teamjk 27/08/2018 | Posted in rivers, Trip Reports, Trips, Whitewater
1. Iceland has whitewater for all skill levels of paddlers. From class III on rivers like the West Glacial River and the Gullafoss Canyon of the Hvita River, to class V runs and waterfalls like the Keldua River and Aldeyjarfoss. Iceland is a paddlers dreams. Albeit the rivers are cold but the whitewater is exceptionally good.
2. Iceland is by far the most unique country I have ever been to. The changes in landscape on such a small island is incredible. Highway 1( the ring road) runs around the entire island and every 100km or so you see drastic changes in scenery. An unfathomable amount of rivers and waterfalls are on this road, along with beautiful snow capped mountains, volcanoes, black sand beaches, glaciers, lakes, and tundra. Coming to the island without kayaks is worth it, so adding paddling makes Iceland one of the great destinations on the planet.
3. Paddling on a glacial lake. Along the southern part of the country there are two glacial lakes that are absolutely breathtaking. We paddled among massive icebergs and got an absolutely stunning up close view of the Hvannadalshnukur glacier. Who knew flat water kayaking would be such a highlight in a land filled with whitewater.
4. If you are looking to practice running waterfalls Iceland is your spot. There are so many waterfalls in the 10-30 foot range that are perfect for dialing in those small movements and angles that are so necessary for kayaking waterfalls. Tjofafoss ( the waterfall of theives) and Godafoss( the waterfall of the gods) were two drops that stuck in my mind as great training drops.
5. If you want to go big. You can go big. Really big. One of the most infamous waterfalls in the sport of kayaking is Aldeyjarfoss and everything about it lives up to its reputation. Very big and powerful with no room for error. Along with that there are rivers like the Keldua and Djupa which will push any kayaker to the max.
6. Iceland is pretty easy logistically if you plan your trip prior to arriving. Picking up a rental car was very easy. Just a few km from the airport. Choose which direction you want to head on the ring road first and go from there. There is great kayaking in every part of the country. If you are not 100% dialed on what to do and where to go first head to the great people at Viking Rafting in the Northwest and they will get you sorted out. If you are dialed on logistics make sure you still stop by Viking at some point and visit with them. They love kayakers and they will show you down the epic class 4 section of the East Glacial River!
7. You don’t have to spend more than two weeks in Iceland to have a great trip. The great thing about a small country with an abundant amount of whitewater is that you only need a short amount of time to paddle your heart out. We spent two weeks on the island and I felt like that was a great time period.
8. DON’T LET THE RUMORS FOOL YOU. Yes, Iceland is the most expensive country in the world but there are ways around spending a fortune while you are there. Buy groceries responsibly and go with a crew. Kayaking is more fun with your friends anyways so grab a group of friends and expenses won’t be outrageous. Or if you have money to blow then go for it because the country is worth it!
– Evan Moore