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Whitewater Kayaking 101

Beginner | Ages 14 & up

1-Day Student (14+)
2-Day Student (14+)
3-Day Student (14+)

Exciting, dynamic, and rewarding, whitewater kayaking is the most challenging of all the various styles of kayaking available.

Multi-Day Whitewater Kayaking Class

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 flat water of Isabella Lake, where you 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 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.

Begin your second day with a review of the first day’s progress and an introduction to river reading and more safety skills. We 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 Sierra South kayaking class, students receive a free kayak package rental and are eligible to rent a kayak in the future.

Those wanting the third day will use this time to hone their newly acquired skills while under the watchful eye of the instructor. Get that extra river time to work on roll techniques or other important skills. All it takes is three enthusiastic paddlers that would rather get in an extra day on the Kern River, rather than endure the Monday morning commute. Work on your roll, ferries, eddy-turns, and surf a wave or two! What are you waiting for? Come out and learn a great new way to play!


Schedule & Duration

  • One, two or three days; 6-7 hours per day
  • Months of operation: March – September
  • Class Arrival Time: 8:00 am.
  • Class Departure Time: 8:30 am.
  • We suggest you arrive at the store 30-45 minutes prior to the class departure time. This will allow sufficient time to check-in and change into wetsuits if needed or required. Our classes must leave on schedule. Don’t miss the boat!


  • Must be at least 14 years old
  • Must weigh between 50 and 275 lbs.
  • Please wear shoes that will stay on your feet in the water, such as tennis shoes, water shoes, or sandals that have a heel strap. No flip-flops or bare-feet!

Additional Information

  • The one-day course is an introduction to kayaking. It does not make you eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion, or a free kayak package rental, or eligible to rent a kayak in the future.
  • Upon completion of the two-day or three-day river kayaking class, students receive a Certificate of Completion, plus a free kayak package rental and are eligible to rent a kayak in the future.
  • Included are paddling equipment, lunch, and transportation once you get to Sierra South.
  • All classes require a minimum number of guests. If participant numbers are not met we will notify you and provide various options for your class to go on.
  • All of our kayaking trips may be adjusted based on water levels and/or other conditions.

Reservation Policies

Please see our Reservation Policies Page for details on our cancellation, guest responsibility and liability, accompaniment, minimums, and water levels policies.

Sierra South
Mountain Sports

11300 Kernville Road
Kernville, California 93238

Sierra South operates under permits issued by: Sequoia National Forest, Klamath National Forest, and the National Park Service/Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Sierra South is an equal opportunity recreation service provider.

Hours of Operation


Open 8 am-6 pm Monday-Sunday


 Open 9 am-5 pm Monday-Friday

U.S. Forest Service Logos