Rapid’s Most Popular Whitewater Stories From 2016 | Rapid Magazine | Rapid Media
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Whitewater kayaker Pat Keller stands in a field with two fairies in Steve Fisher film "With You" Steve Fisher/With You

The whitewater videos, stories and news that you loved the most in 2016

2016 was an exciting year in the world of whitewater. From Jackson’s new kayaks to a truly unique kayaking film by Steve Fisher to exciting T-Formex news, there was a lot to love about the last year. We rounded up the most popular articles on Rapidmag.com for you to enjoy.

1. Sneak Peak: Jackson’s New Whitewater Kayaks

Rapid readers were extremely interested in getting a first look at two new whitewater kayaks from Jackson in August 2016. The new offerings are the Antix, a playful creeking and river running kayak, and the Nirvana, a fast and race ready creek boat. Stay tuned to Rapid’s Spring 2017 issue to read our review of the Antix, which we enjoyed squirting and surfing in at our local play wave.

Jackson Kayak's Antix, a playful river running kayak in a blue green color

2. 10 Things That Will Happen When You Learn To Whitewater Kayak

The learning curve for whitewater kayaking can be seriously steep. Everyone who has been through their first season of paddling big water can identify with the array of experiences we highlighted in this popular article. Ever been stuck in your dry suit? Us too. What about getting stuck in a hole? Of course. We can’t forget the quest to get your roll that feels like it will never end, until one day you flick your hips and sweep your paddle just right and find yourself upright. Welcome to the club.

A whitewater kayaker in a green boat rolls from upside down.

READ MORE: 9 Most Important Skills For Whitewater Paddlers 

3. Why Going Bigger Makes Our World Smaller

This article was originally written for Rapid’s Fall 2015 issue, but when we posted it again in 2016 it got serious traffic. Doug Ammons argues that the fast progression to bigger and more difficult rapids isn’t everyone’s paddling goal. He explains that while it’s exciting to see the sport evolve, there are consequences when new paddlers begin to think in clichés.

A kayaker rides a big waterfall.

4. Video: Tips and Tricks For Rolling Your Whitewater Kayak

Learning how to right yourself while upside down in water is a serious skill. If you’ve ever had an experienced paddler try to explain it to you, you may be familiar with the utter confusion this can bring. Having a clear and slow visual example that you can watch again and again is a valuable resource.

A screenshot of a video showing a whitewater kayaker rolling their green kayak.

5. First Esquif T-Formex Canoe

Esquif’s first T-Formex canoe was serious news in the whitewater world. After PolyOne stopped producing Royalex, whitewater paddlers wondered where their material of choice would come from. After bankruptcy and reinvestment, Esquif was able to produce the all-new material T-Formex, and readers were stoked to learn about it.

Jacques Chasse of Esquif stands in front of a canoe built using T-Formex.

6. How To Escape A Hydraulic

Being stuck in a hole can be terrifying. The constant recirculation and feeling of staying in one spot while the river and your friends rush past you is disorienting and scary. Even being trapped for 20 seconds can feel like forever. Stay calm and follow these expert tips for extracting yourself from these river features.

A whitewater kayaker demonstrates how to escape a hydraulic

READ MORE: Top Five Places To Work As A River Guide This Winter 

7. 30 Essential River Running Skills

Whitewater enthusiasts seem to really love lists. Perhaps its all that time making gear lists while preparing for a park and play or a multi-day river trip.  Some of our most important river running skills include hand paddling, punching holes, boofing and seal launching. See what else we think is key here.

A whitewater kayaker surfs a wave on a river in winter.

8. Never Swim Again

Articles on rolling are always popular on Rapid. We can understand why. Making it successfully through a set always beats being separated from your kayak and paddle, not to mention the requisite bootie beer. Learn expert tips from three pros who want to help you bombproof your roll.

An underwater of a whitewater kayaker trying to roll up.

9. Pat Keller, Fairies and Blindfolded Kayaking In New Steve Fisher Film

When we saw this unusual whitewater film from Steve Fisher, we knew we had to speak with him to get the backstory. Fisher shared the motivation for the powerful storytelling and narrative featuring professional kayaker Pat Keller.

Whitewater kayaker Pat Keller stands in a field with a ferry in Steve Fisher's film "With You"

10. 7 Tips For Great Whitewater Etiquette

Being a river rat is cool. Being a rude river rat is not. It’s surprisingly easy to pull off a faux-pas on the river. Read our tips for practicing excellent etiquette, whether you’re at the put-in, on the river, at the take-out or running shuttle. 

A whitewater kayaker in a red boat is shot from above.

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