1-day Novice Whitewater Kayak

Kayaking Trips for Beginners: Beginner River Run

So you're curious about whitewater kayaking, but don't want to commit the time if it's not the sport for you. This is the perfect place to find out. In our 1-day Novice Kayak clinic you'll paddle a whitewater kayak. In the morning we'll take you through the basics of flatwater kayak strokes and maneuvers so that after lunch you can get a taste of the river. Our river time will focus on fundamental river skills such as leans, setting angle and performing eddy turns and peel outs. Our games-based learning approach make kayaking fun right from the start and has helped bring thousands of new paddlers into the sport.

We offer this clinic starting every Saturday from June 10th through August 25th with exceptions on 6/30, 7/7, and 7/21. Use the availability widget below to find individual clinic dates.

Price: $139.00 per person includes all equipment, instruction, catered, picnic-style lunch and transportation from our base to and from the paddling sites.



What To Expect & How to Prepare

Goal of the clinic:

To teach beginner paddlers the basic skills of river kayaking in whitewater kayaks and to start them on a path toward confidently paddling on their own.

Who should take the clinic:

People who want to try out the sport of whitewater kayaking and learn some of the basic skills of river kayaking in whitewater kayaks. Our minimum age for these clinics is 14.

What will be covered:

After orienting students to the boats and gear, we cover basic maneuvering strokes, exiting the boat safely and leaning the boat on flatwater.   We then move to the river where we cover basic whitewater safety and run a class I-II section of the river.

Trip Details

A Typical Paddling Day

1-day Novice Kayak Clinics meet at our base in Charlemont, MA at 9:00 AM and finish around 5:00 PM. Your instructors will encourage you to push your limits. There may be specific rapids where options will be presented, but the instructor will have final say as to what each river runner may decide to do. Each student will have their own boat and will be expected to carry it from the vehicle to the water and back.

You will be spending somewhere between four and five hours in your boat. You will be sitting with your legs stretched in front of you. To prepare, you will want to stretch your thighs, hamstrings and torso (back, stomach, shoulders and neck). Increasing your flexibility allows you to develop more efficient strokes, and be more comfortable in your boat. The book “Stretching” by Bob Anderson is an excellent reference for specific stretches.

Clothing/Gear

What should I wear?

While some of the flatwater areas we use are quite warm in June, July and August, the Deerfield River is always cool, regardless of the time of year or air temperature. When packing your paddling clothes, please plan accordingly, especially if you are coming early or late in the season (April, May, September and October). Our clinics will run rain or shine.

Wear items such as :

  • synthetic long underwear, garments made of plypropylene, capilene, or some polyester/spandex blend.
  • fleece or wool socks
  • bathing suit
  • fleece or wool jacket/sweater (early/late season or if you tend to chill easily)

Other items to bring.

  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • retaining strap for glasses
  • nose plugs
  • towel
  • required medications
  • extra money for snacks, t-shirts, or coin operated showers.

Zoar Outdoor will provide:

  •  boat
  •  wetsuit
  •  paddle jacket
  •  booties
  •  life jacket
  •  helmet
  •  paddle
  •  sprayskirt

We provide a catered picnic-style lunch on all our clinics.  Typical lunches include homemade rolls, sliced turkey, ham or other meats, sliced cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, chips, salsa, hummus, pasta or other salad, cookies or other dessert and hot and cold drinks.  

The following statement is required by state law: "Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy."

We do not use nuts in our food, but can not guarantee that the ingredients in our meals do not contain nuts or other food allergens. If you have food allergies or other special dietary needs, we strongly suggest you bring your own bag lunch in non-glass containers and we will pack it with the other lunches on your trip. Please inform our office at 800 532-7483 or info@zoaroutdoor.com if you intend to do this.

(If you own your own equipment, we suggest you use it in the clinic to get used to its quirks.)

Getting Here

From Boston:

  • Take Route 2 west. Where Route 2 merges with Interstate 91 in Greenfield, take 91 south, but be sure to exit again onto Route 2 west at the next exit (exit 26).
  • Zoar Outdoor is about 17 miles west of this exit. We’re based in a red colonial on the north side of the road. Look for the blue, white and green sign.
  • Driving time from downtown approximately 2 1/2 hours.

From New York City:

  • Take Interstate 95 north to Interstate 91 north.
  • Take exit 26 in Massachusetts and follow Route 2 west for about 17 miles. We’re based in a red colonial on the north side of the road. Look for the blue, white and green sign.
  • Driving time from Manhattan approximately 3 1/2 - 4 hours, depending upon traffic.

From Albany, New York:

  • Take Route 2 east through North Adams.
  • Continue past North Adams and over the mountain, about 20 miles. Our base is the red house on the north side of Route 2 on the western outskirts of the town center. Look for the blue, white and green sign.
  • Driving time approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Additional Information

Shop Discount

At the start of your clinic you will get two shop discount cards good for two weeks from the date of your clinic. One card entitles you to 10% off accessories in our Outfitters Shop. The second card entitles you to a $50.00 discount off a boat purchase. All boat purchases come with free outfitting and 10% off accessories in the Outfitters Shop for the next year.