Learning to paddle whitewater rivers takes commitment, but kayak and canoe lessons with NOC’s Paddling School accelerate the learning process. Voted "Best Place to Learn" by Outside, NOC has taught more paddlers than anyone else, with 40+ years of experience going into every class. Our diverse instruction team focuses on your personal goals and shows you the pleasures of paddling whitewater. NOC offers a variety of courses varying in craft, skill level, learning style, and duration.

Beginner Courses

Beginner courses appropriate for those who have:

  • Never paddled a watercraft on a lake or moving water.
  • Experience in a flatwater kayak, canoe, or sea kayak and want to try whitewater kayaking or canoeing.
  • Experience in a whitewater kayak or canoe.
  • The ability to get on and off or in and out of a paddle craft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  • No kayak roll or are working on a solid flatwater roll.

Introduction to Whitewater Paddling

A great way to try a new activity and perfect for families with kids as young as 8 to get on the river with a new sport! This course is designed for those who are interested in whitewater paddling to learn the basics. Become oriented with your boat on the water in this full-day course.


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Learn to Kayak

Build the foundations for whitewater kayaking in these two or five-day courses. New and aspiring whitewater kayakers paddlers will spend time learning new skills and practicing them on area lakes and rivers. No experience necessary!


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Canoe Courses

This course is perfect for single-bladers of all skill levels! Instructors tailor this experience to fit the needs of the group. Spend time in small groups of a similar skill level working on skill-building as well as your personal goals.


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Private Instruction

Custom-tailored instruction for individuals or groups with skills ranging from complete beginner up to advanced. Private instruction enables the Paddling School Instructors to focus on the goals of the individual in a more personalized environment.


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Women’s Kayak Retreat

Join a supportive group of like-minded ladies on the water. Together, paddlers at any skill level will learn the necessary skills to enjoy paddling in Class I-II whitewater.


More Details >
intro to whitewater paddling

Introduction to Whitewater Paddling

A great way to try a new activity and perfect for families with kids as young as 8 to get on the river with a new sport! This course is designed for those who are interested in whitewater paddling to learn the basics. Become oriented with your boat on the water in this full-day course.


More Details >

Learn to Kayak

Build the foundations for whitewater kayaking in these two or five-day courses. New and aspiring whitewater kayakers paddlers will spend time learning new skills and practicing them on area lakes and rivers. No experience necessary!


More Details >

Canoe Courses

This course is perfect for single-bladers of all skill levels! Instructors tailor this experience to fit the needs of the group. Spend time in small groups of a similar skill level working on skill-building as well as your personal goals.


More Details >

Private Instruction

Custom-tailored instruction for individuals or groups with skills ranging from complete beginner up to advanced. Private instruction enables the Paddling School Instructors to focus on the goals of the individual in a more personalized environment.


More Details >

Women’s Kayak Retreat

Join a supportive group of like-minded ladies on the water. Together, paddlers at any skill level will learn the necessary skills to enjoy paddling in Class I-II whitewater.


More Details >

Intermediate Courses

Intermediate courses are appropriate for those who:

  • Have experience paddling Class I-II whitewater in a whitewater kayak or canoe.
  • Have experience using paddling gear and equipment.
  • Understand paddling terms as well as the following fundamentals: wet exit, boat based rescues, carving and edging, catching eddies, peel outs, and ferries.
  • Have experience with flatwater rolling (kayak only).

Class II River Kayaking

Strengthen your whitewater kayaking skills and enjoy more advanced rivers with the best in instruction! This is the perfect “Bridge Course” for paddlers progressing from beginner proficiency in a whitewater kayak to intermediate skill levels in a two or five-day clinic.


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Canoe Courses

This course is perfect for single-bladers of all skill levels! Instructors tailor this experience to fit the needs of the group. Spend time in small groups of a similar skill level working on skill-building as well as your personal goals.


More Details >

Private Instruction

Custom-tailored instruction for individuals or groups with skills ranging from complete beginner up to advanced. Private instruction enables the Paddling School Instructors to focus on the goals of the individual in a more personalized environment.


More Details >

Women’s Kayak Retreat

Join a supportive group of like-minded ladies on the water. Together, paddlers at any skill level will learn the necessary skills to enjoy paddling in Class I-II whitewater.


More Details >

Class II River Kayaking

Strengthen your whitewater kayaking skills and enjoy more advanced rivers with the best in instruction! This is the perfect “Bridge Course” for paddlers progressing from beginner proficiency in a whitewater kayak to intermediate skill levels in a two or five-day clinic.


More Details >

Canoe Courses

This course is perfect for single-bladers of all skill levels! Instructors tailor this experience to fit the needs of the group. Spend time in small groups of a similar skill level working on skill-building as well as your personal goals.


More Details >

Private Instruction

Custom-tailored instruction for individuals or groups with skills ranging from complete beginner up to advanced. Private instruction enables the Paddling School Instructors to focus on the goals of the individual in a more personalized environment.


More Details >

Women’s Kayak Retreat

Join a supportive group of like-minded ladies on the water. Together, paddlers at any skill level will learn the necessary skills to enjoy paddling in Class I-II whitewater.


More Details >

Advanced Courses

Advanced courses are appropriate for those who:

  • Currently paddle whitewater in a kayak
  • Can competently navigate Class II rapids
  • Have a strong flatwater roll, and combat roll in Class II whitewater

Class III+ River Kayaking

Designed for paddlers with whitewater experience wanting to become more proficient in Class II-III+ whitewater. This course gives paddlers the opportunity to experience several classic Southeastern rivers.


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Kayak River Running Workshop

Designed for advanced paddlers to visit some of the most iconic rivers in the Southeast for a workshop with NOC’s world-renowned paddling instruction team.


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Private Instruction

Custom-tailored instruction for individuals or groups with skills ranging from complete beginner up to advanced. Private instruction enables the Paddling School Instructors to focus on the goals of the individual in a more personalized environment.


More Details >

Slicey Boat Clinic

Show off your best moves and learn some new ones with this limited-edition clinic featuring “old school” favorites. Led by our experienced Paddling School instructors, we’ll show you the best places to perfect your newly learned skills on the Nantahala.


More Details >

Class III+ River Kayaking

Designed for paddlers with whitewater experience wanting to become more proficient in Class II-III+ whitewater. This course gives paddlers the opportunity to experience several classic Southeastern rivers.


More Details >

Kayak River Running Workshop

Designed for advanced paddlers to visit some of the most iconic rivers in the Southeast for a workshop with NOC’s world-renowned paddling instruction team.


More Details >

Private Instruction

Custom-tailored instruction for individuals or groups with skills ranging from complete beginner up to advanced. Private instruction enables the Paddling School Instructors to focus on the goals of the individual in a more personalized environment.


More Details >

Slicey Boat Clinic

Show off your best moves and learn some new ones with this limited-edition clinic featuring “old school” favorites. Led by our experienced Paddling School instructors, we’ll show you the best places to perfect your newly learned skills on the Nantahala.


More Details >

Custom Group Planning allows courses to be tailored to your needs and schedule. We can accommodate groups
of friends & family or classes interested in half-day, one-day, or multi-day survival and outdoor skills courses.
Choose the course that best suits your needs!

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