Sierra South - Kern River Rafting, Kayaking and Climbing
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Kayaking School - Whitewater Kayaking Classes -Private Kayaking Instruction

Join us as we celebrate our 32nd year in business. We are proud of our status as the oldest, largest, and most experienced kayaking school in Southern and Central California.

Kayaking 101

River Kayaking 101

Beginner - Minimum Age 14 yrs.

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Our Style - Class Pricing - Reservation Info - More Information - Roll Classes - Whitewater Kayaking Float Notes (PDF)

Exciting, dynamic and rewarding, whitewater kayaking is the most challenging of all the various styles of kayaking available. With this class, we've successfully created river kayakers for 30+ years. Our proven teaching method takes you through a gradual progression that maximizes the fun. We've designed our beginning class for those who have never river kayaked before, or who have played around with kayaking some, but have not had formal instruction in the fundamentals of river kayaking. Take this class if you are a sea kayaker or surf kayaker paddling on the river for the first time.

The 101 class starts on the flatwater of Isabella Lake, where you will learn essential boating skills such as the wet-exit, self-rescue, partner-assisted rolls and efficient stroke technique. At the end of the morning session, we will break for a hearty lunch and preview the afternoon's challenges. We spend the afternoon on the lake developing more of the steering and balancing skills needed to do river maneuvers such as peel-outs, ferries, and eddy turns. These and other techniques are required to become a safe, efficient whitewater kayaker.

You'll begin your second day with a review of the first day's progress and an introduction to river reading and more safety skills. We will progress to the river to practice our new techniques on moving water. After lunch, the two-day class graduates take an exciting run down a class II-III whitewater section of the Kern. Upon completion of this class, students will receive a free kayak package rental and be eligible to rent a kayak in the future. What are you waiting for? Come out and learn a great new way to play! Classes start at 8:30am. sharp and are usually over by 4pm. Included are paddling equipment, lunch & transportation once you get to Sierra South. Now you are ready for the next step, The Third Day or an AM Roll/PM Tune-up.

And On The Third Day...

"If I just had one more day!" . . . We've heard our students say this time and again. A third day is often just what the River Gods ordered to make it all come together. Graduates of our three-day courses have described the third day as more valuable than the first two combined. Why? Everything seems to come together and just click. You'll get a dedicated introduction to the Eskimo roll, more river experience and extra time to practice new skills. And besides, it's a great way to spend a Monday! We understand that some people enjoy Monday morning traffic, so the third day is optional. All we need is at least three individuals from the class to sign up, and the third day is a go. Talk your classmates into blowing off work, and invest in a great sport. We'll write you a note.

Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking

Our Style - Class Pricing - Reservation Info - More Information - Roll Classes - Whitewater Kayaking Float Notes (PDF)

Beginner - Minimum Age 14 yrs.

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The Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking class is designed for those who want a taste of whitewater kayaking and may not want to commit to our 2 or 3 day classes. Instructors will help you learn some of the basic skills while introducing you to the exciting aspects of this sport. Instructor's will select the best boats for you, and gear, and then start you out on flat water to build better boat control. Lunch is included. Minimum number is 4 students.


Kayaking 201

River Kayaking 201

Advanced Beginner - Minimum Age 14 yrs.

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Our Style - Class Pricing - Reservation Info - More Information - Roll Classes - Whitewater Kayaking Float Notes (PDF)

A 201 is for those who have successfully completed a 101 class, or can boat comfortably in Class II water, competently self-rescue, and have a working knowledge of the Eskimo roll. The majority of the class is spent on moving water, with a morning at the lake as a refresher. Our river time starts with refining basic paddle strokes, eddy turns, and ferry angles. We then introduce advanced strokes, surfing, and more difficult eddy turns and peel-outs. If your 101 class did not include a third day, we recommend you take a 101 AM Lake Roll/PM Tune-Up, or repeat a 101 class before taking this class. Classes start at 8:30am. sharp and are usually over by 4pm. Included are paddling equipment, lunch & transportation once you get to Sierra South. If you need advice, please give us a call.

As in our 101 class we offer an optional third day of instruction. All it takes is three enthusiastic paddlers that would rather get in an extra day on the River, rather than endure the Monday morning commute. You can work on your roll, ferries, eddy-turns and surf a wave or two!

For Additional Classes Click One of the Following Links!

