Can You Kayak Against the Current?

Can You Kayak Against the Current?

Many people want to try different stunts when kayaking. One of the stunts includes kayaking against the current.

Beginners often ask, can you kayak against the current? The answer to the question is a YES.

Can You Kayak Against the Current?
Can You Kayak Against the Current?

Can you kayak against the current?

One can kayak against the current. Although, kayaking upstream could be difficult.  Kayaking upstream requires much – and definitely much – more work.

Any person who has gone against the current and against the flow would affirm that. Then I will not dare to speak otherwise.

But,  there has to be a “but” – when paddling,  upstream would very much get the kayaker to his/her limits, the truth to it is, that cannot happen.

The kayaker should have faith in his/her paddling strength, know what is happening and study the water, though, this leads me to the next step:

How does a kayaker find out he/she is ready to maneuver the currents head-on and kayak upstream? What are the kayaker’s chances of being successful?

What to consider when  kayaking upstream?

V- shaped valleys, waterfalls, rapids, gorges – all are significant factors to consider. “Bottlenecks,” or narrow segments of the river that could “concentrate” the current, should be neglected.

As well as, items or hindrances that could affect the river and make water to flow around them in a different rate, likely quicker,  then care has to be applied when scaling these.

Water conditions, especially the river’s speed, it is the only most efficient factor for someone kayaking upstream.

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A river’s speed could be affected by the channel’s shape, the depth of water flowing by it, then the slope’s steepness.

The speed differs by the river’s course and could get high as 7 miles per hour, specifically in the upper reaches.

A strong wind could have a heavy effect on paddlers; the direction of the wind only could make or spoil the kayaker’s trip, for this, it should not be kept unconsidered.

The force of the current and the wind binding together could be bigger than what the kayaker could handle.

If the kayaker has the strong wind at the back, paddling upstream would not be very difficult.


The kayaker’s level of being fit and paddling knowledge has to sum up with the event. Countercurrent kayaking carries out a strenuous upper-body exercise that could help a kayaker in improving his/her technique, if one already has knowledge of the basics.

A kayaker should be certain of his/her ability and physical strength, become versatile with calmer currents before trying bigger and demanding waters.

Purchase the correct kind of kayak used in river running: it could make kayaking way easier.

If a kayaker should need a sturdy but agile, easily maneuverable, turn-on-a-dime kayak that falls under the shorter side. With its length measurements from 8 to 10 feet on average.

Is it hard to kayak upriver?

Commonly, almost all kayakers can paddle from 2 and 3 Miles per hour with little effort. For as long as the river’s current does not possess speed more than paddling speed, kayaking upstream should not be hard.

There are a few points that a kayaker should acquire to make upriver kayaking way easy.

Kayaking upstream might be hard but the good thing about it is that it could be done.

It might provide the kayaker with a bigger challenge exercise that will increase the upper body strength and strengthen the kayaker’s paddling skills.

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A kayaker might have thoughts if there are special skills or a better effective method to paddle upstream.

Truth be told, paddling upstream against the current could be hard and stressful. Paddling is definitely demanding in physical strength. This increases when the kayaker has to paddle over the currents.

Paddling over the current needs the kayaker to use his/her core and also add the upper body muscles than usually done when paddling downstream.

Due to the fact that paddling needs a definite amount of physical strength, the kayaker should stick to a daily keep-fit regime, even out of water.

The kayaker should ensure targeting the right muscle groups as identified in the video underneath.

How do you use a strong current in a kayak?


There are things that could be done to make paddling over currents way easy and safe.

Firstly, the kayaker must stock up on the conditions and surrounding that which the paddling would take place. This begins by organizing the adventure.

Plan your upstream paddling


While organizing a paddling adventure with an upstream part in it, endeavor to construct the adventure in a way that the upstream paddle starts the adventure.

For a better adventure, downstream paddling should be the end of the adventure.

This then erases the need for a physically demanding end to the adventure, since the kayaker will then be tired during that period.

Reading the river


The foundation of paddling upstream begins with studying the river. When a kayaker is paddling upstream, be certain to look out for the closest river gauge, this will inform the kayaker of the speed of the water flowing in.

The velocity of the water flow will aid in discovering the amount of strength that is needed in paddling against the water – although the length of the vessel has some effect on this.

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Some kayakers paddle at approximately 5 mph, however, do not panic when the water flows faster than this.

A kayaker could still paddle upstream over quicker flowing water, although the kayaker needs to be smart if he/she intends to beat the river.

Can You Kayak Against the Current?
Can You Kayak Against the Current?

Use the slower parts of the river

It does not matter what speed the gauge indicates that the river is flowing at, certainly, there have to be slower areas.

In most rivers, the slower sides might be at the edges close to the banks.

Although, look out for objects along these sides like strainers and sweepers (which was discussed in our article concerning kayaking during the night).

It is always easy to become tangled in objects close to the banks of rivers and it might be hard to come off when also battling with the currents.

Can you paddle a kayak against the current?

Paddling over the currents could be so stressful and strenuous. So while having an upstream paddling search out for eddies to have breaks.

The “V” shape in the water that points upstream, know that it is an obstacle like a heavy rock that slows the pace of the water is called an eddy.

The water in an eddy usually flows in the other direction of the current or it can be partially still. Such a place offers the kayaker a place rest to relax the muscles.