Rapid Learning

Outdoor Chattanooga’s Rapid Learning Whitewater Kayak Program provides formal and equipped kayak instruction for beginner and seasoned kayakers to learn and develop the skills needed to safely and confidently paddle whitewater streams. From your first Rapid Learning skills development class to your first Class III run, Outdoor Chattanooga’s certified instructors will be right beside you offering instruction and encouragement. Start by attending our intro to kayaking skills classes at anytime to learn essential skills and safe paddling techniques in the calm waters of the lake or pool. These classes are offered regularly throughout the year and can be joined anytime; no prior experience, reservations, or equipment required to participate. We provide it all and your first visit is free! Appropriate for ages 8+.

Skills Classes and Membership

Skills classes are offered Wednesdays, May through October at Chester Frost County Park with two sessions to choose from; 6-7 or 7-8 p.m. Winter sessions are held at Southern Adventist University’s Hulsey Wellness Center indoor pool once a month on select Tuesdays, December through April from 7-9 p.m. After your first free session, continue the program by paying $10 per session or become a Rapid Learning Member. An annual membership gets you access to all kayak skills classes and use of all equipment during classes and river trips, plus discounts on instructional river trips. Cost: $75 for individual membership, $125 for family membership.

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 the of the whitewater kayak during an Intro Class. Instructional River Trips are offered on Sundays throughout the summer and open to Rapid Learning Members and non-members that have demonstrated essential skills. With 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, $45 for non-members per day. Fee includes equipment, transportation and instruction on the water. Reservations and payment are required in advance.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to adjust a kayak and PFD (Personal Floatation Device) to comfortably fit you
  • 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 preparation for a whitewater (or flat water) environment


When and where are the kayak skills classes offered?

Wednesdays, May through October classes meet at Chester Frost County Park, at the far end of the swimming beach by the first boat ramp.
There are two separate sessions. Session 1: 6 to 7 p.m. Session 2: 7 to 8 p.m. Equipment and instruction is on a first come first served basis.

Winter Sessions are held at Southern Adventist University’s Hulsey Wellness Center indoor pool select Tuesdays December through April from 7-9 p.m.

2018-2019 Winter Dates: December 4, January 8, February 5, March 5 and April 9

Do I have to make a reservation?
Reservations are not required to attend skills development classes. Just show up. The first session is always free. Equipment is distributed on a first come first served basis.
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.
How much does it cost?
The first session is free. To continue with the program, participants can pay $10 per session or sign up for an annual membership. A Rapid Learning membership is good for 1 year. Individual membership is $75, family membership is $125. Members can attend all skills classes and have access to kayak equipment during classes and river trips for the entire year. There is an additional fee for river trips. $35 for members, $45 for non-members.
Do I have to have experience to participate?
No experience required to attend and participate in a skills class. Some experience and prerequisites are required to participate in a river trip.


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Events for December 2018

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Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events
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Cumberland Trail Hike


Chattanooga Hiking Club Meeting

Rapid Learning Intro to Kayaking and Skills Practice- Winter Classes


#2 Interscholastic Climbing League: Meet 2 / 6 HP Downtown


Learn to Ride a Bicycle Class

Learn to Ride a Bicycle Class


#3 Interscholastic Climbing League: Meet 3 / 6 TBA

SOLD OUT: Kayak Tour to view Sandhill Cranes


Traffic Skills 101 for Bike Commuting – Learn to “drive” your bicycle in traffic

Chattanooga Bicycle Club – Monthly Meeting

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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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