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Novice Kayak Clinic

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1-Day Clinic per person
2-Day Clinic per person
3-Day Clinic per person

Learn Beginner Kayaking in Massachusetts

So you’re curious about beginner whitewater kayaking?  Yay!  This is the perfect place to find out why paddling is so much fun.  Our river time will focus on fundamental river skills such as leans, setting angles, and performing eddy turns and peel outs to set you on a path toward confidently paddling on your own. Our games-based learning approach makes kayaking fun right from the start and has helped bring thousands of new paddlers into the sport. We emphasize fun on the river while teaching proper stroke techniques and responsible whitewater kayaking practices.

Day 1 – A whitewater kayak is just like an extension of your body. It fits snugly to give you maximum control and maneuverability. After introducing you to the sport of kayaking and to your equipment, we get our first taste of paddling in the security of a pond. We start by teaching you to safely exit the kayak when upside down. Then we move on to learning basic strokes, including sweep strokes, forward strokes and stability while paddling on edge. Once everyone is comfortable in their boats, we head to moving water where we introduce river maneuvers such as the eddy turn, peel out and ferry.

On the second day, our whitewater kayaking lessons continue to work on river maneuvers and we end the day by running a several-mile-long, Class I-II section of the river.  New skills include learning to maneuver the kayak sideways and backwards with more strokes like draws to improve control.  We also introduce bracing skills which can be used to prevent flips.

Our third day is spent on basic surfing, rolling and continuing to practice your techniques as you gain increasing confidence paddling the rapids of the Deerfield River or other local rivers.  Three days allows enough time for skills to really start to sink in with ample practice opportunity.

Our Novice Kayak 1-day Refresher Course are an exceptional opportunity for those looking to follow up their introduction to paddling with a review of their first time skills. This course is an additional day to our novice kayaking clinics. We will review introductory paddling skills and build upon students current skill set. On this clinic you will often spend the morning on flatwater learning or fine tuning paddling strokes. This may include wet-exits, how to turn and paddle on edge, learning proper forward strokes and additional paddling skills like moving sideways or backwards. In the afternoon, you will usually paddle a section of whitewater up to class II. You’ll continue to learn river hydrology and the skills needed to navigate a river environment. We practice river maneuvers; eddy turns, peelouts and ferries. These skills will all help you to navigate down whitewater rapids.

Make it a 5-day – Combine one of our three day clinics starting on a Wednesday with a follow-up weekend Class II clinic.  If you’re serious about getting into this great sport this is a phenomenal way to go.  We’ve had many dedicated paddlers get their start paddling by taking one of our five day clinics.  Our class II clinics continue the progression of learning with more time to learn rolling, surfing, scouting and improve river skills under our guidance.

Don’t see a date that works for you?  Want to do this course as a private, semi-private or with your own group? Check out our information on custom clinics and when you’re ready we will help set up a great course on your dates.

“I had an AMAZING time at the Zoar 3 day Kayak clinic from 7/8-7/10! … My instructor was Reilly and this kid was AWESOME. He taught me so much and worked so well to give me a tailored experience. He presented multiple options to me and let me choose how daring or how cautious I wanted to be. I never felt unsafe, and I felt completely comfortable in the skills he taught.” – Debra

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