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 us at 828.785.5020.


Beginner/Novice

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

  • Never paddled watercraft/boat (whether on lake, moving water or whitewater)
  • Have paddled watercraft/boat and possess basic/fundamental paddling skills
  • Have paddled in whitewater kayak or canoe 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 (Tuckasegee or Little Tennessee)
  • Have paddled whitewater kayak or canoe 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 Summer Camps
  • Women’s Only Kayak Clinics (All Levels)
  • Canoe Clinics (All Leves)
  • Private Instruction

Novice Plus – Class II

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

  • Currently paddle whitewater in a kayak or canoe
  • 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
  • Class II River Kayak Clinics
  • Youth Summer Camps
  • Women’s Only Kayak Clinics (All Levels)
  • Canoe Clinics (All Levels)
  • Private Instruction

Intermediate – Class II+

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

  • Currently paddle whitewater in kayak or canoe
  • 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 II River Kayak Clinice
  • Class III+ River Kayak Clinics
  • Youth Summer Camps
  • Women’s Only Kayak Clinics (All Levels)
  • Canoe Clinics (All Levels)
  • Raft Guide School
  • Private Instruction

Advanced – Class III+

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

  • Currently paddle whitewater kayak or canoe
  • Have a strong roll in flatwater
  • Have a Class II Combat Roll
  • Have the ability to competently navigate Class II rapids

Courses for You

  • Class III+ River Kayak Clinics
  • Kayak Week of Rivers
  • Teen Advanced Kayak Camp
  • Women’s Only Kayak Clinics (All Levels)
  • Canoe Clinics (All Levels)
  • Raft Guide School
  • ACA Instructor Training
  • Private Instruction

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