Instruction and adventure
Our lessons introduce you to information and skills you need to paddle safely and confidently on the river. Under expert guidance, we let you put those skills to use in exploring a part of the river – the adventure part of it. You won’t be sitting and listening to lengthy lectures. We will get you into the action and be with you step by step as you expand your skills and experience. Once out on the water, you share a feeling of calm and bliss.
Skill level guidelines – how to know where to begin.
As a Beginner, you have little to no experience in a kayak. If the term “wet exit” is unfamiliar to you, you are a beginner. Your instructor will lead you through carefully considered learning steps as you paddle out onto the flat and easy moving water of the Potomac.
You are considered an Advanced Beginner if you have already tried paddlesports (river kayaking or sea kayaking) and are comfortable with wet exits and bow rescues. You also have been introduced to the basic strokes for steering your boat. An Advanced Beginner will be working on a moving water roll and mastering eddy turns, peel outs, ferrying, and maneuvering around rocks. These classes offer a good starting point if you have already had some instruction.
An Intermediate has a fairly consistent roll on flatwater and is working to improve it in more turbulent water. An Intermediate can maneuver their boat around rocks and keep their balance while paddling down waves. A Strong Intermediate is able to practice maneuvering in powerful class III whitewater (for instance the rapids between O-Deck and Rocky Island on the Potomac at around 3′).
An Advanced boater has a decent combat roll, can paddle class III rapids in good control, and is comfortable running the Lower Yough. An Advanced boater is ready to paddle Dickerson and work on the class IV skills needed for the Cheat, Gauley, New Rivers, and eventually the Upper Yough.
Rivers of greater difficulty than the Upper Yough fall into the Expert (class V) range.
We maintain a student to instructor ratio of 5:1 for all of our classes, and 4:1 for pool rolling classes and instructional trips. We also offer customized private and group lessons. Paddling is a great setting for parties or office outings.
Please arrive at least 15-20 minutes prior to class start time – the sooner we get into our gear, the more time we can spend on the water!
Classes run rain-or-shine, but we may need to postpone outdoor classes in the event of electrical storms. We will notify you if this is the case. If you have to cancel, we require 48 hours notice in order to reschedule your class or refund your payment. Please see our cancellation policy or call us if you have any questions.
We provide all equipment for all of our river classes, clinics and workouts on the Beginner level. Please see our equipment and rental policy for exceptions and details. Consult our list of “what to bring” to class to ensure you’re prepared for all classes.
To sign up for a class, please use the online registration system.