Arkansas Canoe Club

Which Paddling School is Right for Me?

The Arkansas Canoe Club offers two major instructional events every Spring: School of Whitewater Paddling and School of River Paddling. Here is some information to help you decide which is the best choice for you.

The purpose of BOTH weekends is to teach you how to have fun and stay safe paddling on moving water. In either school, you will learn how to control your boat, how to to understand moving water features and how to perform moving water maneuvers, and how to enjoy paddling while staying safe. The same ACA (American Canoe Association) curriculum is used at both schools, with ACA certified instructors.

So, what are the key differences?

School of Whitewater Paddling

  • Held in early May on the Mulberry River. In early May, the water is still quite chilly, and the weather can be very unpredictable. For Whitewater School, it's important to have layers and gear that can keep you warm.

  • All participants MUST have a whitewater kayak or canoe to participate, or a Stand Up Paddling Board for a SUP class.

  • The Mulberry River, particularly at higher flows, will offer more rapids and challenging conditions to hone skills.

  • Whitewater School is a larger social event with a somewhat more "festive" atmosphere.

School of River Paddling

  • Held in early to mid June and traditionally has been on the Spring River near Hardy, AR. The 2022 event however is tentatively scheduled for the Illinois River near Siloam Springs, AR.  By June the warmer temperatures can make the water temperature a welcome treat! Participants still need to have appropriate layers, but weather is much less of a factor.

  • Participants can use a variety of kayak or canoe models, including but not limited to whitewater models. Longer, "recreational" style boats are welcome.

  • Although the Illinois River offers features and challenging rapids at the whitewater park, the Illinois River offers a more gentle overall introduction to moving water.

  • River School is usually a smaller event with a more laid-back atmosphere.

Classes at both events fill very quickly so it's important to decide as soon as possible which event you want to attend and then be ready to register as soon as registration is announced!

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