Whitewater books to read …

Every sport has its accompanying literature. Although competitive rafting does not have a book yet from which to learn the basic techniques of the sport, there are still plenty of other books out there that make excellent reading. Whether you like to read for the entertainment value or to learn more about the sport there are some great books for you. 

BooksTo create this list of books we asked a few people for their recommendations: Joe Willie Jones (IRF President), Gaspar Goncz (IRF Guide Training  Assessor), the girls from “Raft Team Denmark Ladies”, a friend – Mike – from “Dirt Bag Paddlers”, and a few others.

This first list is aimed at manuals on how to run rivers. They are in a random order:

1. “The Complete Whitewater Rafter by Jeff Bennett … it is a bit dated but the best book about rafting that I know of.”

2. “River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety, 4th Ed by Les Bechdel and Slim Ray

3. “There are many good books, but most of them are partly outdated. Plenty of old school rescue techniques. The book I use and recommend is freshly updated: White Water Safety & Rescue by Franco Ferrero, 2nd edition

4. “The Guide’s Guide Augmented: Reflections on Guiding Professional River Trips, by William McGinnis. The best book for professional river guides.”

5. “Kayak: The New Frontier: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique, by William Nealy

6. “The Complete Whitewater Rafter By Jeff Bennett” – Covers all techniques of a Class V rafter

7. “Whitewater Rafting: The essential guide to equipment and technique by Graeme Addison

If you feel we’ve left any out – please let us know!

This next list are good reads about rivers and river rafting around the world.

1. Whitewater Philosophy By Doug Ammons – Philosopher and Class V kayaker, Ammons’ musings on life and paddling.

2. The Last River: The Tragic Race for Shangri-La, By Todd Balf – The tale of the first decent of the Tsang Po

3. Down The Great Unknown By Edward Dolnick – Tells the history of J.W.Powell’s 1869 first descent of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon

4. The Lost River By Richard Bangs – The memoir of a pioneer of international rafting expeditions.

5. The Exploration of the Colorado River and it’s Canyons. By John Wesley Powell – The original 1869 account of the first descent of the Grand Canyon

6. Whitewater Adventure: Running America’s Greatest Sceneic Rovers, by Richard Bangs – A giant pictorial of America’s great whitewater rivers photographed in the 1980’s

7. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, by Candice Miller – Teddy Roosevelt’s 1914 first descent of an upper tributary of the Amazon.

8. Brothers on the Bashkaus: A Siberian Paddling Adventure, by Eugene Buchanan. Four Americans, ten Latvians – on one of the wildest rivers in Siberia.

9. Anything Worth Doing: A true story of adventure, friendship and tragedy on the last of the West’s great rivers Paperback, by Jo Deurbrouck

10. Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World’s Last Unchallenged River, by Colin Angus, Ian Mulgrew

And here is a book that could help you with your training, to get fit for the racing season:

1. Fit to Paddle : The Paddler’s Guide to Strength and Conditioning, by Rocky Snyder

These are all great books about our sport of rafting with some good historical stories and extreme adventures.

But we are still missing a good coaching manual – so we encourage all instructors, athletes, and others, to come together and give us a good book that we can share for all lovers of this sport.