Learn basic kayak rolling skills under the guidance of ACA-certified instructors!
Most 3 & 5 day clinic start on Wednesday and 1 & 2 day start on Wednesday & Saturday
- 1-Day Clinic
- 2-Day Clinic
- 3-Day Clinic
- 5-Day Clinic
- Select a date below to see which clinics are available on that date.
Learn Beginner Kayaking in Massachusetts
The clinic meets at our base in Charlemont, MA promptly at 9 a.m. Complimentary hot drinks will be provided upon your arrival.
So you’re curious about beginner 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. 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.
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, draws, and braces. 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 and 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 five day clinics are an exceptional opportunity for those looking to fully commit to learning a new sport. The first couple days begin the same, but for the third day we give folks an opportunity to rest a bit and try one of our other activities at Zoar Outdoor. This is a unique opportunity that separates learning at Zoar Outdoor from elsewhere. Folks can raft on the Dryway to see harder rapids or Fifebrook for an easier day away from learning. Another option for the third day is to join one of our three hour zip line canopy tour experiences. These experiences will need to be booked in advance but are included in the price of the five day course, late reservations may have space limited on our offerings. The fourth and fifth day will be back in a kayak feeling refreshed and ready to learn some more. Folks will keep gaining more river miles and it is awesome to see paddling skills progressing through the week.
“I had an AMAZING time at the Zoar 3 day Kayak clinic from 7/8/20-7/10/20! … 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
Our 2020 5 day clinics will be held on:
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 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 [email protected] if you intend to do this.