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  Whitewater Kayaking - tips for beginners by Anna Levesque

WhitewaterWeary? - With pro paddler Anna Levesque's tips, you'll be running falls in no time .

How'd you I like to sit in a small boat (white wearing a skirt) and bomb down the rapids of your, local creek, or the world's gnarliest rivers? According to a recent study by the Outdoor Industry Association more than 2 million people participate in whitewater kayaking every year. And white young men are the primary demographic attracted to kayaking lots of organisations are out to recruit women to get hooked on the sport. One of those organizations is Girls at Play created by pro kayaker Anna Levesque Originally from Canada but now residing in Asheville , North Carolina , Anna won a bronze medal at the 2001 World Freestyle Championships and is a five time Canadian Freestyle Team member. She racked up female first descents in California and on the White Nile River in Uganda . With a history of working in more than 10 countries as a professional kayaker and an international guide. Anna is a great source of information about kayaking whether you're new to the sport or jonesing to compete.

See wildlike up close

Get Your Feet Wet: Four Tips for Beginners

1) Take a kayak clinic from a reputable kayak school. The benefits of instruction are twofold you'll learn basic skills and safety and will become, familiar with the gear to make sure that you want to invest more in the sport "Remember that you can learn only", much from your friends and you don't want to pick up their hid habits it the beginning.' says Anna. Another option in to look into women's clinics which are gaining popularity because of their fun, friendly and supportive environment "When you're whitewater kayaking, you should always go out with at least one other person," Anna warns. -It's never a smart idea to go out by yourself, no matter how experienced you are' She recommends taking at least a weeklong clinic before venturing out with friends, And to to be on the safe side, try to paddle with a more experienced boater for an entire season before going our with people of the same ability-especially if you're all beginners


2 ) Find a support group. Anna says that most female kayakersprefer, an unhurried pace on the river and like in build group support by talking about the rapids and the different options 'Thisis different from how most men approach kayaking - especially if the men you're kayaking with are more experienced than you,'- she adds In the beginning be sure to find a good, supportive group of paddlers who are sensitive to your needs as a beginner and whoare out there to have fun, 'Too often I've seen women give up kayaking because their first few experiences on the river were with a group of male experienced men who were not conscious of the intimidation factor for beginners.'

3) Get fitted. When choosing a boat, it's important to understand the different designs and how they're meant to perform. Just because a boat is small doesn't automatically mean that it's a good boat for women. "If the paddler is a beginner or prefers stability. putting her in a small play boat can be counterproductive for her skill advancement and for confidence building.' explains Anna. She recommends a small river-runner boat like the Dagger Mamba 7.5. or the Dagger 7.8 for a beginner. Because most whitewater kayak designs, come in at least two sizes, you should be able go find a boat that truly fits.

The sea kayaker

4) Train physically and Mentally, Core strength and rotation are key in kayaking, so be sure to cross-train with yoga. Pilates andcore strengthening exercises. 'Kayaking takes more psychological strength than physical strength,' says Anna. 'so it's important to build your confidence.' She warns against falling into the habit of always following your friends down the river, suggesting that beginners learn to 'read' whitewater-looking at the rapid and recognising the safe path as well as the obstacles to avoid. According to Anna, even beginners can learn how to pick their own lines in class I and II whitewater and make their own decisions about what they will and won't run "A great way to learn how to read water is to look at whitewater with an instructor pointing out what you should he looking for." she says 'or by watching an instructional DVD such as my Whitewater Kayaking Basics for Women 1. "

Anna Levesque

Girls at Play LLC