"It's hard to be fearless," says pro kayaker Brad Ludden. "That's half the reason you do it." But to boost your confidence in big water, use these tips:
(1) It's OK to be nervous while scouting. But once you're in the boat, total CONFIDENCE is the only option.
(2) Look where you want to go. Cringing at those huge holes in your line can land you in them. FOCUS: Even Class V rapids have clear lines.
(3) PRACTICE the hard moves in easy rapids. Ferrying, eddy hopping, and surfing are the basics of every skill level. "When you've got it," says Ludden, "kayaking becomes a sort of meditation."