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.


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 fewer before trip date are non-refundable. If you must cancel, please 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/class due to high- or low-water conditions, other such uncontrollable situations, or insufficient reservations. Only in the case of canceled trips are trip fees refundable. Upon approval by our main office, refunds will be sent via mail. Refunds cannot be granted by guides, nor can refunds be given if you leave a trip or class early for any reason. Sierra South is not liable for other costs incurred in association with a canceled trip. We suggest trip insurance such as Travelguard.com to cover any unexpected situations.


Some of our trips require a minimum number of guests to operate. The Whitewater Kayaking 101 requires a minimum of 4 guests.
We will attempt to contact you if the minimums have not been met for the activity that you have chosen prior to the trip date. Minimum numbers can be met through one or multiple reservations and can be met up to the day before the trip. You can call 800-457-2082 for up-to-date trip status.

Water Levels Change:

Trips may be substituted or changed due to water levels.

Responsibility & 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 must have an online release form signed by their parent or legal guardian.

No Unaccompanied Minors:

Minors must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.

Whitewater Kayaking 201

Advanced Beginner | Ages 14 & up

201 is for those who completed 101, or who can boat comfortably in Class II water & self-rescue, with working knowledge of the Eskimo roll.

Whitewater Kayaking 201

201 is for those who completed 101, or who can boat comfortably in Class II water & self-rescue, with working knowledge of the Eskimo roll.

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


Closed Until Further Notice


Monday-Friday 9 am-4 pm

U.S. Forest Service Logos