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 any time 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 or equipment required to participate. We provide it all and your first visit is free! Appropriate for ages 8+. No reservation required to attend. First come first serve.
Skills Classes and Membership
Skills classes are offered every Wednesday, May through September, 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, November through April from 7-9 p.m. The first session you attend is free with all equipment and instruction provided!**New for 2021: Online reservations required for skills classes and are limited to 15 people. To continue with the program after the first free session, become a Rapid Learning Member, which gives you access to all the skills classes and use of our equipment during classes and river trips, plus discounts on instructional river trips for an entire year! Cost: $75 for individual membership, $125 for a 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 of the of the kayak. Instructional River Trips are offered on Sundays throughout the summer and open to Rapid Learning Members and non-members that 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, $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?
There are two separate sessions.
1st Session: 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
2nd Session: 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
No reservation required. Just show up!
Winter Sessions are held at Southern Adventist University’s Hulsey Wellness Center indoor pool on select Tuesdays, November through April from 7-9 p.m.
2021-2022 Winter Dates: TBA
When and where are the insturtional 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
2021 River Trip
June 13, June 27, July 11, July 25, August 8
Do I have to make a reservation and/or purchase a membership?
Visit our program catalog and online reservation system at https://secure.rec1.com/TN/chattanooga-tn/catalog to purchase a membership. 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 can pay $10 per session or sign up for an annual membership. A Rapid Learning membership is good for 1 year of instruction and gives you access to our kayak equipment during all scheduled skills classes and river trips for an entire year. Individual membership is $75, family membership is $125. 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.
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 for June 2021
Events Search and Views Navigation
Calendar of Events
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.