Whitewater Category

PNA/BCU Week – Trainings and Assessments

PNA Week 2016 is September 23 to October 6

PNA Week 2016

We offer 1 star to 4 star BCU training and assessments, Foundation Safety & Rescue Training andNavigation and Tidal Planning courses, and are currently the only Whitewater Safety & Rescue Provider in North America.  Many great coaches get their start during our popular coach training and education courses.  We also run PNA “Week” each October where you can combine a number of trainings and assessments over a couple weeks while paddling along the beautiful Oregon rivers and coast.

People choose to pursue BCU training and the Star Awards for a variety of reasons. They include the desire to gauge one’s level of paddling skills, the ability to adequately judge a person’s capacity to take on a given journey and the recognition of the human need to constantly challenge and improve ourselves. Our goal is to provide the tools for long term paddler development. The BCU Star awards: Training, Practice, Assessment and then on to the next level.

Click the banner above, or click HERE to register and view course listings for personal skill development as well as coaching certification!

Advanced Creeking Clinic on Canyon Creek

Enjoy Dave Trageser’s recount of his Personal First Descent of Canyon Creek during an Advanced Creeking Clinic!
YouTube Preview Image
“A successful descent of Washington’s Canyon Creek was on my bucket list for 2015.  This gem of a run located just outside of Amboy, WA, is a staple of the steep creeking community in Portland and a wintertime playground for whitewater boaters from all over the region due to its incredibly favorable fun to consequence ratio.  In my mind, I had pictured myself checking Canyon Creek off the list sometime in April or May once I had spent all winter preparing myself for such a steep, intimidating class IV run.  Part of this preparation was supposed to be participating in one of Alder Creek’s Advanced Creeking Clinics on a less committing run. However, the script got flipped on me when a sunny weekend dried up all of our options for the class and the call was made: Canyon Creek would be had on Sunday, January 25th.
“Canyon Creek starts with some benign rapids in a beautiful setting just downstream from the Fly Creek bridge before picking up pace and delivering several miles of fun and exciting drops that carry you through an immensely deep & steep gorge before crashing to a halt when the creek dumps into Lake Merwin.  Most of the rapids are ledges, with some bouldery jumbles interspersed to keep you on your toes.  The first named rapid on Canyon Creek is Swizzle Sticks, a series of sporty holes which marks the beginning of the upper gorge section that should most definitely be scouted for wood.  Fortunately for us the whole section was clean & clear. The upper gorge ends with Terminator, a funky 5 foot ledge that requires a move up high on the left to avoid a very nasty hole at the base of this drop on the right.  Miss a stroke like I did and you’ll definitely need to show off the old combat roll for your friends 🙂
“Below Terminator, several more ledges and bouldery drops carry you downstream to Prelude and Thrasher, two of the most fun drops on the whole creek.  Prelude requires a big boof off the very right side of this broken ledge and then some solid paddle strokes upon landing, as the hole at the base is sticky and carries a powerful upstream current.  Thrasher itself has a more straightforward line. The most important component to a successful run is to point your bow to the right when you land (a big old lefty boof off the rock in the middle of that ledge).  Thrasher also marks the start line for the Canyon Creek race every Spring, something I hope to be able to participate in this season!
“Below Thrasher, a long and complex boulder garden follows and climaxes with… you guessed it, another ledge and several sporty holes.  One of these absolutely crushed me, which was fine since I was feeling warm and needed to check out the scenery below river level anyhow 🙂  After more than my fair share of fun taking the tour of the boulder garden, the creek reaches a fairly large horizon line that is the lip of the Big Falls, or Big Kahuna.  Kahuna is 18 feet or so of sheer fun & excitement. The classic line is down the right and off a very obvious rock flake that auto-boofs you down into the aerated pool below.  Take note: you should keep your weight trimmed forwards as the water gets very swirly and dynamic at the base of this waterfall. I ended up in the back seat of my kayak and had to show off the combat roll again for the whole group.  Despite a pounding ice cream headache from the icy waters and more than a little fatigue, this drop is a classic that I would gladly lap again & again if it wasn’t such a pain to get back up to the top!
“After Kahuna there’s plenty of bouldery mank to keep you excited before you reach Champagne and the Hammering Spot, two picturesque waterfalls that are each 10 feet or so.  I gladly followed Paul off the middle of Champagne, and with a healthy boof stroke I stomped the landing and then immediately headed for the very right side of the Hammering Spot (go left and discover why that rapid got its name at your own peril) and repeated the process: giant stroke, knees up, stomp the landing, war cry of triumph in the eddy below.  The last major rapid is Toby’s, a very ugly, broken ledge that is backed up with all kinds of manky boulders that I chose to portage on the left.  Below Toby’s is lake Merwin and about a mile of flatwater paddling to the takeout. Make sure you keep some victory beers in your kayak or at the takeout, because they will be well deserved after that much hard boating.  I feel so fortunate to have had such an amazing opportunity to explore a truly magical place that is off limits to most people out there. Without the skills, confidence and a capable craft, there’s no other way to see it.  Next up on my bucket list for 2015 is another descent of Canyon Creek – maybe with less time spent probing the juiciest holes and more time spent airing out some massive boofs :)”
-Dave Trageser

