2023 Intermediate Training

Additional Training

Wilmington Trail Club offers additional whitewater training options through the Intermediate Paddlers Program. These courses are organized and taught by WTC – ACA certified instructors. The content of the courses varies from season to season so check back to stay current with new postings. The overall goal of this program is to offer these courses at affordable prices to encourage paddlers to take a variety of course offerings. Courses include: skills development courses, learning how to roll in current, coached river trips geared to the advanced beginners, intermediate and advanced paddler, and playboating options. A variety of safety classes will also be offered in different area locations. Additionally, as part of this program we will periodically sponsor courses from outside providers on topics such as swift water rescue and wilderness first aid.

** For more information — Please refer to the WTC trip calendar, Forums, and Facebook for listings of course offerings.

                       Email: wtcintermediate@gmail.com

2023  Courses – Intermediate Paddlers Program

*PLEASE NOTE –The instructor will post additional course/contact information as the course approaches.  All courses are water/weather dependent.

**WTC and ACA membership is required for all courses.


**Back-to-Back complimentary courses June 3 and 4 – take one or both days

June 3rd – Getting Back to the River – Land and River Scouting

-Instructor –Lois Hillman

Proposed section -Lehigh (Jim Thorpe to Weissport)

Enrollment limit: 5

Course Goals:  Is your goal to get back on the river? Are you hoping to build some confidence?  This course will focus on getting you back to the river and emphasize scouting as a way to grow your confidence and independence on the water.  We will be scouting Class 2 rapids and making a plan to reach a given point on the river.  We will begin by land scouting then transition those skills to river scouting. (Yes, we will be out of our boats and land scouting).  We will review strokes and maneuvers to enhance boat control and reach a determined destination.

Weather dependent gear is required

*Prerequisite Skills: Paddlers that participated in previous WTC WW training programs.(or equivalent at instructor discretion).  WTC and ACA membership required.

Course Fee: $20


June 4th – Back to the River – Putting it all into Play

-Instructor – Susan Love

Proposed section -Lehigh (Glen Onoko to Weissport)

Enrollment limit: 5

Course Goals:  Start the day at Glen Onoko practicing your underwater comfort, your roll and/or self-rescue skills, wherever you are in the process.  Then, after a review of the scouting skills practiced on June 3 you will plan your way down the Glen Onoko rapid.  The rest of the day will be geared toward the goals of the group with an emphasis on boat control and using river features to get to your destination.

Weather dependent gear is required

*Prerequisite Skills: Paddlers that participated in previous WTC WW training programs.(or equivalent at instructor discretion).  WTC and ACA membership required.

Course Fee: $20


June 17th – Rolling Coaches’ Workshop

– Instructor – Dave Sibley

Location: Silver Lake. Dover, DE

Class size: about 10 people. WTC and ACA membership required.

Duration: all day.   Bring a lunch, hydration, chair, and whatever else makes you comfortable. Carpooling is encouraged.

Description: This course is intended to share knowledge and technique among people who teach rolling, or who would like to begin teaching. Rather than an instructor/student model, this is a collaborative workshop. We all teach differently and there is a wealth of information to share. We will work in the water and also on land.

Most of us teach the sweep roll, but we will look at other rolls, especially the C-to-C roll. If there’s interest and time, we can look at back deck rolls, hand rolls and some Greenland techniques which can help us to learn and to teach Whitewater rolling. If you have a Greenland stick or hand paddles, bring them. A long skinny displacement hull boat is helpful in learning rolls, especially hand rolls.  Playboats are good for back deck rolls.

Prerequisites: A reasonably reliable pool roll will be helpful. This is not a class to learn to roll. Preference will be given to Wilmington Trail Club instructors, and to people who are already coaching others with their rolls. Active participation is requested; you will be asked to describe and demonstrate your teaching technique.

Helpful learning materials:

Sweep roll – The Kayak Roll by Kent Ford, www.performancevideo.com

C-to-C roll – Grace under Pressure by Joe Holt, Free on YouTube

Cost: $20 per participant   **( full tuition will be prepaid for all WTC instructors attending the clinic and other WTC members who have regularly coached WTC students).


