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Refreshing River Safety

Reviewing your Swiftwater Safety!


Looks like we have been lucky enough to reach the greatly heralded spring snow storms! With every new storm our chances of having a healthy whitewater season increase, so keep up those snow dances!

Most likely the spring runoff will come in like a cheetah chasing a gazelle. Since most of us were not lucky enough to have spent the winter paddling in Costa Rica or another exotic venue we might be a bit rusty on our safety. Here is a great video series which outlines some of the keys to successful swiftwater safety! Video.

After a long day of shredding the deep and steep of our soon to be amazing spring runoff, take a minute to review your swiftwater safety. When was the last time that you took a swiftwater safety class? Has it been more than a couple of years? How often do you get together with your friends to practice?

Spend a night or two going over the fundamentals of swiftwater safety:

1)      Check your gear – Do you have the entire necessary gear ready in your paddling gear?

2)      How about your scene safety? Do you remember what to look for and how to manage a scene?

3)      How are your knots? Do you remember how to tie all of the knots that you need to know for a rescue situation? Can you tie them after holding your bare hands in cold water for a couple of minutes?


These are just a few simple exercises that you could do to help you prepare for the soon to come spring runoff and kayaking season. The Colorado runoff is cold and fast, situations can turn form fun to epic story in a matter of seconds. Make sure that you are fresh and ready to use all of those skills that you learned in your last swiftwater rescue course. When was that by the way?  More than two years ago? You should really take a refresher. Remember that your life depends on your paddling partner’s ability to save you, how much do your paddling friends remember?

If you would like to experience the greatest swiftwater rescue/safety class in the Denver area check this out /kayak-lessons/river-safety-and-rescue-classes/aca-swiftwater-rescue-clinic/

A Day in Costa Rica Kayaking

What is it like kayaking in Costa Rica?

Well for starters you have to wake up. When on vacation it is always hard to get up in a warm and beautiful place full of exotic birds and wonderful people. Once you are up it is time for the amazing Mi Tierra world renowned breakfast and oh that sweet Costa Rican coffee.Costa Day Breakfast

After a brief time hanging out at the wonderful Mi Tierra it is off to the river somewhere. Interesting thing about Costa Rica is that all of the rivers are rain fed and so the levels can change daily. Unlike Colorado kayaking when you know that you have a certain window for rivers and then you can plan, in Costa Rica it is a daily or every other day decision. Of course under the amazing guidance of the Costa Rican whitewater guru Cacho and owner of Hotel Mi Tierra you can really never go wrong.

Load up the rig and head out for some always adventurous driving and time with the locals on the back roads of Costa Rica.Costa Driving 

With countless rivers and more being kayaked every year in Costa Rica there is really something for everyone. There are many great and scenic class 1 and 2 rivers with bountiful wildlife along the jungle filled banks.Class 2-3

To bump your skills up a bit more there are wonderful clear water class 3 sections that will keep you on your toes and bring you to even more remote and wonderful locations throughout Costa Rica. For the solid kayaker there are plenty of amazing and breathtaking class 4 and 5 sections on multiple rivers.Class 4 Kayaking Costa

Whatever your skill level there is a section and a river for you to fill your soul with the great bliss of kayaking in the wonderful Costa Rican mountains and jungles. For those who can keep their beach edge up the kayak surfing in Costa Rica is absolutely phenomenal and the home of the world championships in 2009.

After a great drive through the wonders of Costa Rica it is time to jump in your kayak and head out on the water on a section that truly meets your skill level or with the accompaniment of your amazing Renaissance Adventure Guide maybe push your limits a bit. After a long day of kayaking of course you have to fill your belly with some more wonderful food from the local establishments, luckily for everyone Cacho always knows the best places to eat that will not take away from your next day if you know what I mean.Eating out

The rivers of Costa Rica are breathtaking and full of adventure at every turn. The wildlife is of the likes that you will never see in Colorado.Frog

At the end of a long day you can always hang out at hotel Mi Tierra and practice your roll or work on your Spanish, or investigate the great culture of Alajuela Costa Rica!


I hope you enjoyed this day in the life of the Costa Rica trip, please come and join us in this amazing place in the future. In addition to whitewater kayaking in Costa Rica we also do sea kayaking adventures and kayak surfing adventures. New this year to the Costa Rica line up of fun is Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding.


Be safe have fun and travel at every chance!

Written by: Marcus RhodenHill Guide/Instructor.

What to Wear: Kayaking in Colorado and Costa Rica

We all love white water kayaking! Whitewater kayaking in Colorado and around the world in places like Costa Rica involves the same basic water skills however, very different temperatures leads to very different gear. Layering and great gear is the key to fun, safety and happiness on the river. The key thing to remember is that you need to dress for the swim and not for the temperature of the parking lot. This means that you should check the temperature of the water and make a well thought out decision. What are the chances that you will swim? Do you swim regularly? If so, check out or rolling classes. Remember that everyone swims; kayaking is simply just the time you spend in your boat between swims. Always wear your helmet, PFD and your skirt.

What to wear depends on the water temperature:

Really Cold Water – I had no idea what happy paddling was like in really cold water until I wore my first dry suit. After testing several dry suits and hearing the reviews of friends I would recommend the Kokatat GMER dry suit. This suit has been the pride and joy of countless kayaking adventures. The model shown is the men’s version, for females the same model works if you utilize this great device the Freshette or read about the many other options. Under this great water proof Gore-Tex shell, you would have to layer. The base layer is truly the most important. For the men the Kokatat full suit liner works great. The same liner will work for women or there is a women’s specific Kokatat full suit liner. Of course in a bind you can always just order fleece adult pajamas! On those really cold days I will wear another  Mysterioso long sleeve or the short sleeve layer under my full suit. Having warm feet is a crucial; I always wear SmartWool socks which are thin and able to fit comfortably in my boating shoes. As far as boating shoes go there is no better rubber out there than Five-Ten Water Tennie, of course you should wear whatever is the most comfortable for you. You loose 50-60% of your body heat through your head, having a hat is crucial to success and can even save your friends life. I prefer the Kokatat Surf Skin hat, I usually carry two of these. Lastly you need to cover your hands, many people prefer gloves and some people prefer the poggie. Truly it is up to you and what you feel comfortable wearing and paddling with. A great selection can be found at NRS.

Cold Water – If you own a dry suit this will cover you here. If not than a wet suit is ideal NRS has a great selection. Under this wet suit I prefer the Mysterioso long sleeve or the short sleeve model. Of course on top of all of this you will want to wear your favorite dry top. Everything from above also applies here.

Late summer water – Late summer is great hot days and warmer water!!! Depending on how cold you get a short sleeve top can get you buy or your dry top. Some of those people who are truly warm blooded can get away with just a PFD. My honest advice is to dress for your own personal thermometer, if you get cold easily than wear a bit more, if you plan on spending more time upside down than wear a bit more. Remember in your dry bag you can always stash another layer and throw it on if you get cold, assuming that you have a splash jacket or dry top.

Costa Rica Water – My experience here is that I wore a Mysterioso fleece, Kokotat shorts and a pair of board shorts, a dry top on some days and on some days I would just wear my dry top and the board shorts wishing that I had a great shorty. We spent time in the mountains and time in the coastal regions and both were different.

Remember that you should always dress for the swim. See you on the water!!!

Written by Marcus RhodenHill Instructor with RAGuides

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