Molalla River “3 Bears” for Creek Boating Basics

February 23, 2014
by David Trageser

creek boating basics

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to explore a new section of river (for me, anyhow) as part of Alder Creek’s Creek Boating Basics class with Paul Kuthe. When it was all said and done, I was left to wonder how the heck it took me so long to explore the breathtakingly beautiful scenery and pristine whitewater of the Molalla River. Located just an hour or so southeast of Portland, the 3 Bears section of the Molalla is a fantastic alternative to some of the other commonly run rivers in the area and a great training ground for aspiring creek boaters. The Molalla is a roadside run which allows for very easy scouting of all the major rapids as you set shuttle at the beginning of the day, and it presents the perfect blend of commitment and access for the run (the road is never far away, but not always reachable due to the occasionally gorged out basalt walls during stretches). On this day, the river flow and conditions were right out of the Goldilocks tale; not too pushy, not too bony, just about perfect. We even had a bit of sunshine which helped boost everybody’s mood and set the tone for a fantastic day on the water.

creek boating basics

A short but sweet class II-III warm up section got the blood flowing and loosened everyone up for the first major rapid, known as “Papa Bear,” which is foreshadowed by an immense basalt formation on the river right wall that looks like a gigantic mushroom. After establishing a plan for support and navigation of the rapid, we were off one at a time to begin weaving our way through this long, exciting drop. Precise boat control and the ability to safely control descent through class III whitewater is a must for Papa Bear. I was very glad to have spent most of the first day of class on Bull Run working on those very skills, and it made our descent of the rapid pleasantly uneventful and fun.

creek boating basics

creek boating basics

Some smaller rapids and a few excellent play features kept us entertained until we came around a sharp right bend in the river that signals the crux of the run, the long, bouldery rapid known as Mama Bear. This class IV drop merits a solid plan and a support crew, which was a perfect opportunity for us to put into practice many of the skills we had worked on throughout the weekend. The crux move at Mama Bear is perhaps too fun to be legal; after navigating the bumpy entrance into the climax of Mama Bear (which wants to push you into a nasty, ominous looking house sized boulder) a flare boof with right momentum and angle between the two “goalpost” boulders gets you into a powerful eddy on river right that allows for easy navigation of the run out and merits a hearty war cry for successful completion (at least I thought so…). Once you’ve made this move, the fun is only half over as you still have to wind your way through and around a few boulders down into a dramatically deep gorge that at times is only a boat length or two wide. Watch out for a nasty penalty rock towards the center right of the entry to the gorge as the river makes a sharp left hand bend. Getting right of that thing and up against the river right wall is the best way to go (the left side of the run out below Mama Bear is shallow and manky, and that’s putting it nicely). As the river narrows below Mama Bear, you get some excellent standing waves as you crash downhill into a breathtakingly beautiful and dramatic basalt gorge, eventually coming to rest in moving flat water with the “Eye of the Molalla” (a spiraling basalt rock formation that looks very much like a gigantic eyeball) towering overhead on the river right wall. It’s worth noting that any swims at Mama Bear often result in navigating the run out of the rapid and the gorge without your kayak, as there are no eddies to stop in and sheer cliff walls on either side that leave you boxed in temporarily.

