2022 Intermediate/Advanced Training

Additional Training

Wilmington Trail Club offers additional whitewater training options through the Intermediate and Advanced 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.

2022  Courses – Intermediate/Advanced Paddlers’ Program

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

All WTC Covid protocols will be required including: vaccination + booster

**WTC membership is required.

**Instructors may require active ACA membership.  (Or the additional ACA event waiver fee ($10))


May 22nd  – Low-Flow Fun

– Instructor – Denise Hackman

Location: Lehigh River, White Haven to Rockport, venue subject to change depending on river conditions

Enrollment limit: 4

Course Description: This class will include working on river running skills in a more technical setting, reading water, adapting to changes in rapids as the water flow becomes more channelized, and becoming acquainted with rocks.

Prerequisite skills: comfortable on class 2 rivers, familiar with White Haven to Rockport section.

Recommended skills: solid roll and/or competent with self-rescue skills.

Deadline for registration: May 15th

Gear needed: All whitewater gear and weather appropriate layering. Some gear rentals are available through WTC.

Course Fee: $20

May – Date to be determined – River Safety Course

– Instructor – Susan Wentz

Location: tbd

Number of students: Minimum of 3; Maximum of 10

Learn to paddle safely down the river by learn how to identify and avoid river hazards.  Learn basic rescue skills that are focused on fast low-risk strategies for early management of river accidents.  Learn things such as throwing a rope, swimming in moving water, recovering swimmers, loose boat and equipment.   This is a one day course mixed with discussion and skills.  Water level needs to be suitable to practice swimming skills.

*Prerequisite Skills: Instructor will advise on sign-up

Course Fees: $20/course


June 5th – Getting Back to the River

-Instructor –Lois Hillman

Proposed section -Lehigh (Jim Thorpe to Weissport)

Enrollment limit: 5

Course Goals: Ready to get back on the river?  Focus on getting back in the boat, regaining and improving your comfort level in Class 2 water.

Course will emphasize scouting a Class 2 rapid and making a plan to paddle that rapid. (Yes, we will be out of our boats and land scouting).  We will review the use of basic strokes 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 18th – Rolling In Current

-Instructor – Dave Sibley

Location: Delaware River – Scudders’

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

Course Fee: $10

June 25th – Paddler’s Toolbox

-Instructor – Jim Costello

Proposed section – Lehigh River (Whitehaven to Rockport)

Maximum of 5 students

Course Goals: We will work on using the water to aid our paddling. We will work on attainment moves and our eddy and ferrying skills

Focus on: Reading water, paddle strokes, attainments, ferrying, eddying in/out

Weather dependent gear is required

*Prerequisite skills: Solid roll and/or self-rescue skills

Registration deadline: June 18th

Course Fee: $20


July – Date -tbd – Attainment and River Reading

– Instructor – Susan Wentz

Proposed section – Susquehanna River – Dauphin Narrows

Maximum of 5 students

Course Goals: Come to the Dauphin Narrows 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


August 20th – 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, if you can find it!

Cost: $20 per participant.

August 13th – Kayaking: Beyond the Basics – Using River Features

– Instructor – Jim Costello

Location: Lehigh – White Haven to Rockport

Maximum of 5 students

In this class we will work on building on your basic kayak skills.  We will be using numerous features on the river to allow us to fine tune paddling skills.  All drills will be challenge by choice.

Class Topics:

  • Body position and the effects on boat handling
  • Eddies – single boat eddies, mid-river eddies, large eddies, using the entire eddy, use of boat angle when entering and exiting an eddy
  • Using current
    • Dominant current – How to recognize it and use it to aid you movement
    • Cross current push – Using current, boat angle and limited strokes to move into dominant flow of the river
  • Rolling Instruction (time sensitive) – fine tuning your roll

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

 August 27th – Kayaking with an Active Paddle Blade

-Instructor – Jack Frankosky

Lehigh River – Section to-be-determined

Enrollment limit: 4 students

This course is intended for students who have had whitewater training and want to build on that foundation. We will develop skills aimed at keeping a blade in the water, linking strokes and maneuvers. Along the way, we’ll work on how to develop new route options and use river features on Class 2-3 to prepare you for tackling more difficult rapids and advanced moves.

The course includes blade exercises and stroke applications…with a theme of keeping a blade in the water most of the time. This is aimed at developing tools for executing tighter eddy turns, tailoring peel outs and other exit strategies, enabling more route options through rapids and enhancing dynamic stability in bigger water.  There will be opportunities for demonstration and practice of a variety of situations.

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

-Working hard on these exercises is likely to earn you some upside-down time.

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

-A working roll will help you and the class immensely.

Weather dependent gear is required.

Course Fee: $20

August – date to be determined – 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: Completed at least 3 runs on this section, with a high level of comfort.  Strong self-rescue skills are desirable, but a combat roll is not necessary.

Course Fee: $20