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Not the Time for Canoeing, Kayaking on Swollen Rivers

FILE: Canoeing, Kayaking, Flooding, Rivers
Dan Collins/KIKN-FM

SIOUX FALLS – High water is not the time to explore your skills on the water in a kayak or a canoe.

That flowing water on the Big Sioux River or in Skunk Creek can look enticing to the adventurer, but this can be one of the most dangerous times to venture out in a canoe or kayak according to Cory Diedrich a member of the South Dakota Canoe and Kayak Association.

“We’re flat water paddlers. There’s not much white water here, although it’s moving faster. There’s a lot of debris in the river from the ice storm,” said Diedrich.

He said the river is full of broken branches and when you come around a bend and there’s a branch obstructing your path you only have moments to react and figure out how to get out of this situation.

“High water is not the time to test your skills. Rivers always demand your respect,” said Diedrich.

Diedrich has been paddling for nine years and said he’s not comfortable with the river in its current condition. He also is an advocate of wearing life jackets for everyone, on all rivers, all of the time.

Diedrich’s advice when canoeing and kayaking is to always stay alert and be vigilant in all water levels. “Never go alone. Go with people, go with a buddy and stay in visual contact of each other. The person in the back should always be able to see the person in the front,” he said.

For more about enjoying South Dakota by canoe or kayak go check out this information.

If you want to try your hand at paddling, the South Dakota Canoe and Kayak Association is having a Paddling Fair on June 9th from 1-4 pm at Family Park at West 12th St. and the Tea-Ellis Road. It’s free and there’s no registration for the event. Just show up.

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