GETTING STARTED

Whitewater kayaking occurs on fast moving water on rivers with gradient and thus, features. Kayaks are generally made of a higher grade of plastic intended to sustain impact on rocks and other obstacles; they are designed specifically to work with current, carving and floating, rather than simply tracking in flatwater, as most recreational kayaks are designed. There are several niche disciplines of whitewater kayaking such as freestyle, creeking, slalom, and squirt. It’s awesome!
Lots of great boaters have progressed from beginner to advanced without any formal instruction, but most would agree they had better boaters around them serving as mentors and examples, and instruction may have saved them from some negative, unnecessary experiences a few times. The bottom line is that we believe in the power of education- hands on, experiential learning- as an incredible tool in creating lifelong boaters and stewards of the river. Seek out instruction before resigning to selling all your gear in a fit of desperation because you’ve had one too many bad days on the river, and don’t forget that even skilled and competent boaters can take away from focused instruction. We love what we do and want to help you love it, too. Beginners and intermediates certainly fit into our instruction, but we have room for more advanced boaters as well. If you’re on the fence about whether or not a lesson is for you, get in touch!
Take a lesson! We always recommend that folks take a beginner lesson before investing in any gear or getting in over their heads on a natural run- this can very easily lead to a negative and prohibitive experience! Learning to roll is usually a good place to begin, though students can expect to spend some time acclimating to gear and environment in order to establish comfort before really honing in on the roll. Paddlers usually acquire gear piecemeal- some new, some used- and get early river experience through instruction and paddling friends.
All H2o Dreams courses come with a skill level recommendation and a course description. Read those pages carefully, and reference user reviews for more information. If you are still unsure about fitting into a class, please contact us here.
You can register for predetermined clinics such as group or roll or submit a request/registration for a private lesson… all from our website! GROUP CLINICS | PRIVATE Those interested in custom group clinics should contact us via our CONTACT FORM for specifics on dates, rates, and availability.
The best part of our job is how flexible and mobile we are! We are generally available seven days a week and can travel to you, if desired. When you register for your private instruction, provide several options for availability and times that work well for you. When we receive your registration, we’ll be in touch to set up a specific date to work together.
Eventually, yes… but in the meantime, we can get you started. We have a few extra boats and lots of extra gear that will give you a good idea of what you like and what you don’t while still getting you on the water to have the full experience. Once you know you want to continue to pursue kayaking, we can guide you through some of the finer details of acquiring your own equipment. Having your own gear is like having your own pair of running shoes… you can borrow someone else’s and make it work, but there Is no comparison to having your own that fit you just right.
Clothing should be comfortable and preferably synthetic, and cotton should be avoided… think rash guards, running tights, board shorts, and workout T’s or long sleeves. Layers are ideal for managing temperature, and students will be most comfortable in fitness-style attire as opposed to swimsuits. Fleece, wool, and neoprene are great materials for layering in cooler temperatures while nylon and spandex will help insulate and keep cool in warmer weather. Splash wear and dry wear will be suggested on a course by course basis and per the time of year. If you have it, bring it!
Plenty of water and snacks as well as meals- unless otherwise noted- will be critical for maintain your energy and wellbeing throughout the duration of the course; please plan accordingly.
Comfort swimming in still and moving water is imperative for your safety and progress while working with H2o Dreams. Our courses are not suitable for non swimmers, and those with weak swimming skills should clearly and effectively communicate such to H2o Dreams prior to any course or clinic.

REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT

A nonrefundable payment in full is required in order to reserve your spot for a class with H2o Dreams. Some programs require a nonrefundable deposit of 50% in order to hold space for a student or group.
We do not offer refunds for H2o Dreams programming. Students may receive a refund if he/she finds a replacement for his/her spot in the class. H2oDreams reserves the right to cancel and reschedule a clinic or lesson at any time as weather and river flows can be unpredictable and will work diligently to communicate changes in plans and location in a timely manner with safety and effectiveness as a number one priority. Should a course be cancelled on the part of H2o Dreams, a full refund or course credit will be offered. If a program stipulates a nonrefundable deposit, total trip cost is to be paid in full by 30 days prior to the trip and is nonrefundable unless specified otherwise.
A $25 rescheduling fee is required in order for cancellations and/or rescheduling within two weeks of the course date; this fee may be waived if a replacement is found on the part of the student. Otherwise, course credit may be applied to a class after priority is given to first-time registrants. Students whom are rescheduling group clinics will be wait listed and informed of his/her status no less than three days out from the course. Private instruction may be rescheduled at the availability of the instructor(s).