creek boating basics

creek boating basics

After Mama Bear, we found a good lunch spot and worked on eddy hopping and set ferries through some more fun class II-III rapids until we reached the takeout and the last named rapid, Baby Bear. Unlike the first two named rapids, baby Bear is concise and lacks a complex lead in, however it still merits a scout and support. At Baby Bear, most of the river flows over a chunky basalt ledge and spills off to the right into a large rock outcropping on the right. The hole that forms at the bottom is chaotic and trashy, and gets worse the further right you are, however it flushes fairly cleanly into a short pool before the river continues on downstream over another series of manky ledges that would not be very much fun to navigate without a kayak. Our group took turns dropping into Baby Bear after setting support on the rocks and in the river left eddy at the base of the rapid which turned out to be great fun. At the water level we experienced, I opted to drive to the left, punching the top wave with a big right sweep stroke and following it immediately with another powerful right boof stroke which propelled me into the eddy below and left me grinning from ear to ear. At lower flows this may not be the best option, as the base of the ledge is very rocky and shallow on the left side. Another option would be to drop in just left of center with a strong right sweep stroke and then to skirt through the hole (be ready to brace on your right hip!) and ride it out. After everyone stuck the line at Baby Bear, we practiced some seal launching techniques on the rocks above before calling it a day.

creek boating basics

creek boating basics

Winter Clinics 2013-14

Join us on Tuesday evenings for FREE winter clinics!
6:30pm-8:30pm, at either our Jantzen Beach or Boathouse location.
Attendees may win a $25 gift card!
No sign-ups required.

Clinic schedule may change.  Check back to confirm topics, locations, and dates.
List last updated January 10, 2014

November 5
Car top loading your kayak/canoe/SUP!
at Jantzen Beach

November 12
Learn the Ropes of building a Pin Kit
at Boathouse

November 19
Dry Suits # 101 : Everything you want to know about dry suits you were afraid to ask
with Karl Kohagen from Kokatat
at Boathouse

November 26
Outfitting your boat (Sea, Whitewater, Canoe)
at Jantzen Beach

December 3
Welding plastic boats
at Jantzen Beach

December 10
New Visions for Paddling Photography
with Neil Schulman
at Boathouse

December 17
Mastering Light and Visual Language in Photography
with Neil Schulman
at Boathouse

January 7
Secrets of Winter Paddling
with Neil Schulman
at Boathouse

January 14
Chart Reading
with Karl Andersson
at Boathouse

January 21
Packing a Sea Kayak for Camping
at Boathouse

January 28 NEW
Stability & Mobility
with Dr. Ted Forcum
at Boathouse

February 4th  NEW
Skid Plates and Keel Strips
with David Dalbey
at Jantzen Beach

February 11
Electronic Chart and Map Tools
at Boathouse

February 18
Multi-day Trip Planning in BC
with Neil Schulman
at Boathouse

February 25
Yoga for Paddlers
with Elaine Cohn
at Boathouse

March 4
Dutch Oven Cooking
with Andrew Romanelli
at Jantzen Beach

BCU Week – more than just Sea Kayaking……

For many years now sea kayakers in North America have been fortunate enough to benefit from the high quality training and coach education courses offered by the British Canoe Union North America.  Who would have guessed however that we also offer the same quality of courses and coaching within the White Water Kayak and Canoe world??



Photo by Ed Hand

With a location such as Portland, it seemed only right to push the envelope and run these courses on the amazing selection of rivers in the area.  Up first was the BCU 4* White Water Leadership course, concentrating on becoming a better paddler in the class 3 environment whilst guiding friends or clients.  A true benchmark guiding award, we looked at current global best practice, how to get far more out of the river than is ever usually seen and all whilst having a huge amount of fun.  Check out the client reviews below to see what they thought of these full courses.

Next up, a cheeky coaches paddle and then we stepped into BCU expedition canoe courses, exploring leadership skills, personal skill development and also looking at how the canoe can be used to develop skills in both white water kayak and sea kayak.

Photo by Ed Hand

The sea kayakers did get a look in with BCU 3 & 4* Sea Training and assessment taking place based out of the Astoria area.  Truly great to see the smiles of faces and clients gained huge rewards from the progressive tailored individualised coaching that they all received from the exceptional BCU coaches.

The last push consisted of BCU Level 1 & 2 Coach Education courses, with 9 new coaches qualifying at Level 1 and 6 new Aspirant Level 2’s on their journey towards assessment.  Evenings were spent either hanging out chatting about boating over a beer or taking part  in one of the brilliant 3 hours modules which centred around harnessing the power of the mind in a paddlers performance and also how to engage & enthuse young paddlers as long term coaching clients.

