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
  • The ability to get on/off or in/out of a paddle craft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  • Paddled in whitewater kayak or canoe and possess basic, fundamental whitewater paddling skills (wet-exit, self-rescue, edging, boat control, catching eddies, peel out)
  • Paddled in the past and need a refresher
  • No kayak roll or are working on 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 a solid foundation for skill development with the guidance of NOC’s Instruction Team. This course provides beginning paddlers the opportunity to enjoy basic whitewater. Participants 18 and older can choose from two- or five-day formats.


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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.


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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 a solid foundation for skill development with the guidance of NOC’s Instruction Team. This course provides beginning paddlers the opportunity to enjoy basic whitewater. Participants 18 and older can choose from two- or five-day formats.


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:

  • Currently paddle whitewater in a kayak or canoe
  • Are comfortable in Class I and Class II whitewater, and ready to progress to Class III
  • Possess solid fundamental skills (wet exit, self-rescue, catching eddies, peeling out, ferrying, surfing, and river reading)
  • Have a solid flatwater kayak roll and successful combat roll

Class II River Kayaking

This is a great course for paddlers looking to continue to refine their skills and technique. After evaluating a participant’s current skill level, Paddling School Instructors will help guide you to becoming an intermediate paddler.


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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.


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

This is a great course for paddlers looking to continue to refine their skills and technique. After evaluating a participant’s current skill level, Paddling School Instructors will help guide you to becoming an intermediate paddler.


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 rollin 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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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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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.


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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 >

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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