Interested in taking a SUP on the river? Want to learn how to shred rapids on your SUP? I would love to be your coach! Come take a class with me, and I’ll help you achieve your river paddling goals!

I am partnering with WET River Trips to offer classes on the South Fork of the American River near Coloma, CA. If you or someone you know wants to schedule a class please click on the register button and complete the registration form.

GROUP CLASS BEGINNER:  ideal for folks with experience SUPing on lakes or ocean; no river experience required.  Topics covered include river features and hazards; equipment; stances and strokes; self-rescue; river signals; beginner movement skills (upriver and downriver ferry, running easy rapids, catching eddies).  Difficulty: Class I to II

GROUP CLASS INTERMEDIATE:  ideal for strong lake or ocean SUPers who also have experience SUPing whitewater.  Topics covered include an assessment/review of beginner river SUP skills; intermediate movement skills (peel out, eddy turn, C turn, S-turn, eddy hopping, punching through waves/holes); scouting; river surfing; tactics for running class II rapids on a SUP.  Difficulty: up to Class II+

GROUP CLASS ADVANCED:  ideal for river SUPers comfortable in Class II whitewater and who want to progress to Class III.  Topics covered include an assessment/review of beginner and intermediate river SUP skills; tactics for running class III rapids on a SUP.  Difficulty: up to Class III

PRIVATE LESSON:  ideal for SUPers who want an individualized learning experience.  Topics will be customized based on agreed upon goals.  Difficulty: tailored to paddler(s) ability

While we can’t eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, we are implementing the following operational changes to reduce the risks of transmission:

  • Following CDC, state, and local guidelines
  • Special recommendations for “at-risk” populations
  • Allowing rescheduling of class due to illness
  • Pre-class health screenings for guests and staff
  • Class size limited to 4 participants 
  • Scheduling class participants from the same geographic location
  • Updated Participant Agreement, Release, and Acknowledgment of Risk
  • Increasing physical distance wherever possible
  • Use of face coverings required while on land and within 6 feet
  • Frequent hand washing/sterilizing
  • Assign personal equipment for the duration of the class
  • Limit equipment sharing
  • Equipment quarantine and disinfection between classes
  • Use of personal vehicles for river shuttles when possible
  • Maintain class records to assist with potential contact tracing

Please bring the following:

  • Clothing appropriate for conditions

  • Dry suit if air temp < 60 deg

  • Wet suit if air temp is 60-80 deg

  • Swimwear, rash guard, board shorts, spandex bottoms if air temp > 80 deg

  • Sturdy river shoes or booties, socks appropriate for water temperature

  • Sunscreen, snacks, water bottle with carabiner

Equipment provided:

  • River SUP board and paddle

  • Whitewater helmet and PFD

  • Releasable leash and knee pads

  • Use of personal river gear is subject to pre-approval

Classification of Whitewater

Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.

Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class II+”.

Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficulty to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class III-“ or “Class III+” respectively.

Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class IV-“ or “Class IV+” respectively.

Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class 5 is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc… each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last.

These runs have almost never been attempted and often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. After a Class VI rapids has been run many times, its rating may be changed to an appropriate Class 5.x rating.