Learn basic whitewater kayak rolling skills under the guidance of ACA-certified instructors!
Beginner Kayak Clinic
Perfect for the first time paddler or those who are still new to whitewater kayaking and want to refresh their skills!
- 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 edging your kayak into turns, setting angles across river currents, and performing river maneuvers like 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.
Beginner Kayak 1 Day Teaser Clinic – 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. The day progresses into your first taste of whitewater rapids, often paddling in class I-II whitewater. Got the bug, and looking for more? Follow up your lesson with our Novice Kayak 1-day Refresher Course!
Beginner Kayak 2 Day Foundations Course – The first day of our 2-day “Foundations” course is very similar to the 1-day teaser clinic above. What really helps paddlers hone in their skills is an additional day to learn and become more confident in the kayaks! 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.
Beginner Kayak 3 Day Immersion Course – Theirs no skipping skills in our three day course. You’ll get them all. Our three day is geared towards helping paddlers get a solid introduction so you can feel confident and prepared for your next adventure out post clinic. The first two days are similar to the above descriptions. 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 sink in.
Our Novice Kayak 1-day Refresher Clinic is 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 beginner 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 Intermediate Kayak 2 Day Course. 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 intermediate kayak 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
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.
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 polypropylene, 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:
- Retaining strap for glasses
- Nose plugs
- Required medications
- Extra money for snacks, T-shirts, or coin-operated showers
Zoar Outdoor will provide:
- paddle jacket
- life jacket
If you own your own equipment, we suggest you use it in the clinic to get used to its quirks.
We provide a catered picnic-style lunch on all our full day clinics.
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 413-339-4010 or [email protected] if you intend to do this.