Whitewater Kayaking Classes
Kayaking 101
Kayaking 201
Total Kayaking Immersion
Women's 101 and 201
Never Too Old To... 101
Freestyle Class
Class IV/V Upper Kern
Class V Forks
Youth 101 and 201
101 & 201 Tune-Ups
101 & 201 Roll/Tune-Up Combos
Private Instruction
Boaters Rescue Course

Roll Classes
Lake Roll Class
River Roll Class
101 & 201 Roll/Tune-Up Combos

Touring and Recreational Kayaking
Intro To Lake Paddling

Custom Group Programs
Youth Groups
Company Trips
Public and Private Schools
Adventure Race Certification

Demos and Events
Boaters Rescue Course
Private Instruction
Event Calendar

Tandem Whitewater Kayaking
Dynamic Duo Whitewater Trip

Reserve online or call us at 1-800-457-2082, Monday-Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. Our classes start booking weeks in advance, so make your reservations early. Prices listed do not include 5% USFS/Land use fees. Operating under permit with the Sequoia National Forest, trips are conducted on the Wild & Scenic Kern River, at Isabella Lake, and in the majestic mountains of the Southern Sierra Nevada.

Please review our Kayaking Float Notes (PDF) to see how to get to Kernville, what you need to bring, and other important information. For more details, see Making Reservations. For information on Motels and Campgrounds see our "Around the Kern" Resource Guide.

The Day of the Kayak Class

All of Sierra South's classes meet at the Sierra South Mountain Sports Kernville store. There you will check-in for your class get any last minute items needed such as river shorts, sunscreen, noseplugs, etc., and greet your instructor. We will begin to outfit you with all the proper gear for your respective class. Then it is off to the river or lake to begin paddling. All of our classes start within a few minutes of the store. Vehicles are equipped with radios to insure a smooth operation. Lunch is provided on all one and two-day classes. Afternoon sessions end with transportation back to the store. Please see our Float Notes (PDF) for additional details.

Who is Sierra South? - Student Comments


New Whitewater Kayak Classes!
We have expanded our operations to provide commercial outfitter and guide services on the Forks of the Kern and additional sections of the Upper Kern River. This means more exciting kayaking classes for your paddling pleasure! Download our Rafting & Kayaking Adventures brochure (PDF) for more information!

Float Notes
Download these Whitewater Kayaking Float Notes (PDF) or Lake Kayaking Float Notes (PDF) to see how to get to Kernville, what you need to bring, and other important information.

Equipment Rentals
Nearly all our classes include the basic paddling equipment needed for the class. Please read the class description to see what equipment is included. If you would like to demo a new boat or paddle, or you left a vital piece of equipment at home, we have boat and equipment rentals available. Please consult out Rental Info page for rates and rental policies. Restrictions and pre-qualifications may apply on certain rental items.

Book Your Own Group Lesson!
If you have a group of four or more, and would like a date not scheduled, call us. We can set up a special mid-week class to fit your calendar at no extra charge.

Which Class Is Right For Me?
It is important to take a class at your proper skill level. Signing up for the wrong class can make the experience unpleasant for everyone. Our goal is to advance your boating skills with just the right amount of challenge. If you still have some questions after reading over the class descriptions, please give us a call at 1-760-376-3745.

Group Discounts
Group discounts can be earned for most of our trips. We are sorry, but group discounts are not available on Saturday starts or Holidays. To qualify for group discounts you must meet the minimum group numbers, pay your deposit and final payment with one credit card or check, and pay by the required dates, or revert to normal rates. For every confirmed Class III Lickety Split, Lickety Blaster, Lickety Inflatable Kayak, or Lickety Combo reservation of 12 people, one goes free except Saturdays or Holidays. On our Upper Kern trips, any group of 12 or more qualifies for a 10% discount any day except Saturdays or Holidays. Note: Large school groups are usually quoted separately. They are already discounted and do not qualify for any of the above discounts. Charter a full group of 15 guests on the Forks of the Kern and one goes free, except Saturdays or Holiday starts. For any confirmed Kayak or Climbing class of 10 (full charter) one goes free. NOTE: School programs are already group discounted and do not qualify for any of the above discounts.

You may cancel 45 or more days before your Sierra South trip date and receive a full refund less a $25 processing fee per person. Cancellations made 44 days or less before trip date are non-refundable. If you must cancel , try to find a friend to take your space. All trips go rain or shine. However, we reserve the right to alter or cancel a trip due to water conditions or insufficient reservations, in which case, only your trip fees are refundable. Refunds cannot be granted by guides and must be approved by our main office. No refunds will be given if you are injured, sick, or leave a trip or class early for any other reason. Sierra South is not liable for other costs incurred in association with a cancelled trip. We suggest trip insurance such as to cover any unexpected situations.

Responsibility and Liability
All Sierra South trips and classes involve physical activity and include certain elements of risk. We make every effort to run trips and classes in the finest, most fun-filled manner as possible. However, we cannot guarantee your safety. It is your responsibility to evaluate your level of fitness and to select a trip or class which is appropriate for you. Seek medical advice before your trip if you question your physical condition. It is your responsibility to follow our instructions. Everyone will be required to sign a release of liability/assumption of risk form and photography/video waiver form before departure. Minors under 18 not accompanied by their parents must bring to the river a release form signed by their parent or legal guardian. Click here to download the Release Form. ( PDF)


Store: 760-376-3745  Mail Order: 800-376-7303  Reservations: 800-457-2082

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