01690 720214

Hitting your lines successfully!

By Andy Grimes

Hitting a perfect line down a challenging white water rapid can be an amazing and rewarding feeling. For most, it's the culmination of a great deal of training and preparation in the build up to that moment.
In this small feature I hope to outline a few top tips that will hopefully give paddlers at any level the best chance for success when choosing and trying to hit the perfect line!

Tip 1 - Hold your horses!

Take the time to step back and look at the full picture in front of you. View all the possible line choices from as many different angles as possible. You never know you might have missed some useful features.

Tip 2 - Check it out

Hitting your lines successfully!

What are the crux elements of the rapid? Does the approach to the rapid set you up well or not for the crux feature/features! Where will you require any major well-timed strokes e.g. boof or power strokes to tackle these tricky features.

Tip 3 - Visualise

Assess the consequence of each line and the likelihood of you being successful. Visualise yourself paddling down each of the lines but be careful to be realistic in your ability level. If you can't see a positive outcome on a line, pick a different line or go away and have a brew.

Tip 4 - Break it down

Hitting your lines successfully!

Once you have picked the line that looks like it has the most chance for success it's time to break it down and view the individual elements and their possible effects on your boat. Pick obvious marker points along the rapid like large boulders or trees. Using markers can be useful indicators to help locate your line while on the run in to the crux part of the rapid and keep you heading in the right direction.

Tip 5 - Safety first

Hitting your lines successfully!

Do you need to put any safety in place, if so what and where (throw line, safety boater, both!). What happens if it goes wrong and I get pushed off my line, capsize or swim? What would be the safety protocols!

Tip 6 - Watch the pro's

Watching other more confident paddlers making the line first can be a useful way to see how the water affected their boat and line choice and compare with your own thoughts; you may be surprised!

Tip 7 - Failing to prepare, you prepare to fail

Hitting your lines successfully!

Take the opportunity to prepare yourself mentally as well as physically. There is no need to rush! Some people like to psych up others psych down whatever works for you but try to avoid getting sucked into other people psyching process. Get comfortable back in your boat, prepare your kit and have a paddle around in the eddy for a bit first to get comfy, warm and relaxed!

Tip 8 - The best bit of all

Hitting your lines successfully!


Tip 9 - Check yourself out

Review the outcome of you line, was it successful? If so why? Did the water affect your boat as planned? What went wrong and why? A friend filming you making the line on a camera can be a helpful way of reviewing your line from another perspective, but don’t get hung up on it! Watch the clip a couple of times then move on! Having a second and third run can be a nice way of polishing your line and skills.

Tip 10 - Keep a smile on your face

Hitting your lines successfully!


Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Find out what's going on at the National Mountain Sports Centre between any date range on this handy new search page

Adventure Sports
Coaching Conference

Adventure Sports Coaching ConferenceOur inaugural Adventure Sports Coaching Conference will seek to explore the role of coach developers in adventure sports performance.


Christmas and New YearOn behalf of all the team at Plas y Brenin, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a H....


Scottish Winter Courses 2018Starting January 2018, our Scottish Winter courses are timed to make the most of the incredible wint....


Winter WarmersAs the nights begin to draw in and the temperature starts to drop, Plas y Brenin are pleased to offe....


Peak Performance For Plas y Brenin Paddling TeamWe are delighted to announce that we've launched an exciting new partnership with kayak clothing man....


BMC Women Outdoors Week 5-15 Aug 2017Come and get active for the BMC's Women Outdoors Week here at Plas y Brenin. We have talks, activiti....

What's On In Our bar?

Our friendly and lively bar is open to the public. From talks and lectures to film nights and live music, there's always something going on. Find out what's coming up next here

Adventure Sport
Summer Camps (Age 12-17)

Summmer Camps For Young People Aged 12-17Young climbers, mountaineers, paddlers and mtb riders aged 12-17. Develop your outdoor skills with our top coaches on one of our residential summer camps.

Enhanced Learning Credits

Enhanced Learning CreditsThe Enhanced Learning Credit Administration Service offers funding for armed forces personnel. Plas y Brenin is able to accept ELCAS funding for a few specific non residential courses.

Weather Forecast, Tides and Surf Conditions

Find out what the weather's doing in North Wales over the next five days.

Adventure Map

Working alongside UCLan
to educate
outdoor professionals

University Of Central LancashireFind out how we are working with one of the country's top universities to develop lasting careers in the outdoors.