Level 1 Tandem
Moving Water

Level 1 TaNDEM River CANOEING skills Course

Don’t let the words ‘Level 1’’ mislead you. Even seasoned whitewater paddlers with many river-miles behind them, but no formal training, will benefit greatly from this course.

In this course, you will learn the same technical skills required for gentle water as for difficult, turbulent rapids.  This foundation is built by honing precision and technique in a simple class 1 or 2 section of a river.

Courses are 2 full days on Saturday and Sunday (8:30am- 5pm)  with a Friday evening session in Lumby from 6-8pm. We paddle sections of the Lower and/or Middle Shuswap River. See course details here

Course Dates

Check Course Dates

Course Duration

2 full days on Saturday and Sunday with a Friday evening session.


$385 + GST /person
(Rentals available separately)


Level 2 Lakewater Canoeing Skills Course or equivalent.


Check here for equipment rentals.


If you are wondering if this course is right for you, please get in touch.  We recommend that paddlers have a Lakewater II course or equivalent experience under their belts before attending our river course.

This Level 1 River Course is not for those new to canoeing – it is a packed, 2+ day course that builds upon solid lake-canoeing skills and knowledge and introduces you to technical paddling skills and knowledge needed to safely paddle up to class 1 on easy rivers. This course is suitable for paddlers who already have very proficient lake canoeing skills in both the bow and stern positions and may already have some experience paddling on very easy rivers.

If in doubt, give us a call to see which course is right for you! (250.308.8924)

Prior to attending this course, EACH participant:

  • has attended a Lakewater II course and/or has proficient lake canoeing skills in both bow and stern positions.
  • is able to paddle a canoe in a straight line without switching paddling sides in the stern (both paddlers).
  • knows the following strokes: hip draw, stern draw, stern pry, hip pry, forward, backward, J, sweep.
  • has practiced a canoe-over-canoe rescue (t-rescue).
  • knows how to spin, sideslip, and turn a canoe.
  • has paddled on a lake in moderate wind under control.
  • has average or better swimming skills.
  • is 16 years of age or older.

Those who are unfamiliar with both bow and stern paddling, are very new to canoeing or just wish to brush up on a few things before heading on to a river can take a Lakewater II course

This Level 1 course PLUS several subsequent days of river canoeing experience is required as a prerequisite for taking the Level 2 (Intermediate river course), or with instructor consent.

Course Overview

This course will open up a lot of tripping possibilities for you! 

Course theory covers:

  • Types of river canoes
  • Proper whitewater outfitting
  • Dressing for the river
  • Safety topics
  • Interpreting river levels and rapid classifications

On the water, we will focus on:

  • Practicing basic strokes and manoeuvers (front ferries, c-turns, s-turns)
  • Learning how to carve a canoe
  • Identifying common features and hazards on the river and how to avoid them
  • Practicing basic self-rescue skills, throwbag rescues, rescuing canoes, and much more!

Strokes: stern draw, stern pry, forward, backward, hip draw, cross-bow draw, low brace, high brace, river J, bow cut

Manoeuvers (in class 1 or easy class 2 river sections): entering and exiting a canoe, front ferry, eddy turns (C-turns and S-turns), back ferry, side-slip, spin, portaging, lining, landing in current, intro to backferrying and surfing.

Safety Skills: shoreline rescues with throwbag, T- or Parallel rescues, self-rescue, capsized canoe rescue, swimming across eddy-lines.. 

Theory: types of canoes (design and construction), outfitting paddlers and canoes, international river classification system, interpreting river discharge rates, environmental considerations, canoe heritage.

At the end of this canoeing course, students will be able to use the fundamental river-paddling strokes and manoeuvers to safely navigate class 1 river sections, recognize and avoid hazards, and know how to choose a section of river that matches the ability of their family or paddling group.

More Information about river courses

Learn more about course locations, rentals, transportation and more in our Frequently Asked Questions page. 

lake water canoeing course

Customer Reviews

What Others Say

I took a paddling course with Charles in October of 2022. He is a wonderful teacher with a fun sense of humour. The paddling technique and safety feedback he gave each paddler in the course was concise, specific, and encouraging. He has a keen eye for detail, a kind way of communicating, and puts in the additional effort to guide each learner towards their personal goals. I would definitely recommend Charles and his company.
Mary Jane Leger

Taking a river skills canoeing course offers several valuable benefits. Firstly, it ensures safety by teaching essential techniques for navigating rivers, understanding currents, and managing potential hazards. Additionally, these courses enhance confidence, providing participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to handle varying river conditions. Our river skills courses also focus on environmental awareness, teaching paddlers about river ecosystems and the importance of conservation. They also foster a sense of community, allowing participants to connect with fellow paddlers and experienced instructors, leading to a supportive network. Lastly, such courses enable individuals to appreciate nature on a deeper level, promoting environmental stewardship and a profound respect for our natural waterways.

Overall, a river skills canoeing course equips individuals with the expertise and mindset needed for a safe, enjoyable, and environmentally conscious river paddling experience.