VOC x RCK Intro to Whitewater Kayaking Trip
September 8-10, 2023
Most of the participants had no idea what they were getting themselves into for the weekend but that made it all the more meaningful when everyone sent Moose-Knuckle Falls! The trip involved a well-thought out progression from flat water boat skills to small eddie line work to actual river paddling, with amazing guides from RCK customizing their teaching to each of us. The guides had all of our names memorized before we had even met them and were extremely warm and experienced! All of the VOCers were delightful to meet and I know I speak for everyone when I say we grew a ton as paddlers! Now that the seed’s been planted, the VOC should really explore more whitewater outings!
- Si Crawford
I truly had no idea what to expect, but am always down for a good paddle down a river. With some prior kayaking experience I thought it would be an easy task, however it proved to be more of a challenge than anticipated. This being said, it was an absolutely amazing experience where I felt supported by the instructors and my peers the entire time. The group of instructors was truly amazing– all super experienced, kind, and supportive in their teaching methods. I learned a lot about whitewater kayaking in a short amount of time and will definitely take up any future opportunities to do so. The crew was amazing and despite varying skill levels we all seemed to have a great time and share lots of laughs. Would HIGHLY recommend!!.
- Lily Sibthorp
Departing from Vancouver with a car full of gear and a kayak strapped to my bare roof, I had a good feeling it would be a memorable weekend. This trip was the first I’d organized and had been a long time coming. River Culture Kayaking in Squamish is a little school specialized in introductory whitewater kayaking – arguably niche, seeing as many kayakers learn from a (normally unpaid) mentor taking them out under close supervision. Arriving at Mamquam River Campground Friday night, VOCers were greeted by the friendly, enthused faces of two instructors, Russell and John, who went over the weekend schedule. The fact had dawned on me that the next day, September 9, was the Grand Fondo road bike race that shut down the highway for an amount of time contingent on the speed of the slowest cyclist. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to access Cat Lake FSR, where we were planning our flat water section, but that worry dissipated, and we ended up having the usually crowded lake entirely to ourselves, not seeing a single road biker all day. Honestly, we were kind of hoping to catch a bit of the race… In the afternoon we met up at the local dog pound to play on a heavily salmon-laden section of the Mamquam to practice entering the current. Day two had us meeting at Fergie’s cafe to do a Paradise Valley run. After a few inevitable swims, we all made it to the class 3 rapid at the end of the run. And, if memory serves, no one swam it! That afternoon we split into two groups – one would re-run the same section, the other drove up the river to a section housing a handful of 2+ to 3- rapids for an extra challenge and more targeted instruction. I can’t recommend River Culture Kayaking enough! I look forward to future collaborations, and potentially an intermediate course for those students interested in taking the next step.
- Jade Quinn-McDonald (trip lead)