Which Course Should I Take?

Which Course Should I Take?

Placing yourself at the correct skill level helps ensure a rewarding learning experience. Honestly consider your past paddling experience, the ease with which you learn new skills, and your comfort in the water before making this important decision. To advance to the next level, you should possess the skills listed for that level as well as those listed for previous levels. If you still have trouble deciding on a course, call and ask - we're happy to help.


  • have never paddled a whitewater kayak or canoe OR... have never had formal instruction in kayak or canoe and have paddled whitewater less than 5 times in kayak or canoe this year
  • kayakers: are not comfortable with wet exits or being upside down in the water
  • canoeists: are switching from tandem to solo

Class II:

  • have paddled whitewater 5-10 times in kayak or canoe
  • can perform eddy turns, peel-outs, and ferries on class I water
  • can paddle in a straight line with confidence can identify river features including eddies, waves, and holes
  • can self rescue in class I and II whitewater
  • kayakers: use forward strokes (not rudders) for course corrections kayakers: are working on or have a flatwater roll
  • kayakers: are comfortable with wet exits and self rescue

Class III:

  • have paddled more than 10 times on class II water have run class III rapids at least twice
  • can perform crisp, reliable eddy turns and peel-outs on class II water
  • can control a ferry angle in class II water without ruddering
  • have good reliable forward power and stable leans
  • are able to maintain upright posture
  • want to perfect skills, gain confidence and work on river running strategies
  • self rescue boat and gear regularly
  • kayakers: roll reliably (better than 50%) on class II water
  • canoeists: self-rescue boat and gear regularly
  • canoeists: use off-side strokes


  • perform eddy turns, peel-outs and ferries confidently on class III-IV water
  • catch 1 or 2 boat eddies in class III-IV water
  • will attempt difficult, challenging moves
  • want to surf and play with river features more effectively
  • perform aggressive self rescues on class III and above water
  • kayakers: have a reliable (better than 75%) class III roll
  • kayakers: are working on off-side and hand rolls
  • canoeists: have effective high and low braces, paddle with power
  • canoeists: use off-side strokes confidently on class III

Still Not Sure?

Take a lower level course if you:

  • exercise less than twice a week
  • are cautious or tentative
  • swim poorly
  • learn physical skills slowly
  • tend to sit in eddies and watch
  • have had less than 2 days of formal instruction
  • have not paddled in the last year

Take a higher level course if you:

  • have paddled more than 3 whitewater rivers
  • exercise more than twice a week
  • are aggressive and willing to jump in and play
  • have had more than 2 days of formal instruction learn physical skills easily
  • are expert at a sport that uses your whole body (skiing, biking, swimming)
Book Now