5 Things Whitewater Kayaking Will Teach You
Start writing a post
Sports

5 Things Whitewater Kayaking Will Teach You

Why and how one of the world's lesser known sports can change someone's life.

483
5 Things Whitewater Kayaking Will Teach You
Joseph Eaton

Ask anyone who's ever played a sport, "what did you learn from it?" They may include some intricacies pertaining to their sport alone, but more likely will shower you with life lessons which transcend the game itself-- kayaking is no different. The thing is, when it comes to baseball, football, etc. these lessons mean a difference in the win column. On the river, it can mean the difference between life and death.

1. Be humble

Swanny Evans

Whitewater will humble you, period. After a handful of successful kayaking trips, it's easy to become overly confident and take on a river that may be beyond one's ability given their skills and level of experience-- results can range from embarrassing to downright horrifying (I've been there), and may even bring about serious injury or death in the worst of cases. Particularly in today's social media climate, when it's impossible to log on to Instagram, facebook, youtube, etc. without seeing pictures or video of someone better than you (and I think this holds true beyond kayaking or sport in general), the urge to keep "charging" and constantly run bigger and badder whitewater is stronger than ever. Naturally, this all too frequently manifests in people learning modesty the hard way. Any kayaker will attest to this: just when you start to think you're better than someone, the river will bring you back down to earth, and it doesn't take class 5. Whitewater kayaking has an incredibly impactful way of humbling you-- a way that other sports just can't.

2. Learn from your failures

Larry Meisner

You often hear people say "trust the process", or "the path to success isn't a straight line", and I've learned that lesson a number of times throughout my experiences in whitewater kayaking. The element of said path to success that I find most vital (and ironically, most undervalued) is one's ability to grow from their failures. Failure on the river comes in all shapes and sizes. Missing a roll and swimming, messing up that trick you were trying to throw, blowing by an eddy, or even simply forgetting a piece of equipment-- these are all failures that I and many boaters out there have experienced, and we will likely continue to do so. Whether it's frustrating, laughable, dangerous, or whatever the case may be, it's important that even your most negligible screw-ups are taken in stride and used to your advantage. It's all a part of the process.

3. Be honest

Jack Frostad

Honesty can save your life. I've been in a few less than ideal situations on the river, but one really haunts me. Deep down, I knew I probably wasn't cut out for the river that day; however, I didn't tell my friends that. More importantly, I didn't tell myself that. I told myself I was good for this difficult section at high water, but I was scared. Not just a little scared, either-- that's natural. I was scared for my life. My decision not to take a step back and really be honest with myself and my crew had consequences. That day, the river pushed me around. I flipped a handful of times, and barely rolled back up in some places where a swim could've had dire repercussions. I put myself and those around me in a dangerous position, all because I wasn't honest with myself from the start. Fortunately, lessons like these don't always come in such dramatic fashion, but they sure do stay with you and exhibit themselves in sport and beyond.

4. Appreciate those around you

Larry Meisner

Possibly my favorite thing about whitewater kayaking is the community. Some of my best friends have been made on the river, and the reason is simple. When you paddle with someone, you're putting your safety in their hands just as they're putting their safety in yours. Of course, ability matters and it is ultimately your own job to use sound judgment in order to maintain your safety on the river; with that being said, water is an unpredictable force. Rescue scenarios may not always seem likely, but they happen, and often when you'd least expect them. There's a level of trust, appreciation, and teamwork necessary for a successful day on the river, and when you experience these things in such an intense way, it's only natural that the ability and willingness to express them in your everyday relationships increases exponentially.

5. Have fun

Joseph Eaton

Kayaking is a lot like life, but more intense. You'll win some, you'll lose some, you'll get scared, you'll get excited, you'll be surprised, you'll be amazed, you'll get frustrated, you'll be awe-struck. Why is it that we do the things we do? In 99% of the instances I can think of, humans' underlying motivation for doing just about anything is to have fun. Why do students spend hours in the library studying for tests? So they can get an education, acquire a job, and make money so that they can have fun. Why do we strap ourselves into small plastic boats and paddle ourselves down rapids, waterfalls and the like? If you're doing it for the right reasons, it's because you're having fun. I was kayaking in North Georgia with a group of friends not too long ago, and one of them said something that has stuck with me ever since-- "Even if you swim, you're swimming in a beautiful river in a beautiful place. I do that for fun when I'm not kayaking". While there's certainly rivers where swimming could mean big consequences and this thought process may need to be "adapted" per se, there's no doubt in my mind he has a blast each and every time he gets in his boat, and there's something to be said for that.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

7 Things Your Partner Can Do To Support You When You Have PCOS

Don't be afraid to ask for help or comfort if you need it.

