How do you learn the sport of kayaking? That is the question. Where do you start, how do you progress, and where can you take it? Through a mix of taking kayaking courses and paddling on our own, there comes a point in the attempt to build kayaking skills where most people experience the feeling of being stuck in our progression. It happens to all of us, and it varies for each person. There might be a specific maneuver that you’re having trouble learning. Maybe you’re just trying to gain more comfort kayaking a river at a certain class of whitewater. Maybe you took a bad swim and are having a hard time getting your mental game and confidence back to where it was.
We’ve all been there, and sometimes all it takes is a new set of eyes to help you set and reach your goals. At Wet Planet, we want to help you achieve your kayaking goals, no matter what level you’re paddling at. If you find yourself stuck at one of the following levels of kayaking, we’ll help you find the right kayaking courses to solve your problems, reach your goals, and refine your skills.
Level I – First Timer
You want to get into whitewater kayaking, but don’t know where to start!
First Step: Beginner Kayaking Course
Our 2 and 3-Day Beginner course is ideal to learning the basics of the sport. This tried and true course will provide you with a solid foundation of basic kayaking skills necessary to get into the sport of whitewater kayaking. This includes learning how to outfit your kayak, wet exits, t-rescues, swimming, self-rescue, body positioning, strokes, edging, bracing, river-reading and basic hydrology, eddy turns, peel-out, ferrying, scouting, and more! Plus, our professional instructors are enthusiastic, highly skilled, and a blast to be around!
“My favorite part about teaching kayaking is getting new paddlers excited about being on the river. I love seeing people progress and seeing the smile on someone’s face after they go down a rapid for the first time. One off my favorite things is sharing my love of rivers with others.” –Josh Barza, Kayak Instructor
Level II – Beginner
Congrats! You’ve just finished your first Beginner Kayaking Course and are stoked to keep paddling. It’s Saturday morning. All you want to do with your weekend is go kayaking, but you have no one to go with. The hardest part about being a beginner paddler is finding a way to spend time on the water and learn the basics. We know it’s tough to find paddling partners when you start kayaking, and even if you do know people, it’s sometimes hard to feel secure going out with friends right off the bat. That’s where the Beginner Refresher Course comes in.
Next Step: Beginner Kayaking Refresher Course
A one-day kayak refresher is the perfect way to practice the fundamentals of kayaking. This refresher course will give you the opportunity to refresh previously learned skills by joining the 2nd or 3rd day of a beginner kayak course. You’ll be able to build skill and confidence with another day on the Klickitat river to practice, practice, practice. Our instructors will be there to give you the specific, detailed feedback that you need get over the hump of feeling like a beginner.
Level III – Novice
You’ve found a few paddling partners and you’re starting to paddle on your local class II runs, like the Lower White Salmon. You can usually get down the river just fine, but you’re not really making harder moves. You keep losing your ferry angle at Dead Man’s, and every time you try to catch that darn eddy at Cave Wave you flip. Your friend is there for the t-rescue, but you still have NO idea why you keep messing up. Now it’s time for the eyes of an instructor.
Next Step: Novice Kayaking Course
The Novice Kayaking Course is designed for the advanced beginner or aspiring intermediate. You already have the basic whitewater kayaking skills and want to improve your technique or develop new skills. In this course, you will work on refining the basics and feeling solid in class II whitewater.
Level IV – Intermediate
Now you’re feeling super solid on Class II. You feel like you could hop on any class II run and make the hardest ferries and catch every eddy. You’re dipping your toes into Class III, but not feeling very confident on harder whitewater. You’re ready to step it up, and just need a little bit of help and support to get there.
Next Step: Intermediate Kayaking Course
If you are working on building confidence, comfort and skill in harder whitewater, then the Intermediate Course is for you. Committing to a full day of intermediate instruction will allow you to push yourself and work on your skills with instructors who can give you the specific, detailed feedback that you need to progress.
Level V – Advanced
At this point, you’ve worked hard and paddled a ton. You’re a solid Class III-IV boater. Now what?
Next Step: Advanced Skill Clinics
We want to help turn you into the best kayaker you can be. If you’re paddling at an intermediate-advanced level, you might benefit from one of our advanced kayaking courses. Take a Boof Clinic to learn the techniques necessary to stick your boof every time: stroke placement, timing, body positioning, lateral momentum, edge transitions, and smooth or fast landings. If your focus is learning and practice the skills necessary to get you and your paddling companions down technical whitewater runs, the Creeking Clinic is for you.
And for everything in-between…
Take a day of private instruction! No matter where you are in your kayaking career, you can always benefit from some one-on-one time with an instructor. You choose what you want to learn and work on, designing your own time on the river! This one-on-one attention allows you to challenge yourself and your skills while feeling secure.
Not sure where your skills fall or which kayaking courses you should take? Check out our kayaking skills overview to determine which course is right for you. With fun, enthusiastic instructors and small class ratios, taking whitewater kayaking courses at Wet Planet is a great way to get started kayaking whitewater and spend time on the river, and to keep progressing to become the best kayaker you can be!
Author Sharon is a kayak instructor and Reservations Manager at Wet Planet. She is incredibly stoked to share her love of whitewater and to be a part of the incredible team at Wet Planet! Read more by Sharon here.