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WHITEWATER RAFTING VS. KAYAKING

a raft on the water

Water sports enthusiasts—and even first-timers—can find great joy in whitewater rafting and kayaking. While the two sports are different, they both offer action-packed paddling through the river. Explore the differences between these sports and see which is more suitable for you and your family.

WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES?

A kayak is a canoe-shaped boat and is usually fit for one paddler. Kayaking is best suited for someone looking for solo activity. You’ll use a double-bladed oar to make your way through the water while sitting in the kayak facing forward with your legs in front. Whitewater rafts, on the other hand, are flat, inflatable boats ideal for group outings. They’re a fun team activity where everyone can help with paddling. Nine people row together, with one sitting at the back and four rowers stationed on each side.

WHICH IS SAFER?

While you get to enjoy more control of a kayak and move quickly, kayaking becomes dangerous if you run into rough water or landscapes. Whitewater rafting offers fun challenges on various degrees of rough water, often with a guide to help ensure everything goes smoothly. In case you encounter any challenges while rafting, you and your group can collectively take control of the boat and guide it to shore. If you’re thinking about safe water sports for kids, rafting on calmer tides is an excellent option.

WHAT ARE THE SKILL LEVELS?

Kayaking generally requires more skill compared to whitewater rafting, given that you’ll be steering it on your own and at a faster speed. From holding the paddle to stroking and dealing with wind, Kayakers need to know the correct way to hold the paddle and steer to correctly navigate the water. In whitewater rafting, less skilled rafters can depend on the experienced ones to calm the boat and steer when they experience rough tides.

WHAT GEAR IS REQUIRED?

Both activities require similar, simple gear. With a life jacket, clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet, and paddles, you’re set. Depending on the weather, you may choose to dress in layers or go for lighter clothing.

Ready to get on the water? River Recreation offers guided whitewater rafting through the beautiful rivers in the Monitor, WA area. Our state-certified guides will help ensure you and your group have a safe and memorable experience. Book your adventure today!

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