Development

I have some experience - how do I learn more?

The Wildwater Racing manual is an online resource containing very useful information. It is put together from input from the national coaches, and continues to evolve.

The new BCU star awards provide a great framework to improve on your understanding and skills to allow you to perform better and enjoy yourself more.

The Danger Zone book, available in a chapter by chapter PDF download from USA, is a great resource and possibly still the best book written about Wildwater Racing. Although it is some 20 years plus old - large sections are still very relevant - particularly the physiology and case studies.

The rivers FAQ will suggest some rivers, depending upon your skill level.

What rivers should I try?

Big question - it depends upon your skill level, and you location. In conjunction with your coach or a local mentor you can select a river which is appropriate for you. An example set of rivers - grouped by Entry Level, Lower Progressive, Upper Progressive, Experienced can be found in this FAQ

What type of events are suitable for experienced paddlers?

The National level events are held on the most demanding courses, suitable for skilled experienced paddlers.

Additionally class 'C' internationals in Europe are suitable for the experienced athlete to improve their skills and have some fun on continental water.

What is a regional coach?

A regional coach is an expert coach, regionally based who can assist local coaches to improve their understanding and enjoyment of WWR. 

I'm a club coach - how can the regional coach help?

The regional coach can help by increasing your understanding of the skill sets required for enjoyment of WWR, and how to train them. Each regional coach will have a preferred way of working, it may be a local visit to your club or perhaps a regional get together where more clubs can benefit from their knowledge.

I'm a playboater with good WW skills - what should I do?

You have the core WW skills, understanding of whitewater which is great.

The next step would be to have a go in a whitewater boat on some easy or flatwater, and then have a go on an easy river. Moving on from that, you may need to spend some training time in the whitewater racer, improving your forward paddling technique and conditioning. 

Contact your local WWR club to find out more about having a go at the great sport of wildwater racing.

I'm an experienced sea kayaker - what should I do to have a go?

As an experienced sea kayaker you have a number of key skills that will be directly transferrable to the wildwater racing boat. It should feel pretty familiar in terms of how to steer the boat, probably just a bit more unstable than your sea kayak.

Find a local club, and have a go in a wildwater boat on some easy water to see how you like it, you can of course always take it out on the sea as well! The progressive level rivers will probably be the best choices for your skill level. 

You will probably benefit from some training in the wildwater boat on flatwater to improve your forward paddling technique in the WW boat. Lessons learned here will transfer back into the sea kayak pretty well also.

I'm a slalom paddler with good WW skills - what should I do to have a go?

As a slalom paddler you have well developed wildwater skills, and an understanding of wildwater which is a great asset.

The next steps are to have a go in a wildwater racer on some easy water to see if you like it, and then you can select a more challenging piece of water to have a go at. One of the rivers from the progressive selection would be a good entry point for someone who is confident in WW.

The wildwater racing stroke is a little different from the slalom stroke, as you are able to utilise your back and legs a lot more in a WWR boat. Some training in the wildwater boat at a WWR or flatwater club will be beneficial to be able to develop a stronger forward technique. You may develop skills that will be of advantage to you when going back to the slalom boat. Wildwater racing is great for winter conditioning work and for forward paddling technique.

I'm new to canoeing - I'd like to have a go at Wildwater Racing

The best bet is to find a local club who can teach you the basics of canoeing first, see the BCU website for details of your local club. The BCU star awards are a good place to start, or perhaps the paddlestart programme for the younger paddlers. You can then have a go in a wildwater racer in easy or flat water to see how you like it.

I'm a flatwater paddler with no WW skills - what should I do to have a go?

As a paddler with a flatwater background you will have very strong skills in forward paddle technique. The wildwater racing boat requires a little adaptation from the pure flatwater technique - but overall it is very similar.

As a paddler without WW skills, getting an understanding of how rivers work will be key. Have a go in a wildwater racer on flatwater to see how you like it, and to understand how to steer the boat in easy water.

You can have a go on some very easy whitewater, and the BCU star awards will help a lot to assist you in getting a better understanding of rivers.