World’s Best Whitewater River

The Project:

The goal is to determine the World’s Best Whitewater River!  We know that it’s completely impossible to determine what the World’s Best Whitewater River is, and it could be debated over for hours, however the goal is to see where our local rivers and rivers we have paddled fall in comparison with some of the other well renowned rivers from around the world.  This is strictly for fun and would hopefully generate a lot of conversation at takeout’s and around the world. 

The Plan:

We have narrowed down the river list to 64 rivers from all corners of the world.  We have probably missed some classics and other notable rivers but that is why we are doing this and maybe in future we could complete this project with 128 rivers.  The 64 rivers that have been selected have been set up in a “bracket”, similar to those you would see during basketballs March Madness.  These Rivers would be compared “Head to Head” style and based on the outcome the winning River would move to the next round.  Our goal is to find Whitewater Kayaking Pro’s and Semi Pro’s that have paddled any number of the rivers in the bracket.  Ideally the Paddler would have had to have paddled the two rivers that are going head to head in order to make a truthful decision.  As we get further into the bracket, we may use 3, 5, (or other odd number that will be predetermined) of paddlers judgement to determine the winning River that would move on, thus ending with a result of the World’s Best Whitewater River. 

The Judging:

First you would have to confirm that you have run both rivers being judged on, by no means are we going to check, we will take your word for it.  The first round may prove to be the most challenging as some of the rivers are not as popular as others or even on same continent.  Please pass this challenge on to other worldly paddling friends so that we get a good representation from all paddlers.  You will see on the bracket that there are numbers (1, (2, (3, etc.  These are the matches between each river, there are 63 in total.  You would email us the number you are judging on, your decision on which river moves on and a quick comment on why you chose it. 


  • Ottawa River vs. Gauley River – “A very close match between two heavy weights.  Both Rivers are large volume with tons of play, however Ottawa is iced over for 6 months of the year and 5000 Paddlers can’t be wrong. Gauley and its Festival for the win.”  Name of Pro
  • Youghiogheny River vs. Stikine River – “Both Rivers are juggernauts in the paddling community. One steep with whitewater paddling history, the other is just steep! But Stikine River squeaks by as it becomes more paddle-able by the masses and you can’t have a river win that 99% of the paddlers can’t spell.” Name of Paddler

The idea would be, have fun with it, there is no wrong answer.  We are aware that as we come down to the final rivers there may be amazing play river matched against premier creeking river, it will be up to those judging and their comments as to which one they prefer.  Look at it like this; If you had one day to paddle left, with the best weather, best levels, best friends, etc. which of the two would you choose? 

The Results:

Once I get the results, I would be updating the bracket, adding in the comments made by those paddlers making the crucial decisions and posting on the website (  Postings will also be put on Facebook under Worlds Best Whitewater River with the direction to check out the new website.  Discussions, opinions and arguments will be encouraged on FB as the results come in, but River results won’t be changed, as we will stand by the choice(s) made by the pros/paddlers.  Once we have determined the World’s Best Whitewater River (2020) we may go back annually and make changes to the concept. Examples would be adding in more rivers to start, having categories like “Best Play River”, “Best Creeking River”, “Best Festival”, “Best River in N.A., S.A., Europe”, etc., making a point system based on the river, having polls for each round and the ability for public to vote, there are so many options and variations on this concept, But that is for another day.