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How To Name Your Kayak

A vastly underrated skill in the world of whitewater kayaking is christening your boat.

It’s critical to develop a bond with your kayak so that you are as connected as possible when you hit the river. Naming your kayak can be a fun, group-bonding exercise; it sets the tone for the time you and your kayak are going to spend together, and makes you more likely to take good care of it and always use grab loops when you tie it to your car (I mean, really, it’s hard to feel bad if ‘no-name hunk of plastic’ falls off the roof, but if beautiful, sleek, stylish, ‘Bianca’ falls off!?!? – oh no, not gonna happen, waaaay too tragic!)

Naming your kayak is also goofy and fun, so just do it!

Step 1: Assess the Qualities of Your Boat

Consider several characteristics of your kayak so that you can find a name fitting for your whip’s personality. Shape and color are paramount.

For example, you have a shiny new Orange Soda Ripper straight off the mould – dayummmn – that b!tch needs a fiery, sassy name to keep up with all the slicing and dicing that you and her are about to get up to.

Or maybe we’re talking about a Pink Fizz (probably the best color scheme ever used) Machno. Something joyful and fun might compliment all the treats and boofs that regal stunner is going to lay out.

Your boat may have some other quirks to consider when brainstorming name choices (where did it come from, have you already had an epic in it, is there someone/something it reminds you of, does it have fun grab handles, etc.) so make sure you keep all that in mind as you move forward in the naming process.

Momma T taking Mercedes out for a rip

Step 2: Brainstorm Some Names and Find Something That Fits (bonus points if it goes with a song)

With the personality of your kayak in mind, think through some names. This can be a soul-searching, solo endeavor, or an around-the-campfire-with-your-gurl-squad* activity.

If you’re struggling for inspiration, I highly recommend music; there is nothing like grooving to your ‘boat song’ above a rapid to get you pumped!

“What is a ‘boat song’?”, you may ask; well, upon receiving my Orange Crush Machno, I followed the steps above, and dubbed that baby “Roxanne”, or “Roxy” for short. Roxy is definitely a bad b!tch – humiliating the terrain and helping me skip out of even the most tumultuous of features – but sometimes when her stout rocker and confidence-inspiring hull isn’t enough to get me pumped for a stout, I like to belt out a couple of lines of her ‘boat song’, ‘Roxanne’ by The Police.

J Bohn humiliating the terrain in Roxy on Fantasy Falls

You might have an epiphany and just know that you’ve found a name that perfectly captures the temperament and tangible traits of your boat – crushed it. If this process is challenging for you, and you’re not quite sure if you can commit yourself to a name, proceed to Step 3.

*note – gurl squad is not a term used exclusively for women; it is inclusive of anyone who is down to have a sh!t-ton of fun, hike in s’mores to upper cherry (or wherever), sing Ariana Grande/TSwift/Yonce/Lizzo in the eddies above rapids, and not take themselves too seriously.

Step 3: Trial Period/Consult Your Friends

Test out your name(s). You’ll know if your boat is vibing with its new name if you’re out there styling lines, grinning, fist-bumping, high-fiving, and shrigging your pals.

Now get out there and have fun paddling your awesome new whip!