Paddling Clinics

The Carolina Canoe Club offers several Whitewater Paddling Clinics each year. The dates for specific clinics can be found in the CCC Calendar.

The CCC divides clinics into different skill levels:  beginner, novice, intermediate, and advanced.  There is a natural progression in these clinics but just because someone has taken the previous clinic does not guarantee they should move on to the next set of clinics, and there may be a benefit to taking the same level of clinic more than once.  Each student must honestly assess their own skill level to get the most out of each of these clinics.  All participants must have their own boats and gear. 

The clinics are also divided into two age groups.  Adult clinics in skill categories from beginner to advanced are for club members age 15 and older (13 and 14 years old considered on a case-by-case basis).  Youth clinics from beginner to intermediate are for club members 7 years and older.  A parent may be required to attend the clinic with any paddler under the age of 18.  Participation in all clinics may be limited at the discretion of the club and/or instructor.   

Beginner clinics are targeted at those who have little or no experience paddling whitewater or are starting over again with a new type of craft (i.e. switching from kayaking to canoeing).  Beginner clinics cover the very basics of canoeing or kayaking. The first day is generally spent on a lake with the instructor introducing the proper stroke techniques on flat/non-moving water. This venue allows the student to concentrate on the strokes and not the water. The second day of the beginner clinic is held on a class I-II white water river, to ease the students into moving white water and emphasis is placed on technique and becoming comfortable on the river in one's boat.  The typical beginner clinic student has no experience or is not yet comfortable on rivers like the Lower Green, Middle Haw, or Tuck Gorge.  The dates for specific clinics can be found in the CCC Calendar.

Novice clinics are targeted at those who have some experience on whitewater and are proficient in flat water, know basic strokes and can maneuver the boat in Class 1-2 moving water.  The Novice clinic is aimed at improving basic skills.  Usually, the first half of the first day is spent either on a lake or flat/moving water going reinforcing basic fundamentals. This is a time that the instructor uses to assess the class and their skill level.  The second half of the first day then transitions to a Class I-II river, utilizing the skills practiced on flatwater.  The second day is spent on a class I-II or II-III river to allow the students time to practice, practice, and then practice some more until these fundamental skills become second nature.  Novice clinic students should have experience and be comfortable on rivers like the Lower Green, Middle Haw, and Tuck Gorge. Those with no experience or flatwater experience only should register for the beginner clinic.The dates for specific clinics can be found in the CCC Calendar.

Intermediate clinics are targeted at those who have experience and are comfortable on whitewater, know eddy turns and peel outs and are proficient on class 2-3 rivers.  Kayakers and C1 paddlers at this level have a reliable whitewater roll and can help rescue others on class 2-3 rivers.  The format of intermediate clinics varies a bit.  On the first day, some classes may spend time on flatwater reinforcing skills, while other classes may head straight to a Class II-III river.  The second day of the clinic is typically spent on a Class II-III river.  Intermediate clinics work to strengthen fundamental skills such as forward strokes, sweeps, draws, prys, eddy turns and peels outs.  In addition, intermediate clinics often start the introduction of advanced and compound strokes and maneuvers such as bow draws into forward strokes, basic surfing, use of rocks, and other fun stuff.  Intermediate clinic students should have quite a bit of experience and be comfortable on rivers like the Lower Haw below 2,500 cfs, the Nantahala, or Pigeon Gorge.  The dates for specific clinics can be found in the CCC Calendar.

Specialty clinics are targeted at specific skills, techniques, or types of rivers.  Skill levels needed in specialty clinics may vary significantly depending on the focus of the clinic.  Examples of Advanced Clinics that have been offered in the past include:

  • Personal First Descent - This clinic will be on a river with Class III or IV rapids, preferably one that you have not yet paddled. The clinic will work on developing river reading skills and decision points to improve your ability to paddle new water comfortably.
  • Creeking - This clinic will work on techniques for creeking such as boofs and landing drops and understanding small/steep river dynamics. You must have a reliable river roll.  Past clinics have been held on the Upper Nantahala, Wilson Creek, or similar rivers.
  • Advanced Single Blade - This clinic will be based on the Ocoee and will work on canoe fundamentals in heavier, pushier water.
  • Playboating - This clinic will work on the fundamentals to perform playboating moves:  flat spins, bow and stern initiations, and linking ends. You must have a reliable river roll and come prepared to be upside down and wet.
  • Whats Next? -This clinic is intended for Novice+ to Intermediate- paddlers looking to step it up to the next level.  The focus will be working on basic and intermediate strokes, reading water, and developing the confidence and skills to take it to the next level.  Held on the Nantahala or FB IX.
  • Paddle Smarter, Not Harder I - This clinic will be based on the Nantahala and will work on improvement of kayak fundamentals.  A good step beyond the novice and/or intermediate clinics.
  • Paddle Smarter, Not Harder II- This clinic will be based on the Ocoee or river of similar difficulty and will work on kayak fundamentals. You must have paddled the Ocoee several times and have a reliable river roll.  This is NOT a first timers trip on the Ocoee.
  • A new type of clinic is being introduced in 2017 - Intro To River SUP - Have you been curious about the weirdos on stand up paddleboards you’ve been seeing more and more frequently on your favorite whitewater rivers? Maybe you’ve thought … hmmm - I might be up for trying that - but just haven’t had the opportunity. Well - round up a paddleboard and join Dale Swanson for a short progression through some fundamental skills for paddling moving water from a free and unfettered standing position. Since this clinic is designed to get you ready for class 1 and class 2 whitewater please expect and plan to get wet. After all, the companion discipline to whitewater SUP is whitewater swimming. Whitewater SUP brings together 2 distinct and complex skill-sets - whitewater paddling (canoe/kayak) and paddleboarding. Dale highly recommends arriving with intermediate level skills in either kayaking or canoeing domains.  Schedule Saturday Morning: flat-water skills check focusing on techniques critical to moving water, Gear,Safety Basics, Mounting: shallow and deep water, Kneeling to Standing and Standing to Kneeling, Forward Stroke,Draw, sweep, brace strokes, Footwork and stances, Falling, Leash management; Saturday afternoon: class 1 skills development: Upstream Ferry, Eddy Catching, Peeling Out, Edge Management; Sunday morning: class 1+ skills practice. The dates for specific clinics can be found in the CCC Calendar.

If you are an instructor interested in offering a clinic or a student that needs a clinic not on the calendar, please contact the Education Chair at

You must be a CCC member to attend any of these clinics. If you are not already a member, sign up now!