So, a 21 day week long programme of BCU courses that were full, successful and already booking for 2014!  Watch out for the first Alder Creek White Water Kayak & Canoe Symposium in the Spring of 2014, with a large range of BCU white water courses attached to either side of it.

See you on the water 

Rob Yates
BCU Coach Educator & Elite Performance Coach

Testimonials from BCU Week’s 4-Star Whitewater course

1) Rob and Paul provided a learning environment that allowed everyone to discover new leadership skills that will allow us to lead groups of beginners or peers with confidence in a safe and fun manner.
Hope to paddle with everyone again!!!
Ed Hand

2) Rob and Paul: The BCU 4 star WW training teaches students how to paddle as a team with their usual boating mates or as a leader of a class. The resultant team maximizes skill building, fun and safety on the river.
Jay Nutt

3) Leading on the river I thought was to lead other paddlers safely. It was a part of it. Fun with group how to entertain other paddlers can be so much additional fun as a lead. You will NOT get frustrated by stressful organization WHEN you understand the FRAME WORK of being a lead. If you want to know the technique, BCU is the one for you!
You can totally open your eyes and improve the latest idea of being a leader!
Nobu Suga

4) This BCU 2-day leadership clinic focusing on skills development, safety, and having a fun time while leading class 2 & 3 boaters safely on whitewater rivers was far beyond my expectations. Along with two full days on the river (always fun), each of our 6 person group worked on improving our communication skills, our awareness in the river environment, with challenging “out of the box” techniques. Coachs Rob and Paul opened our eyes and thinking so that we can adapt this training event to turn even our home turf runs into newly exciting opportunities for trip leaders to provide skills development within a safe, fun environment. Not to be missed is the MOST creative warmups ever and the no-knot pin freeing technique. Count me in for additional leadership training clinics!

Rob, Paul and TEAM,
Thank you for your enthusiasm, knowledge sharing, and support throughout the sessions.
Chris Watson

5) Hands down the best leadership skills class I have taken. If you want to take your leadership to the next level then this is the class for you!!
Joey Thomas

6) This course was full of information, skills and practice that I can immediately put in to practice today. It will take my leadership ability to the next level and I am looking forward to leading my next group with the confidence I gained through this course. This was the best kayaking class I’ve ever had in North America !
Michael Williams

Kayak Camps for Kids – Whitewater and Sea Kayak Day Camps

The kids’ (ages 10-14) week-long day camps are something I look forward to every year as a coach.  Not only are they fun to teach, but it is great to watch these young people grow so much over the week.  Their skills grow as well as confidence in themselves and their abilities.   We structure our day camps to turn these kids into independent, well-rounded paddlers and leaders.

Whether it be the Whitewater or the Sea kayak class, we start off developing kayak skill and understanding the first few days.  As we move through a progression of skills, we develop their understanding through games instead of us just telling them what to do and having them do it.  For example, an activity called “What Floats Your Boat”: In the first day of the Sea Yak Attack we discuss different kayak designs, and then take that knowledge to the water in a variety of kayaks.  After a rousing game of “What Floats Your Boat” and a short paddle, the kids all agree that double bulk headed kayaks and long boats are the way to go for sea kayaking.

What Floats Your Boat?

After developing their understanding of boat design, we begin to focus on skills with the paddle, their connection to the kayak, and the kayak’s connection with the water.  By the end of the first 3 days, the kids truly begin to become captains of their own boats.  The 4th day, Thursday, is the journey day!  We put all of these things together, and that is when these youth really start to shine.  Thursday is always an eye opener for the kids as they start to see all of the pieces we have been working on come together.  Although we have plenty of light bulb moments all week, Thursday is a day that shines!  On the last day, we encourage the parents to come along and have the kids lead the day.  The kids prep the parents on gear and how to use it, and deliver safety chats about what hazards we should be aware of. (ww safety chat) From there they take us all on a journey down the river and through the day.

Safety chat

All of this forming and developing confidence in themselves helps them grow not only as paddlers but into healthy, young adults.  I truly love coaching these young minds and helping them better understand themselves and the world in which we live!

-Chris Bensch
(all photos by Chris Bensch)

Paddle with the Pros; a Demshitz clinic

The Demshitz crew rallied on the White Salmon River this summer with the public to give tips on kayaking technique and shooting video!

