In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement shed light on the structural racism and inequality that exists in our society. At Wet Planet, we looked through this lens and thought deeply about the lack of diversity within the whitewater community and among whitewater professionals, including our own team. This seems to stem not from lack of welcome, but from lack of diversity in the broader whitewater community, and thus less people who pursue careers in whitewater. We recognized that to create an environment that is truly welcoming to a diverse population, we need to increase access and exposure to a broader range of communities. We asked ourselves what we could do to address this in a meaningful, tangible way. In an effort to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the whitewater community, we are excited to pilot scholarships for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color), both for professional training opportunities as well as introductory kayaking courses.

Scholarships for Professional Training

In 2021, Wet Planet is offering two scholarships for professional training opportunities. These scholarships are for BIPOC individuals who are already proficient whitewater kayakers, enjoy sharing their passion for running the river with others, and aspire to become professional kayak instructors.

Apply for the Professional Training Scholarship

ACA Kayak Instructor Certification Course

In partnership with Sundance Kayak School, we are able to offer a spot on the ACA Kayak Instructor Certification Course (May 17-21, 2021). This instructor training course leads to certification as a whitewater kayak instructor by the American Canoe Association, or the ACA. The ACA has created the nation’s premier teaching certification program for kayaking, and is a prerequisite to teaching at most kayak schools across the country.

River Rescue Course

Wet Planet is offering a scholarship spot on River Rescue Course (May 27-28, 2021). This 2-day course is a hands-on, scenario-based rescue course designed specifically for whitewater boaters, and is a must for anyone working on the river in a professional capacity. Students will receive internationally recognized certification through Sierra Rescue International, valid for three years. This fast-paced course emphasizes on-river scenarios in order to help students develop the ability to choose good actions when a river rescue becomes necessary. Taught by paddlers, for paddlers, this course will focus on quick, efficient, low-tech techniques for rescue that utilize basic gear, focusing on rescue scenarios that they may encounter while paddling.

Scholarships for Beginner Kayaking Courses

Knowing that many people have not yet had the opportunity to become kayakers, Wet Planet hopes to create a more inclusive paddling community by increasing access to learn the basics of whitewater kayaking. We are excited to partner with Washington Recreational River Runners, a Washington-based paddling club, to offer scholarships for Beginner Kayaking Courses. This course aims to provide first-time kayakers with a solid foundation of basic kayaking skills necessary to kayak Class I-II whitewater. It’s a comprehensive introduction to whitewater kayaking.

Apply for the Beginner Kayaking Scholarship

Wet Planet hopes to be a continuing ally for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, and other historically-underrepresented communities by increasing access to whitewater and reducing barriers of entry to the paddling community, both for the general whitewater community as well as for professional guides and instructors. It is our hope that by providing professional training opportunities and beginner kayaking courses, we will be a part of slowly increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the paddling community and amongst professional river guides and instructors, who can in turn inspire peers and future generations to become a part of the whitewater community as well.