5325

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may not be totally visible to the eye, which makes it a lot harder for your partner to understand what's going on with your body.

If you are in a relationship, it's important that you communicate your PCOS symptoms with your partner. I say "your" symptoms specifically because everyone's symptoms are different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Watched 'The Social Dilemma' And YIKES, I'm Terrified For The Next Generation's Mental Health

Millennials can remember a time without online social affirmation, but we may be the last ones.

2990
The Social Dilemma / Netflix

I've been in a media job for the entirety of my professional career. From part-time social media internships to full-time editorial work, I've continued to learn how to tell stories, write catchy headlines, and keep people interested. I believe working in media is a big responsibility, as well as a valuable way to advance our world.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

One Indictment, Three Charges, And No Justice For Breonna Taylor

We can't settle for this decision or a system that is fundamentally broken and unequal.

9835

On March 13, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her apartment by police who were executing a "no-knock" warrant. Since then, there have been rallying efforts both in the streets and on social media demanding justice for Taylor and keeping her name known.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I’m OK With Hooking Up On The First Date, But That DOESN'T Make Me Easy

2020 has been a crazy year. And yet, women being comfortable with our bodies still seems to be a big topic in mass media.

442

I'm an adult. There is no reason I can't have consensual sex with someone on the first date. It does NOT make me easy, and it does not mean I'll have sex with just anyone the first time I meet them.

Keep Reading... Show less

I was so excited to vote in my local primary election in August. I eagerly researched my local candidates, combed the newspaper for profiles and policy positions, and shared infographics on Insta about voting deadlines. I considered myself a keen voter.

Keep Reading... Show less

Nothing! There is no reason to feel guilty about food and nourishing your body. It's time to make peace with food and stop focusing on the "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong" because food does not have power over you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down With An Endocrinologist To Ask All My Questions About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

There are so many moving parts of hormonal health, so I went to an expert.

5646
Anjanette Tan

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts approximately 1 in 10 women. Any woman who has PCOS can attest to the fact that no two cases are the same — there are so many aspects of hormonal health that can impact a woman's reproductive health! For many, PCOS is a trial and error condition, with many doctors' appointments depending on the stage of life the woman is in.

This week I sat down with Dr. Anjanette Tan to get the expert opinion on all my PCOS questions. Dr. Tan is a board-certified endocrinologist who's worked in private practices since 2004. She currently works at the Diabetes and Thyroid Center of Fort Worth, one of the largest all-endocrine practices in the area, where she is the managing partner and head of clinical research.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

This $40 Silk Sleep Mask Gives Me The Best Sleep I've Ever Had — I Never Go Anywhere Without It

Crane And Canopy just redefined the meaning of "beauty sleep".

4191

- Since I can remember, I've always been a light sleeper, with the quietest sounds waking me up, and I regularly wake up with the sun.

- While talking to a gynecologist friend of mine, she mentioned the importance of using an eye mask for quality sleep, which regulates hormonal levels.

- I was serendipitously sent the Crane & Canopy Silk Sleep Mask almost right after that conversation and was honestly reluctant to try it after testing other sleep masks that felt uncomfortable and irritated my skin.

- This sleep mask was extremely comfortable, and for the first time in nearly a decade, I slept in far past when I usually do on the weekends and woke up feeling more refreshed than I can remember — I've worn it nearly every night since then.

The older I get, it seems that sleep becomes an increasingly important topic of conversation amongst my friends and me. Yes, of course we complain about how tired we always are, but the pattern seemed to be a lack of sleep on the weekdays followed by late nights and sleeping in on the weekends without any solution.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

The Self-Care Kit Every College Student Should Have Handy In 2020

Make sure you have everything you need to relieve some tension.

2348

As college students, sometimes life can be overwhelming. Four tests in a week and you only passed one of them? I feel that. Days like that, you just need time for yourself. A time where you're nice to yourself and put your own self-care before anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

The Smile Project Just Launched An Ambassador Program, And I Can't Wait To Get Started

Looking to shift your perspective, be happier, or just get involved in something truly amazing? Look no further.

1756

The Smile Project is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading happiness, founded by Elizabeth Buechele. It all started on a random day in the fall of her senior year. She was driving home from school when this thought crossed her mind: "Day 1: Happiness is…those perfect car rides where the radio just plays all the right songs."

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments