Class Descriptions: Whitewater | SUP | Flatwater

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 contact you before Paddle School to discuss your paddling skills and goals/objectives. The final decision of what level is appropriate for you is up to the instructor. 

The 2024 Whitewater Training Trips progression is designed for Level 1 and 2 attendees to build the skills learned in Paddle School. Trips begin the following week while the muscle memory is fresh!

Whitewater Course Descriptions – Kayak & Canoe

Level 1 (Novice)

This level is for those with little or no river experience. Students will learn and become comfortable with fundamental paddling skills and maneuvers. Students will work on wet exits, paddle strokes, eddy turns, peel‐outs, and ferries in class I/II whitewater. Classes begin on flat water and progress to easy-moving water (or whitewater). Both days will be on the Hiwassee River. This level is perfect for those who:

  • Have never been in a boat before OR
  • Have only been on the river a handful of times (less than five trips)
  • Working on their confidence paddling class II whitewater

Level 2 (Beginner)

This level is for paddlers with some river experience who are still building confidence in class II whitewater. Students will fine-tune the skills they
already know, work on more challenging river maneuvers, practice surfing, and practice combat rolls to gain more river experience. Participants should be comfortable paddling on class II whitewater and willing to work the river rather than paddle down the main lines. Both days will be on the Hiwassee. This level is perfect for those who:

  • Have at least some river experience (at least five trips)
  • Are comfortable with basic paddle strokes and maneuvers
  • Feel confident paddling down a class II rapid

Level 3 (Advanced Beginner)

This level is for paddlers 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 combat roll. Participants are expected to be able to easily ferry across class II whitewater, eddy hop, and perform harder moves on rivers such as the Hiwassee and Nantahala without getting fatigued. This class may be on the Hiwassee, Ocoee lite*, or both. This level is perfect for those who:

  • Are comfortable working on hard maneuvers on a class II rapid
  • Have a 50/50 combat roll
  • Feel comfortable stepping up to the Ocoee River

* Ocoee Lite: Traditionally, Ocoee Lite is defined as the rails below Grumpy’s rapid to Go Forth Creek consisting of class II-III rapids.

Level 4 (Intermediate)

You need to have experience paddling the Ocoee River comfortably in its entirety to participate in this level. This level is not appropriate for those who are seeking their personal first descent or still feel nervous on the Ocoee. Expect to work hard in this class as you fine-tune your skills on class II/III rapids. The class will work as a team for boaters to refine edging, ferries in stronger moving current, practice advanced technical moves, and surf and play in holes. Both days will be on the Ocoee River. This level is perfect for those who:

  • Feel comfortable on the Ocoee River
  • Have a solid combat roll
  • Can self-rescue and assist in rescuing others
  • Are ready to be pushed to the point of fatigue

Your instructor will contact you before Paddle School to discuss your
paddling skills and goals/objectives. The final decision of what level is
appropriate for you is up to the instructor.

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Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

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.

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Flatwater Course Descriptions – Kayak & Canoe

Traditional Flatwater

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.

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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).

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