BWA Spring Beginner's Whitewater Clinic

Rating: Beginner, Small River, Class II rapids, 4 miles, Leisurely Pace, Semi-primitive campground (full-service campground or lodging nearby on your own)

If you have any desire to try out whitewater with canoes or kayaks, the BWA spring clinic is the place to do it. Typically we put 5 or 6 beginners in each group with 3 instructors. You get lots of time to learn and practice the basic strokes (forward, sweep, back), braces (high, low) and maneuvers (ferry, catch eddies, peel out of eddies). Can usually rent equipment from Canoe Kentucky for a reasonable amount. May be able to borrow some. Clothing is a little tougher.

All details are at the BWA web site below, including the sign up application.  There is a $85 to $95 fee, and the application must be turned in with the fee by 4/16:
You can just hang out with us, camp and eat, for $20, or just stay at Breaks Interstate Park and eat there. 

If you decide to go for it, start attending the roll sessions on Friday evenings. They should go through March, and they'll probably add more in April.

This is not an event that Bluegrass Canoe and Kayak Meetup Group is involved with directly, this is just a placeholder on our calendar.  Therefore, no liability waiver sign-off here.  The BWA application will have its own liability waiver, and they do get insurance through the American Canoe Association.

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  • Dan G.

    I very much wanted to attend but had to work over the week end. You guys had great weather. Maybe next year.

    May 19

  • Ivania

    When is the next clinic?

    May 13

    • Don P.

      About a year from now. You can still join the BWA, and there are informal mini-clinic type trips throughout the year. Summer roll sessions will start maybe in June sometime.

      May 13

  • Don P.

    If you haven't received emails from the Clinic Coordinator, you have not signed up for this event. Signup and fees were due a couple of weeks ago. This is not an open Meetup event.

    May 13

  • Don P.

    I see that Dan R, Dan G, and Wendy signed up as students, Walt and I as instructors. Hope the rest of you make it out to at least observe and see what its all about.

    May 12

  • Don P.

    23 students so far, there are 3 kids in the children's class, think there was enough for a separate ladies class too. Absolute last chance sign-up deadline is May 1, but you need to email the clinic coordinator ASAP.

    April 29

  • Cara

    Sorry, I would love to learn how to whitewater, however I have to travel out of town that weekend. I'll try to do participate should you do another one. Best to all, Cara

    April 27

  • Don P.

    There are only 16 students so far. If you still want to get in, I bet if you contacted the coordinator she would waive the late fee.

    April 18

  • Don P.

    Last reminder, applications are due within a week.

    April 10

  • Wendy

    Don, do you have any idea what the schedule for the weekend is? Roughly, when do we need to arrive; and approximately when will it end on Sunday?

    April 4

    • Don P.

      Better to arrive Friday night, mainly since it takes 3 hours to drive there. Can't say exactly when we start getting together after breakfast on Sat for the safety talk, seems to vary, 9 or so? Adelessa might have a schedule in mind. Usually get a later start on Sun, maybe 10, ends after one run down the river, maybe 1:00PM or so.

      April 4

  • Don P.

    Reminder, the deadline for turning in an application and $ is one month away.

    March 18

  • Jerry R.

    Hey what type of clothing is needed this time of year?

    March 16

    • Maryellen S.

      I wear a wet suit (Ultra Farmer Jane) and a splash jacket or semi-dry top (depending on time of year) and boundary boots...I have done some inadvertent swimming when I have done up to Class III WW, and have been fine. I'm really not a WW enthusiast but I have paddled the Hiwassee in a rec boat and I do NOT recommend it, nor would I again. :) Saying all that, I do paddle a lot of local Class I creeks/rivers that can be just as conducive to IWEs due to strainers, log jams, etc. Proper gear is All-important and that begins with boat/paddle/PFD. Then proper gear/apparel for your body. Have fun!

      March 17

    • Don P.

      I never liked wet suits, but I know a lot that do. In the beginning, I just had splash pants and medium weight base layer for the bottoms, and various weight baselayers and a semidry top for the top. I swam a couple of times my first time on the Canyon section of BSF one Feb., air temp was 60 and sunny, though. Felt fine.

      1 · March 17

  • Darrell H.

    Hey Mr Perkins i need some advice.. never been on nothing whiter than the upper Rockcastle .. all i got is a creekboat and a fishing kayak ... are they suitable for white water?

    March 2

    • Maryellen S.

      Yes, rec boats are like being in a control of the boat.

      March 5

    • Darrell H.

      All good advise, thanks. I'm not surprised what few times i've had them on moving water my lack of control was unsettling. "I know i'm not a kayaker but thought i could better than that"

      March 5

  • Don P.

    Here's a video from last year. This is the first little rapid you get to after spending a hour or so practicing up in a calmer moving water area. Most people don't have problems with the rapids, its the eddying out, peeling out of eddies, and ferrying across moving water that cause the problem, i.e. boat control. Doesn't take much control as long as you just go with the flow. The one guy that flipped in this rapid actually was in his second time at the clinic. None of the true beginners had a problem.­

    March 3

    • Maryellen S.

      Thanks for the video...looks pretty easy unless you don't hit a good line. :)

      March 4

    • Don P.

      It is pretty easy. In these class IIs, there isn't really a line, you just at most have to avoid rocks. The guy that flipped was trying to slow down to avoid the person in front of him, turned sideways, and he leaned upstream at the same time - perfect way to flip. If he had leaned downstream like we teach, or hadn't slowed down, he would have been fine. You've go to protect the edges of the kayak to not let water pile up on top. And keep a blade in the water to brace yourself on too.

      1 · March 4

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