liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Whitewater Readiness Quiz


This quiz is designed to help whitewater paddlers assess what class of whitewater you have the skills to run with success.  For each question, pick the answer that is most true for you now, not historically.  Rigorous and honest self assessment is difficult, but it may be your most important skill for longterm enjoyment in a risky sport.  If you are not honest with yourself, this tool is of no use.  Our abilities shift throughout life so keep checking in about what you can do, adjust your paddling choices accordingly.  You do not have to tell anyone else about your process. 

To take the quiz: Jot down a single number answer to each question, making a list that looks something like this: 1, 3, 2, 2, etc.  You should have a list with 11 numbers by the end.

  1. Rolling
    1. I roll most/all of the time in the pool but tend to bail in combat situations.
    2. When I flip on the river I immediately get into a tightly tucked set-up position and try a roll or a T-rescue.
    3. My roll is 90% or more successful on the river.
    4. I roll on both sides, have a hand roll, and can usually do one of those in a pinch.
  2. Ferrying
    1. I can get across mild currents efficiently.
    2. I’m confident doing a strong ferry across moderate current with turbulence.
    3. I can jet ferry across intense current and hit the other side where I want.
    4. I am comfortable using waves and holes to cross a rapid upstream from dangerous obstacles.
  3. Catching Eddies
    1. I catch the biggest eddy at the bottom of the rapid.
    2. I enjoy catching medium sized eddies in the middle of rapids.
    3. I like to sew up rapids by hopping from eddy to eddy all the way down.
    4. I am happy catching tiny eddies in weird places for strategic positioning or to get a view of what’s downstream.
  4. Reading Water
    1. I need someone to follow because I'm not good at picking lines.
    2. I usually follow through new rapids and feel OK leading through familiar rapids.
    3. I can find my way down a new class II.
    4. I pick my own routes in unfamiliar class III rapids without scouting or following.
  5. Playing
    1. I don't play because I don't want to flip over.
    2. I play at the best spots when I am in my playboat.
    3. I bow surf on waves when they have eddy service.
    4. I catch waves on the fly and drop into holes sideways for fun.
  6. Rescue
    1. I hate swimming rapids and often need help getting my gear rounded up.
    2. I am good at self rescue and often get my kit to shore before anybody shows up to help.
    3. I always carry a throwbag and deploy it without hesitation.
    4. I can extricate boats and people from pins in the river most of the time.
  7. Strength
    1. I need help loading my boat on the car.
    2. I can lift my own boat overhead and set it on a vehicle.
    3. I do shoulder and core exercises regularly because they improve my paddling.
    4. I can carry my boat 0.7 miles and then paddle and portage for 4 hours.
  8. VIII.Cardiovascular Fitness
    1. My most vigorous workout is walking.
    2. I run, bike or do cardio at the gym at least twice a week.
    3. I do aerobic paddling workouts like sprints, slalom, or continuous/high water whitewater runs at least twice a week.
    4. I can carry my boat four miles uphill then paddle big rapids without problems.
  9. Toughness
    1. I get emotional or angry when things don’t go well on the river.
    2. I am anxious sometimes on the water but manage my fear without requiring reassurance from others.
    3. I can take a bad swim or a beating on rocks/in a hole and still have a good day.
    4. I am cool as a cucumber and can function in life and death situations.
  10. Flows
    1. I let other people decide when the flows are right for a run.
    2. I know what CFS stands for.
    3. I pay attention to gauge readings for each run I do (maybe even log them) and study the runoff/release patterns.
    4. I carefully investigate flow recommendations and patterns for new runs and enjoy high and low water.
  11. Crew
    1. I participate in pick-up trips with people I find via the internet or clubs.
    2. The folks I usually paddle with are mostly weaker paddlers than me.
    3. I’ve had the good luck to fall in with a crew that’s stronger paddlers than me.
    4. I paddle regularly with a few friends who are strong paddlers and whose habits and idiosyncrasies are well understood.

Don't cheat yourself!  Write down your answers to all 11 questions THEN follow this link.



Tags: competence, honesty, kayak, risk, river, self improvement, whitewater

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