An Intro to Basic Skills
Duration: 5 hours (9 AM to 2 PM)
The course starts today! The drive from Dehradun – the closest airport – to Rishikesh is short but pleasant. For the first 20 minutes, the roads take you through the cityscape of Dehradun. As soon as you cross the highway and enter the hills, the roads gain elevation and bring you into the forests filled with pristine pine trees. About another 30 minutes into the journey, the hill roads widen and land in Rishikesh. The drive should take up to two hours at max. We advise you to please book your hotel near tapovan area on the Badrinath highway, so that you can easily walk upto the pickup spot. We provide pickup from only one spot. In case you have any doubt please discuss with our team before booking your hotel.
If you are reaching Rishikesh on the same day please plan in such a way to reach your hotel by 8:30 AM. Once you settle down and freshen up, you can meet the rest of your course mates at the pickup spot. Your kayaking instructor will pick you up at 9 AM and take you to Neem Beach, a sand settlement on the shores of Ganga. After a 10 minute ride to Neem Beach, we offload our kayaks and walk towards the assembly point. This is followed by a proper briefing session. We kick start this adventure with some essential theory - our introduction to the world of kayaks and kayaking! This session is extremely important for it will lay down the foundation for what we learn over the next couple of days – pay close attention and take notes if you need to! We also get a demonstration, so we know what to do with our kayaks and ourselves in and outside the water.
Now, let's break down the topics for the day. The first lesson, to begin with, is knowing your kayak. Knowing your kayak means understanding the different parts of a kayak and its functions. Just like learning the functions of your own body, learning about a kayak's parts will help you learn faster and perform better. The second essential skill the instructors teach is how to attire for white-water kayaking. It involves wearing a wet suit, splash jacket, helmet, footwear, and a spray deck. Never forget your floatation device (Life Jacket – it’s called this for a reason!); it is the main part that will keep you afloat on water. This is followed by a series of "how to" methods:
The above steps are the DNA of kayaking – the very basic elements that the sport is made of. Initially, beginners tumble, slip or even fall. It's okay; maximum fun and faster learning come from falling and getting back up on the waters. Kayaking is an intuitive sport. The instructors make you practice the steps for four hours until the basics become a part of your muscle memory. Imagine riding a bike or a cycle; your body naturally handles the mechanism with practice. Likewise, your body will be automatically tuned to paddle in any condition with enough practice. The friendly instructors of the kayaking course are hand-picked professionals trained to teach you in the best way possible. So, all you have to do is focus on having fun and leave the rest to the instructors.
After basic practice, the other interesting topics we learn are balancing a kayak, wet exit, safety protocol, and rolling in the water. Once you sit inside a kayak, it becomes the extension of your body. When the lower part of your body is wholly set inside the kayak, it enables you to control the entire boat. As soon as you glide into the water, the instructors make you rock the boat by shaking your hips. You know that it is perfectly balanced if it swings in tandem with your movement. Rolling a kayak is learning to flip the boat and going underwater. This might sound daunting, but the feeling of being underwater is one of the most exciting experiences of the course. Feeling the fresh water flow brush through your skin is refreshing and revitalizing to say the least. The rolling is done to practice wet exits. A wet exit is a technique done to release yourself underwater and then resurface. The final lesson for the day is in regards to safety protocols which are as follows:
These points are not just for the course. If you plan to go kayaking again in the future or take it as a hobby, remembering and following the protocols will keep you safe in any form of natural water.
Finally, after all the practice and theory sessions, we end the day on a high note with an 8 km river run from Neem Beach to JankiSetu bridge, crossing a class 1 rapid called Hill-Turn.
Now, in case you were wondering what a rapid is - itis a section on the river where the main stream flows with extreme force creating mixed currents and wild waves. According to their intensity, they are classified from class 1 to 5 and above. The river run refers to cruising for long distances on white-water rivers.
Imagine going solo on a mix of glacial streams and traveling under the iconic bridges LakshmanJhula, Ram Jhula, and JankiSetu. It is a ride to remember. Don't worry; class 1 rapids are easy to handle. The instructors paddle close to you and guide you throughout this journey. You start with a quick revision of paddling strokes, balancing a kayak, and slowly entering the river's mainstream. The waters are calm and tranquil for the first 2 km. Observe the wild trees and boulders dipping their feet on the river's shores. At the end of 2 km, you see and hear the waves roaring from a distance. That's the rapid we spoke of earlier and this one’s called Hill-Turn. You notice the grand turning point of the stream near a small quaint hill. The wild waves lift and rock your kayak. It might be scary for beginners. Just keep your lower body tight and never stop paddling. The force from the kayak will pierce through the waves to help you move ahead. While paddling, you can recollect techniques you have learned in the past 4 hours, like how to balance, how to paddle, the purpose of the wet suit, etc.
After crossing the Hill-Turn rapid, you enter the region under the iconic bridges LakshmanJhula, Ram Jhula, and JakniSetu. Look up and wave your hands to the tourists cheering from the bridge. The flow of water gets softer and slower near JankiSetu. We stop at an exit point here, get out of the water, and travel back to our hotels around 2 PM.
Introduction to the White Waters
Duration: 9 AM to 2 PM
Today is less theory and more practice. The objective is to practice the techniques taught the previous day- again and again until we get a hang of it. We will continue our lessons on the Class 1 Rapids today. The objective is not speed but to get a sense of how the Kayak responds to your movement in the water- how to balance, how to paddle, leaning techniques, t rescues and ferry glides
Do not be discouraged if you don’t pick up on a particular technique right away. As the saying goes, every sport takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master.
