Potential Newbie Advice

I am an avid skier and cyclist, but I have always wanted to take up whitewater kayaking. The problem is, I dont have any idea how to get started.

I live in las vegas. There are some basic classes here I plan on taking in the upcoming month or two. But beyond that, I am lost. I am interested strictly in whitewater. Are there spots near las vegas that I can go to. How does one manage the trips in terms of parking going down river and getting picked up. Where does one get together with like minded people to plan logisitics for these things.

Any and all advice for someone looking to get into the sport is welcomed.


hit up your local shop
Good that you are taking classes. White water skills aren’t usually things that people figure out on their own, so good to go to a class on it.

While there, ask the instructor about local rivers. Does the Colorado have white water in your area? The closest I can think of is the Kern, which drops down into Bakersfield.

On shuttles, there are many ways to do this - get a partner so you have 2 vehicles, hitchhike, use a beater bike, hire a shuttle, etc.

Start with thelesson folks
I don’t know what level of whitewater you have around you, but there are some constants that work the same anywhere.

Most people hook up with others of similar skill level to paddle. That way cars can be left at each end of the run to ferry people back to the cars at the top that the boats came off of.

You might find groups of people who are much better paddlers and are happy to take a couple of newer folks along with them on a run, or see someone they kind of know and keep an eye on them. But the higher the rating the more that falls away. You are unlikely to find anyone, including coaches, willing to be in charge of a newbie in class 3 or higher. For that, the paddler should have demonstrated some skills including calmness in a capsize and at least the possibility of a roll.

This is a matter of basic safety, not snobbery. People without time under their seat and a few mishaps to teach them a lesson about how not to lean don’t belong in that grade of whitewater.

Bottom line, you have to be a part of a cadre to find one. Just starting out, you don’t want to do even class 2 whitewater alone. Taking lessons is the best way to find that group if you have not already entered the more serious paddling community.

it’s a long drive but in your state

– Last Updated: Apr-03-15 5:37 PM EST –

Reno has a great downtown whitewater play park. Apparently there is at least one instructor in the area. "Play parks" are good places to learn because the whitewater limits are usually defined and access points are designed-in.

Check out this blog post, it mentions the instructor:


If I were you, I'd try to contact this or any other instructor in or near reno, and take in the reno whitewater festival if you can.

Good info from all…imho just hunt up

– Last Updated: Apr-03-15 9:27 PM EST –

the dedicated websites..three that come to mind instantly are: