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Top Paddling Schools

By Ann Beman - Updated by GreatOutdoors - March 4th, 2016

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While by no means comprehensive, this is a good list to find a paddling school in your area. It has schools from Washington state to Vermont. The list is arranged in three categories: Paddleboarding, Whitewater Kayaking, Canoeing, and Sea Kayaking. Happy paddling!



Charles River Recreation
160 Riverview Ave, Watham,  MA 02453
This group of avid paddlers takes advantage of the Lakes District of the Charles River, an historically SUP and canoe-dense waterway.

Four Corners Riversports
PO Box 379 Durango, CO 81302
Four Corners Paddleboard Classes
Durango has fantastic whitewater and paddling resources, and Kent Ford is a master instructor.

Carolina School of Surf
Office: 20 E. Second St, Ocean Isle Beach NC 28469
Class location: 44 East 1st, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Carolina School of Surf SUP



California Canoe & Kayak
Half Moon Bay, Rancho Cordova, and Oakland, CA
With 27 years of whitewater kayak, sea kayak, and canoe instruction and three locations in the San Francisco Bay area, CCK has masses of devoted graduates.

Cascade Kayak School
7050 Hwy 55, RIO, Horseshoe Bend, Idaho 83629
800/292-RAFT or 208/793-2221
Payette River kayak school run by the Long family and a cast of amazing characters who know how to kayak and how to teach kayaking.

Four Corners Riversports
PO Box 379 Durango, CO 81302

Nantahala Outdoor Center
13077 Hwy 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713-9114
(828) 785-4834
Most of the other schools on this list are offshoots, in one way or another, from NOC, which has been at it for more than 25 years. Offers kayak and canoe courses.

Otter Bar
Box 210, Forks of Salmon, CA 96031
I personally recommend this school, which offers cutting-edge instruction along with ridiculously good food, roomy hot tubs, and gorgeous landscape.

Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
14825 HWY 285, Salida, CO 81201
Reservations: 800/255-5784
Arkansas River kayak school in the middle of a hundred miles of river, ranging from easy first-day-in-the-boat water to expert runs.

Sierra South Mountain Sports
Box 1909, Kernville, CA 93238
I can also personally recommend this gem of a kayak school on the Wild and Scenic Kern River, surrounded by the Southern Sierra.

Sundance Expeditions & Kayak School
PO Box 1546, Rogue RIver, OR 97537
One of the US's oldest kayaking schools, 26-year-old Sundance is another instructional trendsetter. Courses on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.

Zoar Outdoor Paddling School
PO Box 245, Charlemont, MA 01339
It's probably the best-known and most reputable school in New England, with a lot of satisfied graduates.



Bob Foote
25012 Beauchamp Branch Rd., Denton, MD 21629
281/844-6854 (Email is best when Bob is out on the road, please check his schedule on the Instruction Page.)
Foote is a recognized leader in canoe sport. His address may say Oklahoma, but as his schedule shows, he's wherever the canoeing's good.

Charles River Recreation
160 Riverview Ave, Watham,  MA 02453

Madawaska Kanu Centre
PO Box 635, Barry's Bay, ON K0J 1B0 Canada
Summer: 613/756-3620
Winter: 613/594-5268
Located on the Madawaska River, near Algonquin Park, MKC is a whitewater resort, with gourmet meals and comfortable accommodations. Using the warm, dam-controlled Madawaska, Petawawa, and Ottawa rivers, the 27-year-old school offers instruction in canoe and whitewater kayak.

Maine Guides Online
122 Front St., Suite 333, Bath, ME 04530
Collection of Maine-based guides who offer canoe instruction. There's also a listing of whitewater kayak and sea kayak guides.



The Kayak Academy
11801 188th Ave SE, Issaquah WA 98027
Small course. Knowledgeable instructor who focuses on building solid skills.

Southwind Kayak Center
17855 Sky Park Cir. #A, Irvine, CA 92614
Courses range from first strokes to open ocean to surf zone paddling. Because it is the most popular paddle sports outfitter and school in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, Southwind's graduates are legion.







Amazing group of individuals!!!

Posted on May 27, 2009 - 1:53pm
by Pete Salesburg

I agree

I had the most amazing time at Liquid Skills and The Paddlers Inn B&B. The whole family made me feel at home and the kayak instruction at Liquid Skills was second to none. GO see for yourself!

Posted on May 27, 2009 - 1:55pm
by Visitor

Liquid Skills Kayak School and International Vacations

Posted on May 27, 2009 - 1:52pm
by Pete Salesburg

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