Family Kayak Clinics

2-Day Parent/Child Novice Kayak Clinic

Family kayaking clinics are a great way for families to learn kayaking, get outside and also spend time together. Our family kayaking clinics are appropriate for children between 10 and 16 and one or both parents.

Using a games-oriented approach, we teach the basic maneuvers on flatwater before transitioning to moving water and then on to whitewater kayaking. You will learn essential river moves including eddy turns, peel outs and ferries.

We realize your family is busy.  So instead of you trying to fit into our schedule we want to fit into your schedule.  To design a clinic that will be specific for your family, please call our office at 800-532-7483 or go to the custom clinics.  Kayaking and Canoeing are a great activity for the whole family! 



What To Expect & How to Prepare

Goal of the clinic:

To introduce the sport of whitewater canoeing or kayaking and teach the basic techniques for safe paddling.  For those with experience we can progress pass the basics of paddling to meet your individual goals.

Who should take the clinic:

To take this course you should be in reasonable physical condition, be comfortable in the water, and have an interest in paddling.

What will be covered:

Often after introducing the sport and the equipment, we will get our first taste of the boats in the security of a pond where we can practice exiting and leaning the kayak and learn the basic strokes, including sweep strokes, forward strokes, draws, and braces. Once people are comfortable in the boats, we head to moving water where we introduce river maneuvers such as the eddy turn, peel out, and ferry. On the second day we continue to work on river maneuvers, and we end by running a several-mile-long, class I-II section of river.

Trip Details

A Typical Paddling Day

Your clinic will meet at our base in Charlemont, Ma. at 9:00 AM.   The clinic will start on time, so please be prompt.  Complimentary hot drinks will be available upon your arrival. Your clinic will come to an end at about 5:00 PM.

On most clinics you will spend the morning on flatwater learning or fine tuning paddling strokes. In the afternoon, you will usually paddle a section of whitewater. Because these are instructional clinics, your instructors will be encouraging you to push your physical and mental limits.

The number of students in your clinic may vary.  We have a maximum student-to-instructor ratio of 4:1 and a maximum clinic size of 12 students.

You will be spending somewhere between four to five hours in your boat.  To prepare you will want to stretch your thighs hamstrings and torso (back, stomach, shoulders and neck). If you increase your flexibility, you will have more efficient strokes, and you will 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.