Rapid Learning

Learning to whitewater kayak starts with Outdoor Chattanooga’s Rapid Learning Whitewater Program.

The Rapid Learning provides formal kayak instruction, including all the equipment, and is designed for beginning and novice kayakers with the goal of teaching you how to safely and comfortably paddle up to class III whitewater. Our instructors have years of experience teaching and are nationally certified. 

Start any time!  This year-round program is available and begins with the Introduction to Kayaking Skills Class.  Your first class is free!  Learn the essential skills and safe paddling techniques in the calm waters of the lake or pool. If you wish to continue with us you purchase the annual instructional package as an individual or as a family.  We encourage you to continue your instruction in the regularly offered classes which build upon previously learned skills and at a pace according to your comfort level. It takes time and practice to become a confident and safe paddler.   Instruction is provided within a group setting emphasizing proper equipment and gear fit, skill-building, goal-setting, and safety.

Equipment is provided, or paddlers may bring their own gear to practice using. Skills classes and the Rapid Learning Program are most appropriate for ages 8 and older. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 

 

 

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Rapid Learning

Master the river.

Skills Classes and Membership

 

Changes for Winter 2023-24 and Summer Season. 

Begin the Rapid Learning program with the pool/lake class  Intro to Kayaking and Skills Practice–which is the first step in your commitment to learning this sport and building and maintaining the essential skills.  Instructional and equipped river trips offer the opportunity to learn to read moving water and practice kayaking in moving whitewater.  River trips are available in June, July and August for participants with the Rapid Learning Whitewater Program.  

Try It! Your first visit is free!

Annual Instructional Enrollment

Learning to whitewater kayak is fun and exciting, yet it takes time, practice, and a commitment to learn the essential skills to be safe and successful.   Outdoor Chattanooga has been teaching the Rapid Learning Whitewater Kayak program for almost 30 years, teaching people to paddle and building community.  It may be possible that this style of kayaking is not for you; however, the skills taught in the intro classes DO translate to recreational style kayaking.  See our schedule for additional types of kayak and canoe instructional programs.

 Rapid Learning Program includes the use of a variety of whitewater kayaks, equipment, and skill-building instruction at practices. The instructional blocks are valid for one year from the date of purchase. The individual annual instruction package is $75, and the family instructional package for $125/year.  This structure ensures that you take the time to learn the sport safely and with guided practice.  Be a part of the whitewater community! 

Instructional River Trips

Put your newly acquired paddling skills to the test on moving current during instructional river trips. Kayakers are eligible to attend instructional river trips once they have attended at least one skills class and demonstrated essential skills such as confident wet exits, basic self-rescue, and effective maneuvering of the kayak. Instructional River Trips are offered on Sundays throughout the summer and open to Rapid Learning Members and non-members who have demonstrated the essential skills. With an emphasis on boat control, you’ll practice catching eddies, peeling out, cross-river ferrying, reading whitewater, and developing river awareness. Our experienced guides will be right there with you to encourage and instruct as you test and hone your whitewater skills on the river. Instructional river trips at $35 for Rapid Learning members with the annual instructional package.  The fee includes equipment, transportation, and instruction on the water. Reservations and payment are required in advance for the river trips and registration is available at the roll practice sessions.

What You’ll Learn

How to adjust a kayak and PFD (Personal Floatation Device) to comfortably fit you and the use of a spray skirt

Beginner to intermediate paddle strokes, braces, and maneuvers to keep your kayak upright, and in the direction you want it to go

  • Self-rescue skills: wet exit, buddy rescues, boat-over-boat emptying techniques, wet re-entry, and a variety of kayak rolls
  • Flat water kayak skills in preparation for a whitewater (or flat water) environment

FAQs

When and where are the kayak skills classes offered?

POOL~Introduction to Kayaking and Skills Practices are held during the winter months at Southern Adventist University’s Hulsey Wellness Center in the indoor swimming pool on select Tuesdays.  FIRST TIMERS at the pool must attend the 6:45 pm to 7:30 pm introduction session!  Returning students must arrive by 7:30 pm for skills practice in the pool and class ends at 8:45 pm  Locker rooms close at 9pm.    Please be on time!

 

LAKE~During the warmer months beginning mid-May, classes are held weekly on Wednesdays at Hamilton County’s Chester Frost Park on the Chickamauga Lake in Hixson, TN.  There are 2 sessions from 6pm to 7pm or enjoy our 2nd sessions from 7pm to 8pm.   

When and where are the instructional river trips offered?

Instructional river trips occur on Sundays in the summer months on Class II-III rivers. Day trips go to the Hiwassee River, two-day trips go to Western North Carolina. Equipment, instruction, and transportation are provided to all participants. Cost is $35/day for Rapid Learning members, $45/day for non-members. Non-members have to attend at least one skills session and demonstrate self-rescue techniques and skills necessary to participate. Reservations are required in advance as space is limited and trips are small for instructional purposes. Must contact us directly to register.

We offer 6 days over the summer, check the calendar!

Do I have to make a reservation? How do I purchase instructional blocks?

Visit our program catalog and online reservation system at https://secure.rec1.com/TN/chattanooga-tn/catalog to purchase an Instructional Block. You do not have to make a reservation for the skills sessions. Reservations and instructor approval are required for river trips.

Do I need to have my own equipment?

No, Outdoor Chattanooga provides all the equipment and instruction to learn whitewater kayaking skills at skills classes and on river trips. You are welcome to bring and use your own equipment if you have it.

How much does it cost?

The first session is free. To continue with the program, you must buy the Instructional Block. A Rapid Learning Instructional Block is good for 1 season of instruction and gives you access to our kayak equipment during all scheduled skills classes and river trips. Individual Instruction Block is $75, Family Instructional Block is $125. There is an additional $35 fee for river trips. 

Do I have to have experience to participate?

No experience is required to attend and participate in a skills class.

Kayakers must demonstrate essential kayak skills such as a wet exit, effective maneuvering of the kayak, and self-rescue techniques during a skills session and receive instructor approval to attend a river trip.

Events

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Did You Know?

The Chattanooga region holds great and diverse whitewater paddling opportunities, for beginners and experts. To the east, the Appalachian Mountains hold iconic whitewater streams like the Ocoee, Hiwassee, Cartecay, Nantahala and Chattooga. Closer to home, the ridges of the Cumberland Plateau offer some of the best steep creek boating in the Eastern U.S.

American Whitewater offers the region’s best river database.

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