“Is Squirting for Me?”

This is a question anyone who’s had that “hmmm…that looks cool!” thought run through their head when they see a squirt boater doing his/her thing should really ask themselves. It can save a lot of pain and frustration, not to mention dollars, down the road if you take an honest, evaluative look at why you think it’s cool, what you think it could do for you, and if you’re really interested in stepping into the underworld with both feet.

First, the bad news…

Squirting is dangerous – no two ways about it. You are dealing with the reality of being in a kayak (or C-1) that, if cut properly, will be no more than 1-5% positively buoyant. A boat like this carries with it a whole pile of risks not found in a surface playboat…squirts are slow, they don’t float particularly well, they are somewhat more prone to breakage than plastic boats are, pinning in one could very well be a lethal proposition, and the ever-so-addictive nature of the mystery move can cause you to push yourself to dangerous limits as far as depth and duration go. If you’re going to take up squirting, you need to be aware of, and embrace, all of these risks and be willing to adjust your paddling style (and your attitude) accordingly. You must never, ever lose sight of the fact that the river is immensely powerful, a harsh and unforgiving master that can reward foolhardy moves with a one-way trip to a watery grave. To get the most out of squirting you must learn to work with it’s forces, not against them.

Apart from the danger element, squirt boats can be uncomfortable. They can be expensive to buy and/or fix. They aren’t the most practical craft to take down most rivers. You sit funny in them. Etc., etc., etc….

Now, the good news…

Squirt boating offers something that no other type of boating does: 3-dimentional access. Boats with volume are “trapped on the surface”, bound by the laws of buoyancy to a two-dimensional existence of backward and forward, left and right, but no up or down (down, down...). Squirt boats are by their very nature no more than big flashy lifejackets, and as such are the perfect vehicle for exploring the one area of the river that other boats can’t…the “underworld”. Once you discard the crutch of buoyancy, a whole new world of possibilities opens up!