The Wilmington Trail Club (WTC) summer whitewater training program is taught by American Canoe Association (ACA) certified instructors, assisted by experienced paddlers who have attended the WTC helper training program and augmented by our support staff.
The summer training program is designed to take kayakers from never having paddled a whitewater boat to safely and competently navigating easier Class III rapids. The entire program consists of three curricula spread over three 2-day weekends. The curricula must be taken in order because they are progressive; each weekend builds upon skills learned in the previous session. However, a student need not complete all curricula. Completing all three curricula should provide the skills for most persons to navigate easier Class III whitewater; however, completing one or two curricula will the provide the student the skills to safely navigate moving water up to Class II rapids. In addition, WTC offers multiple curricula on each weekend, so a student can miss a weekend, yet still take the classes in order.
We group students based on their degree of comfort and intended approach to the classes. Our pre-class survey allows prospective students to declare their intended approach to learning in one of three styles. Less aggressive students are grouped with others of similar style, more aggressive students with others of similar style. This allows students to progress at a level that fits their comfort zone, without potential intimidation or limitation from students of different mind sets.
Whitewater students are not required to attend the safety session conducted at the Fraim Boys and Girls Club. Whitewater students will be required to demonstrate a kayak wet exit, swimming ability, and general comfort in water on the first day of training at Lums Pond.
WTC conducts the summer whitewater training program at suitable locations near Wilmington, Delaware on weekend 1 and on the Lehigh River in scenic Carbon County, Pennsylvania on weekends 2 and 3. The Lehigh River offers multiple sections with rapids ranging from Class I to Class III at normal dam-release flows. Weekends 2 and 3 training are based out of a hostel, Canalside, in Weisport, Pennsylvania. A key part of the training is the camaraderie provided by having the students, instructors, and assistants spend the entire weekend together at Canalside, reliving the days’ adventures on the river and discussing future opportunities.
Risk is inherent in all outdoor activities; however, our trained staff ensure the WTC training program is conducted in the safest manner possible. Our ratio of students to instructors is never more than 4:1 and more often 3:1 or less. This allows our instructors to interact with students much more than many ACA certified programs.
We hope you will join us for the WTC summer whitewater training program. See you on the river!