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Recover with style from a whitewater wipeout. When kayaking in big rapids, you never want to leave your boat, even when you flip over. Your boat is your island.

Darryl Leniuk/Darryl Leniuk

What's the deal?

Recover with style from a whitewater wipeout.

Where's it at?

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When kayaking in big rapids, you never want to leave your boat, even when you flip over. Your boat is your island. By learning to roll you can right yourself in any condition, from class-five rapids to big ocean swells. While the technique is essential for whitewater enthusiasts, it can also be applied to larger sea kayaks, though it tends to be more demanding.

Book a two-day Introductory Whitewater Clinic with Equinox Adventures in Southern Ontario's Elora Gorge. Under the watchful eye of an instructor, you'll learn strokes, safety tips and how to roll. The key is flexibility: Once you've capsized, lean forward to protect your face and head from the river bottom. Next bring your paddle to the surface, parallel to your boat and sweep in a powerful stroke while snapping your hips to generate momentum - without the hip action, you'll stay submerged. Follow through and keep looking at the surface until you're stable. Expect to flail for a while before nailing it.

Once you're competent, try your skills on the Grand River, a great learning spot with enough rapids to keep your heart racing. Stronger kayakers can paddle the Cheakamus River near Whistler, class-four rapids with a runnable five-metre-high falls called Balls to the Wall that is often featured in kayak videos.

Who's it for?

Whitewater paddlers, sea kayakers and even those daredevils crazy enough to try this in a canoe.

Equinox Adventures offers a two-day Introductory Whitewater Clinic ( equinoxadventures.com) in Southern Ontario's Elora Gorge. The cost is $195, equipment included.



Special to The Globe and Mail

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