This free clinic was held on the Middle section of the White Salmon, from BZ Corner to Husum Falls.  Paddlers got the opportunity to work on their boating skills along the way, and the Demshitz boaters gave tips about frame, angle, and content when making kayaking videos.  Check out a short video from their clinic HERE!

Steve Pilch paddles Husum Falls. Photo by Andrew Romanelli

Whitewater SUP: an introduction

My background in the paddling world has primarily been aimed towards kayaking.   I grew up kayaking on the Nehalem Bay which is located on the Northern Oregon Coast.  I lived in the perfect area for recreational and tour kayaking.  Recently this year, I made the big move to Portland to finish up my final year of college, and I was fortunate enough to get hired at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe.  Immediately, I took interest in the stand-up paddle (SUP) department and was completely hooked the first time I stood on a board.  I found that SUP was a sweet combination of kayaking and surfing.  I suddenly had the access to try all types of boards including inflatable stand-up boards; these boards can be used for a variety of paddling (including whitewater).  Having little whitewater experience, I was nervous to try whitewater stand-up.  Luckily, one of my co-workers (Steve) was also interested in trying this up-and-coming water sport.

Steve Pilch SUPing on the Lower White Salmon. Photo by Andrew Romanelli

We decided to do our first run on the Barton-Carver section of the Clackamas River.  This section of the Clackamas River is pretty mellow except for several class II rapids.  We decided to practice on a smaller section before attempting these rapids.  I was completely stoked to be paddling on water that was actually moving, and by the time we approached the first rapid I was really excited (and nervous).  I managed to fall off the board: “When in doubt, paddle it out” quickly became my motto for that day.  I found that if I was nervous and raised my paddle out of the water to focus on remaining stable, I would actually become less stable.  Having the paddle in the water acts as a brace, or something to lean against and stabilize myself when feeling unbalanced.

Steve Pilch SUPing on the Lower White Salmon. Photo by Andrew Romanelli

We finished out that awesome day in a couple hours and were completely enthused about whitewater SUP.  Since then, we have run Bob’s Hole to Memaloose on the Clackamas River, and Steve just did a run on the Lower White Salmon.  We hope to keep getting out there in our spare time and do more whitewater SUP!

-Chelsea Neilson

Beginner Whitewater Kayaking Classes: Full Immersion Whitewater 1

Whitewater Classes, Tips, and Techniques: Full Immersion Whitewater 1; Photo by Andrew Romanelli

I took Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe’s introductory whitewater class, Full Immersion Whitewater 1, in the early spring of 2010.  Rivers will NEVER be the same for me.

Coming from a primarily flatwater paddling background, I understood the concept of current, but had no idea how to read the water.  This whitewater kayaking class covered basic river hydrology, opening my eyes to the creative power of water in motion.  I learned not only which river features were hazardous, but which features were FUN and PLAYFUL!  Suddenly, every bridge I drove over was a hazard, my eyes on the river searching for eddies to catch and waves and holes to surf!

Whitewater Classes, Tips, and Techniques: Full Immersion Whitewater 1; Photo by Andrew Romanelli

Exploring the bountiful wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, splashing down innumerable rivers, Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe’s instruction on whitewater kayaking classes equipped me with the skills and knowledge to safely pursue a recreation that has simply made my life better.  The safe and fun environment made learning much easier.  Instructors gave me new challenges as needed, catering to my ability, while covering and reinforcing the class content.

Eddying in and out, ferrying, and surfing are maneuvers that challenge and refine edge control, stroke selection and timing.  Both pool and river time provide ample practice for capsize prevention, basic assisted rescue, and simple self-rescue!

Whitewater Classes, Tips, and Techniques: Full Immersion Whitewater 1; Photo by Andrew Romanelli

This Portland whitewater kayaking skills instruction class is excellent for both whitewater AND sea paddlers!  Students will have a greater awareness of dynamic, moving water and the gear used in these environments.  This course made me a better paddler in ALL of my paddlesport disciplines: whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, flatwater canoeing, and stand-up paddling.

Awareness of body position and connection with the water through your boat and paddle is one of the greatest benefits of this course!  This improved my understanding of how and why different strokes work.

Whitewater Classes, Tips, and Techniques: Full Immersion Whitewater 1; Photo by Andrew Romanelli

With 2 pool sessions and 2 days of moving water, I learned a LOT about controlling my boat that week!  And the Sunday of Full Immersion Whitewater 1 is spent running a Class II section of river!

