The act of viewing a rapid with the idea of running it. In this process, the paddler considers the rapid with the International Scale of River Difficulty and his or her own paddling skill. If based on this information, the paddler determines that she will survive and probably not dump, she will determine her route through before returning to her canoe or kayak.

Skilled paddlers may decide not to scout rapids they have run before, or rapids that are rated below their skill level.