Basic Whitewater Kayaking River Features

Know How to Identify Whitewater River Features

One man kayaking against rough white water in yellow and red kayak
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Whitewater paddling is obviously an exciting yet dangerous activity. The main concerns lie in the water and the water features themselves. It is therefore crucial that the whitewater kayaker, canoeist, and rafter know not only the terminology for whitewater river features but also how to identify them as well as be able to communicate them to other whitewater paddlers. Here is a list of the most common river features and hazards that whitewater kayakers, canoeists, and rafters must know.

Whitewater Classification


Continuous Whitewater




Wave Train

Hole or Recirculation


Drop and Ledge



Very generically, a line in whitewater is the path that the paddler will want to take through any rapid, wave, hole, or other river feature.