This breakdown is intended to help you assess your skill set and choose the right course for you. Give us a call if you’re still unsure which course would be the best fit.

First Timer / Beginner Level 1

  • You’ve never been in a hardshell whitewater kayak!
  • You may have paddled on the lake or ocean, but never in whitewater on rivers
  • You may have paddled an inflatable kayak, but not a hardshell with a skirt
  • You may be an experienced rafter but have never whitewater kayaked
  • It’s been a long time since you’ve paddled, and you want to regain comfort with the basics

Courses For You

Beginner – Level II

  • Basic understanding of paddling fundamentals, such as wet exits, T-rescues, self-rescues, edging, boat control, catching eddies, peel outs, and ferries
  • Do not have a roll
  • Wants to get comfortable paddling Class I and II
  • Have paddled a whitewater kayak in Class I and II, such as the Lower Klickitat River and Clackamas River (Barton to Carver)
  • Have taken a Beginner Course at Wet Planet but have not paddled much outside of this

Courses for you:

Novice – Level III

  • Might also be called an advanced beginner or aspiring intermediate
  • Comfortable paddling Class I and easier Class II whitewater
  • Demonstrates boat control and can execute maneuvers in Class I and some Class II, such as eddy turns, peel outs, ferries, T-rescues, and basic river reading
  • May or may not have a roll, but building the foundation
  • Working on refining the basics and feeling solid in Class II
  • Has paddled beginner stretches of river, such as the Lower Klickitat, Lower White Salmon at low water, Clackamas (McIver to Barton), Deschutes (Maupin section)


  • Comfortable making harder moves in Class II, such as catching challenging eddies, S-turns, and ferrying in fast current
  • Has some experience in Class III and is working on increasing comfort level in Class III
  • Has a roll in the pool, is working on having a reliable combat roll, and can wait for a T-rescue most of the time
  • Has paddled Class II-III stretches of river outside of instruction


  • Comfortable paddling, surfing, and eddy-hopping in Class III or higher
  • Solid combat roll in Class III or higher
  • Wants to fine-tune their skills and has specific objectives for their paddling progression

*Please keep in mind that there is no perfect progression of kayaking courses. Practice builds skill; the most important thing is paddling as much as possible! Feel free to email or call us if you’d like recommendations for local resources where you can meet paddling partners to get on the river outside of professional instruction.

*There are a number of different rivers we use for our kayaking courses. We choose which section of river to run based on water levels, skill levels, and other factors. Some examples of rivers you might run are the Klickitat, White Salmon, Wind, and Hood.