-- Last Updated: Oct-15-10 3:37 PM EST --
My suggestion is to take time over the winter to take rolling lessons. I don't have a solid roll and it limits the water I'll paddle.
Also, join a paddling club and take advantage of any classes they offer. While bumpy water is fun, you can get into trouble very, very fast. Do not underestimate the power of moving water. When things go bad, they go bad fast and you don't have time to think about what to do. You need to KNOW what to do.
Further, here are my patented rules for introduction to whitewater. Note that I am no whitewater guru. Class 3 is my max for kayaking. In class 4 or above, I want to be in a raft with someone a lot more knowledgable and capable than me in charge. That said, I'm not exactly a novice. Just a wuss.
1. When in doubt, paddle like hell.
2. The fastest way for a paddler to become a swimmer is to stop paddling.
3. Hug the rock.
4. Attack the wave like it slapped your momma.
5. Feet up. All the time.
It is no accident that the first two rules are different ways of saying the same thing.
If Dirty Ed chimes in... listen to everything he says.
Here's some class 4. Is this the kind of water you were in? Class 4 is pretty gnarly.
- Big D