If you are interested in paddling rivers or just want to become a better paddler, the Full Immersion Whitewater 1 class is EXCELLENT.  It has literally changed my life.  Now I have to figure out which river to paddle this week…

-Andrew Romanelli

Don't forget to look back upstream! Whitewater Classes, Tips, and Techniques: Full Immersion Whitewater 1; Photo by Andrew Romanelli

For more information about beginner kayaking classes and lessons, call Alder Creek at 503-285-0464 or visit the website at www.aldercreek.com!

ACA Instructor Development Workshop for River Kayaking

Feb 28-Mar 4, 2013

Alder Creek hosted this ACA IDW for River Kayaking; Photo: Andrew Romanelli

Recently, Malcolm Kelly, Steve Pilch, and myself participated in an American Canoe Association IDW to certify as whitewater instructors. There were seven candidates in all, and the course was lead by Instructor Trainer Ben Morton while assisted by Paul Kuthe and Heather Herbeck. Thanks to our excellent instructors, I learned far more than I had anticipated, bettering myself as a paddler and instructor. Ben, Paul, and Heather ran a focused yet fun course!

Instructor Trainer Ben Morton; Photo: John Whittenberger

If you find an opportunity to receive any instruction from Ben, Paul, or Heather, you shouldn’t pass it up. Ben Morton is enthusiastic, friendly, and has excellent group skills, teaching to everyone’s individual needs. I think each candidate received not only the instruction they needed but also a clear progression to continue learning and elevate our performance. Though I work with Paul Kuthe at Alder Creek, our schedules don’t allow much opportunity to receive instruction from him. It was great to experience Paul’s teaching from the position of a student! If you live in the Portland area, I strongly encourage you to pursue coaching from Paul. Check out some programs through Alder Creek and local paddling clubs! This weekend was also my first time meeting Heather Herbeck. Full of smiles and encouragement, I found Heather’s teaching style to be very informative and supportive. Based out of the Columbia Gorge, keep your ears peeled for instructional opportunities from Heather “All Smiles” Herbeck!

Instructors Heather Herbeck and Paul Kuthe; Photo: John Whittenberger

I cannot express just how much value I got out of this course, and I highly recommend this course for anyone looking to improve their river skills, especially if you aspire to lead or instruct friends, clubs, or clients!  This four and a half day course was spent mostly on the water.  Day 1 was spent covering Level 1 flatwater skills, followed by an evening pool session.  Day 2 introduced class I/II moving water on the Clackamas River.  Day 3 was spent on a class II/III stretch of the Washougal River, and the final day wrapped up Level 4 curriculum on Bull Run.  I was exhausted by the final day!  Between four, full days of paddling and working in the evenings, I had to turn lunchtime into some naptime!  Thankfully, the weather was incredible through the entire course.

Soakin up the sun! Photo: John Whittenberger

As a paddler, this course greatly improved my self awareness, cleaning up my lazy strokes and self-taught bad habits. Video assessment is not only humbling, it helped me make a connection between what I perceive myself as doing and what I’m actually doing!

Rescue practice on the Washougal River; Photo: Andrew Romanelli

As an instructor and guide, this course involved a great deal of discussion about learning styles and teaching methods. These discussions helped me assess my own learning style and understand other learning styles. Group management and rescues were other invaluable modules during the training and certification course.

Day 1; Photo: John Whittenberger

Day 2; Photo: John Whittenberger

Day 3; Photo: John Whittenberger

Day 4; Photo: John Whittenberger

This course was highly beneficial as a skill assessment and training program, and it leaves you with a clear progression for skill refinement and advancement!  Working from Level 1 to Level 4, you get a clear understanding of a paddler’s foundations on flatwater that encourage success in more dynamic environments.  Rather than having to certify in each level individually, as with the BCU, the ACA allows you to certify along the leveled progression where your abilities stand.  Afterwards, Instructor Candidates get to discuss what comes next as both an instructor and a paddler.

Beautiful weather and scenery! Photo: Andrew Romanelli

I whole-heartedly encourage paddlers so seek instruction from Ben Morton, Paul Kuthe, and Heather Herbeck, and keep your ears open for assessment and training courses from the ACA!

A huge thanks to my bosses and coworkers for helping make this opportunity possible for me!  See you on the water.