INSTRUCTION & SAFETY

We love teaching- in general- and all things water related. Teaching kayaking gives us the opportunity to get out on the water and share our passion and reverence for the rivers we love so much with new people every day. Stewardship is at the forefront of our mission, and creating educational opportunities for students both on and off the water is not only effective and rewarding, it’s downright fun. Our aim is to create lifelong paddlers and stewards of the natural world; we fight for that with which we’ve made a personal connection, and education is a big part of forging those connections.
Our mission is to grow river leaders and stewards while strengthening water communities through experiential learning. That said, students can expect to learn through guided discovery while being gently pushed and challenged somewhat outside of his/her normal realm of comfort, always with safety as a top priority. Our goal is to create self-sufficiency for paddlers, and this is facilitated through student ownership of the river experience; we work hard to stray from dogma in order to create a more holistic and dynamic learning relationship. Students will not necessarily become masters of skill right away but will always leave clinics or courses with fundamentals and drills that will reinforce positive habits and experiences.
Yes! Everything from freestyle to creeking to flatwater to SUP; we even taught a pack raft lesson this past fall! If you have a desire to learn, we’re here to facilitate it… and if we cannot do it ourselves, we will point you in the right direction.
Just about anywhere with water! There are plenty of viable options in the Southeast to work on everything from comfort on Class I-II to stepping up your boating on Class III and beyond. We also have the flexibility of visiting you in your home paddling region! Name the location, and we’ll see what we can do about making it work for you and your goals.
Kayaking is an extreme sport that takes place in a natural and inherently unpredictable environment, which means it carries risk and consequence of varying degrees dependent upon the seriousness of the whitewater. That being said, proper training and education both in skill and equipment usage goes a long way to manage and prevent those risks and consequences. Kayaking can be like any other activity if individuals are diligent in decision making, progression, and safety, and this is usually best mitigated through instruction. For that reason, we offer swiftwater rescue classes throughout the year to familiarize you with preventative safety and rescue techniques as well as keeping old skills sharp.
Fear is a natural part of kayaking because of its unpredictability, but only you can answer if kayaking is really for you. We deal with fear every day- both personally and professionally- and are no strangers to working through mental blocks and hang ups. All you need is a willingness to put in the hard work to manage the fear and kayaking can certainly become a fulfilling experience for you. Don’t let fear keep you from taking the first step (or first few steps!), but remember to be honest with yourself and your instructors about what’s holding you back. Kayaking can be for everyone, but only you can determine whether or not it’s for you. Check out our blog for some insight on fear management and motivation!
Absolutely! Kids make some of the best students! Age is generally not as important as willingness and teachability. There are boats and safety equipment made specifically for kids, and lots of young up and coming paddlers in the community to become acquainted with! Contact us directly with questions/concerns about your child and their comfort on the water. Passing along a passion for watersports and a reverence for nature and education is what we’re all about!
Absolutely; the biggest part of working with individuals is communicating with us beforehand. We are open to new ideas, experiences, and new ways of doing things. If you have an idea or a desire to get on the water, let us know.

MEDIA

Good question! It has a lot to do with our mission to expand reverence for outdoor sports education and foster stewardship in the communities we come in contact with for the environment we love so much. It also has a little bit to do with the nature of social media and the direction our society is heading in regarding the ease of access of information. For more info, check out Chris’s video answering this question in person.
Send us an email at info@whitewaterdreams.com. We are in the process of expanding H2o Dreams to better serve and incorporate our love for media and the creative process! Our freelance experience covers everything from workplace safety videos to marketing animations. Drop us a line!