Whitewater Paddler Skill Levels

This chart will help you determine your current skill set and assist you in choosing the best course.

Still not sure what category you fit into?
For help and/or complete information on all of our Paddling School products, please contact Jae Jackson at 828-488-7288 or jae.jackson@noc.com, or Rachel Dean at 828-488-7286 or rachel.dean@noc.com.


Beginner/Novice

Your Current Skill Set
If any one of the following criteria describes you:

  • Never paddled water craft/boat (whether on lake, moving water or whitewater)
  • Have paddled water craft/boat and possess basic/fundamental paddling skills
  • Have paddled in whitewater kayak and possess fundamental whitewater paddling skills (wet-exit, self-rescue, edging, boat control, catching eddies, peel out) and moderately comfortable in moving water and Class I and Class II whitewater (Tuckaseegee or Little Tennessee)
  • Have paddled whitewater kayak but it has been length of time since last time paddled
  • Do NOT have whitewater kayak roll

Courses for You

  • Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking
  • Learn to Kayak Clinics (Youth and Adult)
  • Kids, Youth, Teen, and Adult Clinics
  • Women’s Only Clinics

Novice Plus – Class II

Your Current Skill Set
If all of the following criteria describes you:

  • Currently paddle whitewater in kayak
  • Very comfortable in Class I and II whitewater
  • Solid to fairly solid paddling skills in Class I & II whitewater (Nantahala) – wet exit, self-rescue, catching eddies, peeling out, ferrying, surfing, and river reading
  • Working on whitewater kayak roll but do NOT have solid to fairly solid flatwater kayak roll. Have not attempted combat roll or had successful combat rolls

Courses for You

  • Learn to Kayak Clinics
  • Kids, Youth, Teen, and Adult Clinics
  • Class II River Courses
  • Women’s Only Clinics

Intermediate – Class II+

Your Current Skill Set
If all of the following criteria describes you:

  • Currently paddle whitewater in kayak
  • Very comfortable in Class I & II whitewater Comfortable in/or ready to progress to Class III
  • Have solid to fairly solid flatwater kayak roll and have successful combat roll

Courses for You

  • Class III + River Clinics
  • Guided River Service

Advanced – Class III+

Your Current Skill Set
If all of the following criteria describes you

  • Currently paddle whitewater kayak
  • Very comfortable in Class III + and higher whitewater (Ocoee)
  • Have bomb-proof combat kayak roll

Courses for You

  • Class III + River Clinics
  • Class III + Week of Rivers
  • Class III+ Creek Weekend
  • Guided River Service

Copyright 2017 | Nantahala Outdoor Center