June 24th – Utilizing River Features

– Instructor – Josh Smith

Proposed section: Lehigh (White Haven to Rockport)

Maximum of 4 students

Course Goals: Identifying and using river features to break down rapids.  Focus on catching eddies in the middle of the river and using slackwater and other river features to navigate across flow in a controlled manner.

**Prerequisite Skills: High level of comfort on the Upper Lehigh (or equivalent river, at the instructor’s discretion). 

Course Fee: $20. WTC and ACA membership required.



July 15th – Rolling In Current

-Instructor – Dave Sibley

Location: tbd

Enrollment limit: 5 students; 1 instructor 10:2 with qualified assistance/safety boater

Rolling on a river can be harder than in a pool for various reasons, but it can sometimes be easier. We will look at rolling in a way that uses the current to our advantage. The venue will have good eddy service and easy assisted recovery. We plan to have enough support so that no one will need to pull the cord! Remember that repeated rolls will let in more water than the occasional roll, so latex gaskets are recommended.

*Prerequisite Skills: Reliable pool roll. WTC and ACA membership required.

Course Fee: $20


July 29th – Attainment and River Reading

– Instructor – Susan Wentz

Proposed section – tbd  (Susquehanna River – Dauphin Narrows or Delaware River – Wing Dam) **This course is dependent upon river conditions and may be modified as needed to achieve optimal outcomes of the day.

Maximum of 5 students

Course Goals: Come on out for a day of river attainment.  You will learn to read water and learn the best way to pick you way up the rapid.  You will learn about different types of eddies and  how to use them.  This is a park and play area with surf spots and plenty of other things to do.  Spent 2-4 hours or more playing and learning to hone your river reading skills.  Group and/or individual instruction will be provide based on need.  Stay as long as you want to practice the skills you learn.  Low water is required for this course to make attainment easy for all size boats.

*Prerequisite Skills: Paddlers that participated in previous WTC WW training programs.(or equivalent at instructor discretion). Reliable roll and/or solid self-rescue skills

Weather dependent gear is required.

Course Fee: $20. WTC and ACA membership required.


**Back-to-Back complimentary courses on the Lehigh July 29th and 30th  – take one or both days

 July 29th – Fine Tuning Strokes and Hitting Your Planned Objective

– Instructor – Jim Costello

Location: Lehigh – White Haven to Rockport

Maximum of 4 students

In this class we will work on fine tuning strokes and improving boat control to reach a desired destination. We will be using numerous features on the river to allow us to adjust strokes and stroke combinations to improve boat control. There will be opportunities for repeat moves to hone your outcomes. 

Prerequisite Skills:  Participants should have basic knowledge of paddle strokes, solid boat control and the ability to roll a kayak.  High level of comfort on the Upper Lehigh.  Must have weather dependent gear.

Course Fees: $20. WTC and ACA membership required.


 July 30th – Variations on Draw Stroke for Shaping and Sharpening Eddy Turns

-Instructor – Jack Frankosky

Lehigh River – Section to-be-determined

Enrollment limit: 4 students

Draw strokes include at least Normal (and sculling version), Bow and Stern. Transition between these often keeps the active blade in the water. The course will focus on these variations and when to use them, especially as applied to getting in and out of eddies.

We will start with paddle exercises in flat to slow moving water and build boat-edge control. As we get into moving water and add boat momentum, some of these variations will make a lot more sense.

With a common understanding, we will select progressively more difficult targets: large side-eddies to start; then, smaller, mid-stream eddies with more dynamic eddy-lines. We will add technique for peeling out, too. Just as some eddy-turns require a very sharp pivot, some peel-outs must be tight, too. Other variations on the draw will help cross chutes and waves in a jet-ferry – more fun than S-turns.

Course goals include development of strokes and confidence to use for entry and exit of mid-stream and down-rapid eddies.  These are useful as a venue for river-scouting and, along with other features, are tools for letting the river do more of the work for the paddler. Pulling these tools in coordination will enable navigation of longer, more complicated and difficult rapids.

*Prerequisite Skills:  Completion of WTC Novice/Beginner Training program for Whitewater Kayaking or equivalent, with Instructor discretion.


A working roll always helps you and the class. These exercises can earn us some time upside-down.

Whether or not your roll is solid, dressing for a swim is always a good idea.

Course Fee: $20. WTC and ACA membership required.