Do I need river kayaking experience


The race section of the Saco river includes several Class I and Class II rapids.  American Whitewater defines Class I whitewater as: 

"Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy." 

and Class II:

"Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class II+”."

Many competitors with limited whitewater experience race every year. We have safety volunteers most of the tricky spots. We strongly recommend that racers dress for the eventuality of swimming in the cold Saco river. Thermal protection in the form of a wetsuit or extra synthetic layers is necessary.  

We also strongly recommend joining the pre-race course familiarization paddle hosted by the White Mountain Swiftwater Rescue Team Friday evening before the race.  E-mail [email protected] for details. 

Was this helpful?