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Whitewater Kayaking + SUP

Paddle class II-IV rapids on the world’s largest manmade whitewater river.

Paddle class II-IV rapids on the world’s largest manmade, recirculating whitewater river. The Wilderness Channel features standing waves, holes and powerful eddy lines, while also splitting into the pool-drop Instructional and Freestyle Channels. The Competition Channel has a steeper, more continuous nature that culminates in Big Drop.

Green CircleNovice
Blue SquareIntermediate
Black DiamondExpert
Options
Difficulty i Green CircleNovice Blue SquareIntermediate Black DiamondExpert
Qualifiers

Whitewater Kayaking

Difficulty:
Age: Prerequisites*

Whitewater Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Difficulty:
Age: Prerequisites*

Prerequisites

The Whitewater Center defines an experienced kayaker as one who has experience in Class III whitewater and owns all of their own kayaking equipment. If you are not an experienced kayaker, we offer instructional packages.
Difficulty:
Age:

Pass Options

  • All Access Pass (Day Pass, Two-day Pass, Annual Pass)
  • Single Activity Pass

Kayak Instruction

Private lessons and group instruction is available to learn and develop paddling skills.

What to Wear

Personal Gear

Guest must provide all whitewater specific gear including PFD (Personal Flotation Device), paddle, boat, helmet, and spray skirt.

Where to Check-in

River Center

Kayak center, building, food and beverage, labor day
activity-checkin-river-center

FAQ

What is the difference between whitewater and flatwater kayaking?

Whitewater kayaking is performed in rapids of varying difficulty using specific kayaks. Flatwater kayaking is done on calm bodies of water using recreational style kayaks. Flatwater requires little or no experience while whitewater kayaking requires instruction, prior experience and specific equipment.

Flatwater kayaking is included in the Annual Pass, Day Pass, and Single Activity Pass and takes place on the Catawba River. Whitewater kayakers may access the whitewater channels with the purchase of a Day Pass or a Single Activity Pass.

Do I need previous experience to whitewater kayak at the USNWC?

You must be an experienced kayaker to paddle our channels. We define an experienced kayaker as one who has experience in Class III whitewater and owns all their own kayaking equipment.

If you are not an experienced kayaker, we offer kayaking instructional packages.

What kinds of kayaks are permitted on the whitewater channels?

Whitewater-specific kayaks and canoes are the only boats, other than guided rafts, that are allowed on the whitewater channels. Private inflatable crafts that are whitewater-specific, such as Catarafts (Shredders, Paddle Cats) and Inflatable Kayaks (Duckies) are permitted. Please note that there is a limit of 2 people per private craft. Private rafts, oar rigs, and framed inflatable crafts are not permitted regardless of size.