Intro to Whitewater

Whitewater Kayaking Made Easy (classroom)

I love this meetup group.  Kelly has done a great job of building a foundation or respect, camaraderie, and skills so that everyone has fun.  Thanks Kelly for all you do!

Liza Kerr
This clinic introduced me to the essential strokes, and the situations in which to apply them, including understanding which stroke would be efficient for the objective.  I learned so many things that I never knew about Kayaking.  I also enjoyed the introduction to assisted rescue.  Kelly, the instructor, gave some excellent tips on how to tkae what we learned, into a pool session or other practice, and challenge yourself with each basic skill.
Lance Johnson  -  Bradley Alpinist, LLC

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

I have to say, Kelly covered EVERYTHING!  I've taken this weekend class twice to absorb everything that goes into whitewater kayaking.  Since my class, I've paddled on class III whitewater and felt like I had a great sense of what [maneuvers, compound strokes or techniques] to do, when to do it, how to do it, and why to do it!   What Kelly teaches would be pretty much impossible for a self-taught paddler to figure out alone.  I feel safer, and more confident each time I'm on the river with a foundation of strokes and concepts to practice outside of class, and most importantly, I feel in control on the water.
Bob Pennington  -  home-builder

I want you to know how much I benefitted from your white water and roll classes.  Kelly your presentations Saturday and Sunday were always clear and packed with vital information.  The way you sketch out the hazzards and river features makes them surprisingly easy to remember on the river.  On the river you worked hard with each of us and I thought we class members got far more feedback and individual attention than in other kayak classes I have taken.  Glenn and Michael also seemed genuinely interested in our progress and were always willing to answer my questions and provide good feedback.  All in all the class was both challenging and a lot of fun and I feel it greatly accelerated my development as a white water kayaker.

Reed Mencke  -  Retired

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

I want you to know how much I benefitted from your white water and roll classes.  Kelly your presentations Saturday and Sunday were always clear and packed with vital information.  The way you sketch out the hazzards and river features makes them surprisingly easy to remember on the river.  On the river you worked hard with each of us and I thought we class members got far more feedback and individual attention than in other kayak classes I have taken.  Glenn and Michael also seemed genuinely interested in our progress and were always willing to answer my questions and provide good feedback.  All in all the class was both challenging and a lot of fun and I feel it greatly accelerated my development as a white water kayaker.

Reed Mencke  -  Retired
This was my second time in this class in a months' time. Although I enjoyed the first class, I felt like all the pieces began to fall in to place the second time around. I felt my skills improved exponentially. The instructors were very skilled and helpful in zeroing in on specific needs of those in the class, and were there to roll you (back up) when necessary. Loved it.
Chip Berglund  -  Semi-retired

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

Kelly has a way of transferring his passion for kayaking to everyone who attends a talk, lesson or paddles with him.  A very patient and conscientious instructor, I always feel safe during lessons on and off the river.  Not only does Kelly teach the sport, he finds ways to help you find your niche and meet others who share the same interest.  In addition, the other instructors he brings along are equally as knowledgeable and helpful.  If you haven't tried kayaking or want to hone your skills, this is a great place to start.

Susan Brockway  -  Los Alamos National Laboratory
The combination of classroom, followed by river work was perfect.   The schedule was flexible to deal with the reality of conducting a class outdoors.  The whole experience has been informative and has helped improve my paddleing significantly.  I am more likely to continue to boat on a regular basis as a result of my experience in NMKI courses.
Marty Teugel  -  Fish & Wildlife Service

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

Thanks for the info and the good class.  Even though I've owned recreational kayaks for many years, I learned far more than I ever knew before.
Tom Pherson

I was excited to take the pool class, even though a few friends ridiculed taking a kayak class ("What's so hard about kayaking?!").  The whitewater clinic presented challenges I was not expecting (physically, mentally or emotionally), and it heightened my awareness of the river, the sport, challenges and myself.  It has taken me a week to process this experience, and I welcome the time it will take to continue to process both the instruction and personal learned experience. This course was positively intense!

Deanna Lundy

Intro to Whitewater, Weekend Adventure

I have to say, Kelly covered EVERYTHING!  I've taken this weekend class twice to absorb everything that goes into whitewater kayaking.  Since my class, I've paddled on class III whitewater and felt like I had a great sense of what [maneuvers, compound strokes or techniques] to do, when to do it, how to do it, and why to do it!   What Kelly teaches would be pretty much impossible for a self-taught paddler to figure out alone.  I feel safer, and more confident each time I'm on the river with a foundation of strokes and concepts to practice outside of class, and most importantly, I feel in control on the water.
Bob Pennington  -  home-builder

I wanted to say thank you for the entire Pilar trip. It was a small class and you could have rescheduled but you didn't. I really learned a lot! Because of that weekend, I'm excited about the sport. I've been talking to my wife and friends about it nonstop! I'm trying to get others to sign up for your class. You do a really good job! Thanks again!

Dan McCarraher  -  Real estate agent

Can you recommend any places to stay, besides the campground?

There are a few Bed & Breakfast inns in the area.  The one I recommend is Casa Escondida.

Casa Escondida is an authentic adobe, 8-room bed & breakfast that is located in historic Chimayo (only 35 - 40 minutes from Pilar). They offer a rural, secluded setting with great mountain views. A full, hot breakfast is included. Enjoy their relaxing outdoor hot tub after a long day of paddling. Rooms range from $99 - $159 / night. FREE Wi-Fi. Pet-friendly. Book online or by phone: www.casaescondida.com / 505-351-4805

What about meals?

Plan on bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner, as there are few eating places in close proximity to the river and campgrounds. 

The Pilar Yacht Club is the exception. The Yacht Club makes a mean breakfast burrito, and has other basic conveniences; coffee, sodas, ice, sun screen and ice cream. The Yacht Club closes by mid-afternoon.

We'll pause for about 30 minutes during our lesson for lunch, but will not have time to leave the area. 

At the end of an awesome day, we typically have a pot-luck dinner Saturday night at the campground.  Bring a dish that can be shared with everyone.

Other options include going to Taos for dinner, or eating at Embudo Station or Sugars BBQ, both about 20 minutes away from the campground.

What about lodging?

When it comes to lodging, I let everyone decide what works best for them. Some people like to stay in hotels in Taos.  Others like to cut cost by camping out at the Orilla Verde State Park.  Others bring camper trailers and RVs.  In the past, some have stayed at Ojo Caliente, Sipapu, or found Bed & Breakfast inns in Dixon, Pilar, Embudo or Chimayo.  There are a variety of options.

I will typically will get a campsite on the State Park Friday or Saturday night, depending on when I arrive. Campsites are booked first come, first served, so advanced reservations are not allowed.  Anyone is welcome to stay at my campsite, provided we don't exceed the limits. 

Campsites at the Orilla Verde State Park vary from primitive to full RV setups. Most have enzyme or flush toilets, and one campground has hot showers. Bring $2-3 in quarters. It's not necessary to stay at that campground to use their shower.

Is the water cold? What do I need to bring?

I'll have a variety of 'farmer john' unisex wet suits, which should fit most people.  If you have a wet suit that fits, please bring it.  Additionally, I recommend bringing a few of your own layers; fleece vest or jacket (that can get wet), polypropylene shirt, nylon trekking pants, Lycra spandex tights, mountain bike shorts, and a good waterproof wind breaker, just in case. Anything that is fast drying, moisture-wicking and insulating is good.  It's not necessary to have ALL of that, but the more options you have, the more prepared you'll be for different conditions.  It also helps to have a second change of clothes for Sunday morning....just in case your clothes don't dry out overnight.

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