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Where to Learn to Kayak


Step #1 Read: How to Become a Whitewater Kayaker

Heather Herbeck

Girls4Sport kayaker Heather Herbeck helps a kayaking student with learning to roll

Where do I learn?

So, the interest is there . . . you have heard about the sport of kayaking, seen images portraying the excitement, thrill and beauty of the sport and now want to try it for yourself . . . but, where do you begin?

Whether it’s whitewater, sit-on-top, inflatable or sea kayaking that peaks your interest, professional instruction is your first step.  Learning from a professional kayak school will speed up your learning curve and provide you with the safest environment possible, all while making your experience true ‘awesomeness’.

There are many quality kayak schools around the United States.  So, depending on where you live or where you vacation, you can find this professional service available.  I feel fortunate to have visited many kayak schools around the U.S. and want to share with you some of my top picks and my experiences with them:

Personal instruction
Being nationally certified through the American Canoe Association, I have been teaching kayaking for over 6 years in the Columbia River Gorge.  Throughout the years, my emphasis has developed into teaching women’s and kid’s programs in addition to beginner and intermediate instruction.  I do both private kayak instructional courses or work along with Wet Planet Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking.  The goal in my courses is to share my passion in a fun, comfortable environment for everyone participating. 

Wet Planet Whitewater 
I have been working with this company for over 5 years.  We are a rafting/kayaking outfitter on the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers in the Columbia River Gorge.  We offer beginner through advanced kayak instruction along with specialty courses in both kayaking and rescue.  What sets us apart are the professionally trained instructors and the beautiful location in the Gorge.  Come see us and learn how to paddle. 

Zoar Outdoors
I have met the kayak school coordinator, Janet Cowie from the Zoar Kayak School.  If her instructors are anything like her, you won’t be disappointed.  I have learned some of the funniest, most creative ways to teach kayaking from Janet and feel that she is one of many instructors I’ve met who can teach anyone– from timid to aggressive–how to paddle and fall in love with the sport.

Sundance Kayak School
This kayak school specializes in multi-day kayak instruction on the Rogue, Main Salmon in Idaho and the Illinois Rivers.  These courses range from intermediate kayak instruction through advanced.  I had the pleasure of working with this school on the Rogue River for a six-day kayaking course and can honestly say they offer a high level of instruction in a very fun, relaxed manner.

No matter your age, ability, gender or goals . . . rest assured these schools can provide the instruction to get you paddling.  Contact these kayak schools, or myself, for any questions you may have regarding the sport or programs offered.

Get ready to fall in love with a new sport!

Heather Herbeck is a whitewater kayaker with Girls4Sport who lives in BZ Corner, Washington, in the Columbia River Gorge.  She teaches whitewater kayaking on the White Salmon River.  She’s also a personal trainer and aerobics instructor.




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