Jagged rocks and rushing rapids: a recipe for fun

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Joe Kaiser, Sports Editor

 

If given the opportunity, you probably wouldn’t want to do any activity in which you ran the risk of drowning and breaking your skull against jagged rocks. For most people, this is normal. Some people, however, are not content to play sports like football or rugby. These sports are too safe for such intrepid spirits. They are the ones who take on whitewater kayaking.

Whitewater kayaking is the sport of kayaking on moving bodies of water. (Personally I find it tricky enough to navigate a kayak on still water.) The sport is broken down into five categories: riverrunning, creeking, slalom, playboating and squirt boating.

One of these might sound straight-forward: playboating, or the art of doing tricks on a river. These include aerial loops and the like. In playboating, one must fight the current to stay in a place, such as a hole or a pour-over, that allows for these feats. Squirt boating is similar to playboating with the exception that the boats are made so that the kayaker and his kayak can stay submerged for up to half a minute after diving. Sounds fun, right?

Slalom is similar to ski slalom. In this category, the kayaker must maneuver through a series of gates in order. This is the only whitewater kayaking event that is played at the Olympics and is classified by the speed and difficulty of the water.

The last two categories, riverrunning and creeking, are more similar to each other than to the other events. Both are races down a river. The rivers these sports are played on, however, are not like the winding rivers of Dallas County. They feature such things as vertical drops, waterfalls and dangerous rock faces on both sides.

Creeking is considered the more difficult of the two. It features Grade IV to VI rapids and includes all the fun, adrenaline-riddled obstacles of normal riverrunning.

If Dallas ever becomes too oppressive and you feel like breaking out of the Bubble, why not break out

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