-Andrew Romanelli

ACA IDW Instructors and Candidates; Photo: Andrew Romanelli

WW Symposium

kayak surfing at the Oregon Coast

Kayak surfing with the Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe Staff off the Coast of Portland Oregon. If you are looking to learn how to Kayak surf, white water kayak, or tour in a sea kayak then let us take you there. Our instructors are ACA and BCU certified with passion and drive to teach.

Kayak Lessons for Rolling and Bracing a Kayak

Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe is proud to offer a classes in Rolling and Bracing Skills. These skils are fundamental for feeling more comfortable while kayaking or canoeing. We teach group and private kayak lessons. In the winter you can normally find us Wednesdays at the North Clackamas Aquatic Park. Call for more details at 503.285.0464

Edging & Bracing Classes at Alder Creek

Play Boat Kayaking Clinic with GuestStephen Write from Jackson Kayak

This is a short video of a play boat clinic put on by Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe with Stephen Wright from Jackson Kayak Company. We were able to capture some great video of some local paddlers. The clinic was held at Bob’s Hole on the Clackamas river in Oregon.

Outfitting a Whitewater Canoe

***Get It Together***

FIRST things first: LIST all of your materials.

Start with a game plan! Embrace your inner artist and draw the boat with the outfitting you want. This will become both your shopping- and check-list. Do you have all of the D-rings, daisy chains, flotation, drybags, shock cord, static line, clips and hardware you need? DON’T FORGET to include things like adhesive, sandpaper, cleaning solvent and protective wear.

COLLECT all of you materials.

I’m sure you have good lighting and great tunes, but go through your list. Is it all there?

Check List

***Don’t Eat The Paste***

TIME FOR YOUR APPROPRIATE WORK SPACE AND SAFETY GEAR. Your work space should have ample ventilation and light. Be aware of the temperature as it will affect drying times. Safety gear may consist of gloves, glasses and a mask. 

PLACE and TRACE your odds and ends.

Use pencil! Because it is easy to erase. If everything is correctly marked, right where you want it, you can embolden your pencil lines with a marker and start prepping the surfaces.


PREP the surfaces.

Use your coarse-grit sandpaper and scuff up the vinyl backs of your daisychains and D-rings AS WELL AS the destination surfaces in the boat. This greatly increases your working surface area, and it will make for much stronger bonds. Use a rag with a cleaning solvent (we used methyl ethyl ketone, aka MEK) to wipe all of your sanded surfaces, boat and bits.




STICK to it!

Get your glue and something to spread it with. Foam brushes work well for application. For gluing VINYL-on-vinyl (D-rings and daisy chains to Royalex), use something like Vinabond. For gluing FOAM-on-vinyl (knee pads and thigh blocks), use a contact cement like Mondo Bond. IMPORTANT: TAKE CAREFULL NOTE HERE: You will apply two coats of adhesive to each surface. The first, thin coat, on each surface, MUST DRY COMPLETELY. Allow your second coats to get tacky, and then join the two surfaces. Carefully lay large pieces, slowly and evenly, minimizing and working out any air pockets.


Rock and ROLL.

Use your fingers to “stretch” vinyl pads into the perfect place. Then, using an even can or rubber roller, roll over the whole patch. Get the perimeter as well as the center of the patch. You don’t want edges peeling up.

can roll

roller roll


***Cage Match***


Decide how far apart you’d like your lines. Remember, the cages are there to hold your flotation in! 3-4″ between each lacing works nicely. Mark where you want to lace the cages, just below and along the gunwale, stopping inline with your daisy chain. It is good to leave a little room between your hole and the gunwales. 0.25-0.5″ should be ample. Double check that your marks line up with each other!

mark cage


Put some holes in that boat!



Lace your cage! Start with an excess of rope. You can always trim it at the end. Tie a nice stopper knot, like a double overhand, and put some tension in your line.



***Put A Bow On It***

Clean up your boat, and get it out there! If you have errant permanent marker lines in your boat, wipe remaining lines with some MEK on a rag.

There are all sorts of things we can do to customize our boats for performance, comfort or looks. On this boat, we also replaced a rotten yoke, added painter lines, drilled drain holes in the deck plates and rigged a custom dry-/floatbag setup for the center. Other bells and whistles you may be interested in are skidplates and footpegs.

See our finished product:


ackc shot



wen bags