By the end of the day, we will also introduce you to the basics of Eskimo Turns which is what your intermediate kayaking course delves into.
Once you are done for the day, ensure you get ample rest for tomorrow, we have something exciting and demanding waiting for us- Stepping into the Class 2 Rapids of the Ganges.
Getting into Class 2 Rapids
Duration: 9 AM – 2 PM
Today is the day we step up and progress to Class 2 white-water rapids. This means stronger currents, bigger waves, heavy splashes, and more fun. The rapids from class 2 and above define the true freedom of white-water kayaking. It is called so because of the pearl white splashes the water produces when the currents and waves crash. The names of the rapids are Initiation (Class 2) and Double Trouble (Class 2).
Class 2 rapids are sections of the river with wider space, fast currents, minimal rocks, and moderate waves. They fall under the easy to medium category ideal for beginners to practice and gain experience. The waves are easy to read, and a kayaker can comfortably maintain a line.
The instructors pick us up at 9 AM and take us to Brahmapuri, 8 km away from Neem Beach. The day starts with us revisiting all the fundamentals of wearing the attire, entry & exit techniques, paddling strokes, and safety protocols. We practice everything from scratch for the first two hours and then learn new techniques.
On the first day of the course, we learned how to paddle with the flow of water. Today, we learn how to paddle upstream against the flow of water. The paddling techniques are the same for this, but the frequency of the hand motion has to be faster and continuous until we reach the calm section. The exciting part is learning some advanced techniques like T rescue, ferrying, and river features. T rescue is a unique method where a different kayak approaches you when you flip over. You are trained to stretch your hands underwater, reach another kayak's front side, and snap your lower body to resurface. This process is confusing in the beginning. But, after practicing a few times, the fear of water tends to vanish helping you resurface like a pro. Ferrying is crossing a stream from one side to the other by using water flow; pro kayakers use it to enter and exit a rapid.
Theory session of the day introduces you to river features like rocks, waves, and currents. It is an extremely essential skill since it helps kayakers read the river by observing the river features before planning a route map for the river run. Once we get familiar with the features, we can quickly identify the route and maintain our line.
After practicing for 4 hours, we warm up our bodies with a few strokes near the shore and follow the instructors into the rapid. The size of the waves and the force of currents can be overwhelming in the beginning. Don't panic, and don't lose your focus. The techniques are the same as yesterday. Just maintain your line and balance, like your experience in class 1 rapids. Enjoy the sheer force of the water and feel the raw adrenaline rush. Even if we roll over, we can wet exit and body surf with the help of a life jacket. Keep calm and keep paddling and let the force take care of the rest. After an exciting initiation, the waters slow down, and the river trail gets wider. Relax and feel the breeze. Around 4 km into the river, we get into the surprising turf of Double Trouble. Just like the name, it has two sections of rapids. As soon as we cross the first one, a second one will quickly sneak up and surprise us with its big waves. Just paddle and enter the calm zone, which takes you to the shores of Neem Beach.
River Run through 4 Rapids
Duration: 5 hours(9 AM to 2 PM)
The fourth day is the most exciting and adventurous day of the course. Today, we go deeper into the stream starting from PhoolChatti, 4 km away from Brahmapuri. Here's an interesting fact - the origin of water sports in Rishikesh started from PhoolChatti. Locals say that around 50 years back, renowned river guides from abroad and India came to PhoolChatti to explore the waters of the Ganga. The point where it all began - could there be a more exciting place than this on your last day of the course – almost like going the full circle!
Today we meet two more massive class-2 rapids. This is where the skills we learned in the last two days are truly tested as we cross not one, not two, but FOUR fun rapids over 12 whooping kilometers.
Names of today's rapid:
Rapid 1 – Club hose (Class 2)
Rapid 2 – Cash flow (Class 2)
Rapid 3 – Initiation (Class 2)
Rapid 4 – Double Trouble (Class 2)
For the first two hours, we practice strokes, techniques, and rescue methods near the shores of PhoolChatti. The instructor gives one last demo on how to get into a rapid, paddling & turning techniques, snapping, and more. Splash as much of the cold water as you can on your face. The refreshing water helps rejuvenate your senses and resets your mind. Be attentive and check your gears. A golden tip is following the line or following the rule. Following the line means following the instructor. If you lose balance and cannot follow the line, keep paddling through the waves, that's the rule. Clubhouse and Cash Flow are the short and wild rapid sections that present you with utmost thrill and adventure. After crossing these, Initiation and Double Trouble no longer seem daunting. You will slide and glide through them with ease and grace. Finally, when we reach Neem Beach, a sense of accomplishment eagerly awaits your arrival on the shore.
Quite a power-packed 4-day course, isn't it? Kayaking is a one-of-a-kind water sport that makes you live in the moment with complete focus and experience the feeling of truly being alive. It's not an activity to strike off your checklist; it is a routine and a taste that will linger longer, making you come back to it over and over again. In the 4-day Basic Kayaking Course, you gain a strong foundation in basic techniques, usage of the gears, and the confidence to learn more. We are excited to see you start your kayaking journey on the white and wild waters of Ganga. In case of any doubts, feel free to reach us.
Impeccable safety record
Capability to run trips in remote and difficult regions
State of the art equipment
We conduct our courses in an eco friendly manner
Very competent, committed and cohesive team
1:2 ratio between Instructors & Students - One instructor for two students
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Cancellations between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 5 days prior to departure date