I beg to differ on the despair thing-- I feel no despair at all when kayaking. That's the beauty of it. Fear, yes, despair, no.
I'm with cayo and laurey- you 2 described it well.. kayaking absorbs you into the moment- you can't think about anything else when you are getting ready to take the plunge down the next drop.
"No theory, Just the perfect day, where you know your alive, and you enjoy the scenery and the feeling of the water and the mountains, and the adreneline of the river run... and every time your out, you never want to go home at the end of the day! That is why I love it. Like dancin', it hits your soul. Its who you are." ---I couldn't have said it better myself, Laurey