Paddle School philosophy is Challenge by Choice. Instructors will present skills and water opportunities to practice those skills under their tutelage. It’s your choice whether to take advantage of those opportunities. The instructors and safety boaters will encourage you to gently challenge yourself but won’t press you to do something you aren’t comfortable with. You will always have the final call!
The only required skill that all students, in all classes, must demonstrate is a safe water exit from their boat or SUP. We require this for obvious reasons. Usually, this skill is demonstrated and performed early on the first day.
All classes will begin with some sort of warm-up so that the instructor can assess the abilities of the class.
Classes are designed and put together by an experienced team of TVCC gurus who cull through the information you provided on your registration form including your skill assessment, goals, and personal skills development objectives. We pair you up with like-minded students and find the best instructor and support boaters to work with you.
Classes are typically 5 students with one instructor and 2-3 support boaters. We never exceed a ratio of 1 instructor to 5 students.
After the first day of Paddle School you can request changes to ensure you maximize the training opportunity available. These include asking for a different class, instructor, river, etc. We want you to get as much out of the Paddle School experience as possible while having fun doing it. Tell your instructor what you’d like and that will get relayed to our team; you will be notified of any changes for the next day.
TVCC follows training standards established by the American Canoe Association (ACA) and our Instructors are either ACA Certified Instructors or the most experienced paddlers in our club.
Your instructor will reach out to you within a week or two before Paddle School. They will discuss their plans for the class and give you a chance to ask questions.
Whitewater Course Descriptions – Kayak & Canoe
Level 1 – Taught on the Hiwassee River
This class is for those with little or no experience river experience. Students will learn and become comfortable with fundamental paddling skills and maneuvers. Students will work on wet exits (kayak), paddle strokes, eddy‐turns, peel‐outs, and ferries in Class I/II whitewater. Classes begin on flatwater and progress to easy moving water (or whitewater).
This level is perfect for those who:
- Have never been in a boat before
- Have only been on the river a handful of times
- Have never taken any kind of previous instruction
Level 2 -Taught on the Hiwassee River
This class is for paddlers with some river experience, but who are still building confidence in Class II whitewater. Students will build on and refine their skills to go beyond the basic level, review strokes and maneuvers, work on rolls, and gain more river experience.
This level is perfect for those that:
- Have at least some river experience
- May or may not have taken some formal or informal instruction
- Are comfortable with basic paddle strokes and maneuvers
Level 3 – Taught on both the Hiwassee & Ocoee Rivers
This class is for paddlers who are solid on Class II whitewater and have a 50/50 whitewater combat roll. Focus is on more advanced river running skills, surfing, and fine‐tuning your roll.
This level is prefect for those who:
- Are comfortable on Class II Whitewater
- Have completed significant instruction; have at least a 50/50 combat roll
Level 4 – Taught on the Ocoee River
Expect to work in this class as you fine-tune your skills on Class 2-3 rapids. The whole class will work as a team for boaters refine edging, ferries in stronger moving current, and other technical moves as they surf, side surf, and play in holes. This course is taught on the Ocoee River.
This level is perfect for those who:
- Have a WW roll
- Can self-rescue/assist in rescuing others
- Want to be pushed on skills
Location: Ocoee River at Big Creek Take Out
The SUP class will be taught on flat water. We will cover L1 SUP strokes and maneuvers, safe falling, remounting, and basic rescue moves.
A yoga certified instructor will be co-teaching this class. We will combine L1 paddle boarding skills with SUP yoga.
This class is perfect for beginning paddle boarders wanting to improve balance and skills, as well as experienced paddle boarders who want to incorporate SUP yoga in their outings.
Class will be held at the Private Boater takeout on the Ocoee and is limited to 7 students.
Flatwater Course Descriptions
Location: Parksville Lake & Big Creek
This group will be covering how to paddle safely among power boats, gear, practicing self and assisted rescue techniques, paddle strokes, and much more. Suitable boat types are Sea Kayaks, Recreational Kayaks, Canoes, and Sit On Tops. Paddling will primarily be on Parksville Lake and a Flatwater section of the Ocoee River. No experience required for this class.
Recreational Kayaking / River Running on Class I Water
Location: lower Hiwassee River
This group is for Recreational Kayak paddlers who want to learn to better maneuver their boats down creeks and rivers containing current and obstacles.
- Suitable boat types are, Recreational Kayaks, and Sit-On-Top Kayak (flotation devices will be required for kayaks that could fill with water).
- Students in this class will learn basic paddling & self-rescue skills. Classes will be conducted in flatwater on day one and then move to moving water on the Lower Hiwassee (Class I) from Reliance to the 411 bridge – day 2. Some Flatwater experience is preferred. Note: There will be rocks and current on the section of river you will be on.
- If you have questions on the suitability of your boat, or whether a sprayskirt is required or helmet should be worn, our instructor will be in contact you to answer any questions
- Students will be expected to exit their boats for several skills and drills, and participate in both self and buddy assisted rescues.
Paddle School is primarily conducted on the Hiwassee and Ocoee Rivers.
HIWASSEE RIVER: The middle Hiwassee, from the Powerhouse put in to the Reliance Bridge take out is a Class II river. River Running and SUP courses use the lower Hiwassee from the Reliance Bridge to Hwy 411 Bridge. The lower section is predominantly Class I with two Class II wave train rapids. Learn more about the Hiwassee River here (opens in new tab).
OCOEE RIVER: The middle Ocoee, from the Dam #2 put in to the public take out at Big Creek is predominantly Class III with some challenging Class IV rapids. The Annual TVCC Ocoee River Race is held on this section. Learn more about the Ocoee River here (opens in new tab).