with a very rambunctious 3000 cfs. There we dodged another zillion strainers, but at least there was a wider path down the middle of the river and more room to avoid them.
Masaaki, Bruce and Yuriko kayaking on Cache Creek
Bruce kayaking on Cache Creek
(photos by JimH)

Jim has posted additional pictures from our trip on his account at Flickr.


The highlights of the day were definitely the wild life, and a lot of it was not us. There was the little incident immediately after put-in, but that boat got unwrapped very quickly. Then there was the sticky ledge hole hiding in the middle of the wave train. Well, one of us missed it on the right and one missed it on the left. Two boaters went into the hole and two swimmers came out - amazing. There were a few other out-of-boat experiences throughout the day, especially the last one just before take-out. Swimming to take-out is not ideal, but at least nobody swam past takeout. Amazingly no gear was lost in any of our carnage. That metal thermos almost escaped, but it was recaptured when it foolishly eddied out.

Oh yea, the other wild life. Well, we saw more than a dozen bald eagles. Some were hanging out in trees overlooking the river, while others were soaring with the greatest of ease. Lots more big birds were soaring off in the distance, too far away for positive identification. We also saw a coyote, some deer, lots of merganzers, a few Great Blue Herons, and a few hawks. Its amazing how puny the hawks look when there are so many eagles around.

Big Water

Overall it was a glorious warm sunny day with crystal clear air. We had nice lively class 2 and 3 whitewater with class 4 strainers. At this flow its a "big water" experience with some great big wave trains and some really interesting hydraulics on the eddy lines. There were few if any playspots at this flow, but with long miles and short daylight we weren't really looking for playspots anyway. It was unusual to see so many rafters, but we only saw two of them again as we went down river. Just a typical winter run with the river almost completely to ourselves. A nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Winters on the way home finished off a spectacular day. The power of the river has recharged my psychic batteries.

More about:
Additional trip report from Masa.
Whitewater kayaking trip reports.

(keywords: whitewater river kayaking, kayak, kayaks, kayakers, rafting, raft, rafts, rafters, Cache Creek, Capay Valley, Yolo County, California, USA)

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