Custom Whitewater Canoe Courses

Choose your location or ours 

Boreal Rivers offers whitewater canoe courses for groups of 10 or more. The course will:
  • teach you how to read rapids
  • teach you how to pick safe lines
  • give you experience running rapids
  • enable you to use waves to get around efficiently
Our courses are taught by Paddle Canada certified instructors with years of whitewater experience as paddlers and guides. We have our favourite teaching locations, but if they don’t meet the needs of your group, our instructors can bring the course as close to you as possible. 
The benefit to a private course is that we work around your schedule and your location.  The course can be tailored to suit the needs of your group. 
We can provide top of the line equipment or if you have boats and other gear, we can use yours too.

Whitewater canoe topics and skills covered:

  • Whitewater maneuvers
  • Carving
  • Surfing
  • Running rapids
  • Setting safety
  • Assessing risk
  • Rescue techniques
  • Advanced whitewater skills for bigger water (upon request)
  • Tripping skills for heavily-loaded boats (upon request)

Ask us if there’s something you’d be interested in learning that isn’t listed

What's included?

  • Full days of professional instruction
  • Free camping (depending on location)
  • Group safety equipment including first aid kits & rescue gear
  • An incredible course!
Our instructors can certify your group members through a variety of training providers including:
  • Boreal River Rescue
  • Paddle Canada & ORCKA
  • American Canoe Association
You can discuss which level you are aiming for with your instructor and achieve Moving Water Tandem Skills Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. These are equivalent to ORCKA Moving Water Level 1A or Level 2A.
With certification, you will receive a laminated wallet card and entry into the Paddle Canada database. If you'd like ORCKA or Fédération Québécoise du Canot et du Kayak (FQCK) certification instead, we can arrange that too. 

Since the group training is customized, what to bring depends on what your group wants. These are typical items and Equipment rentals are available. Rental fees will vary based on the size and interests of your group.


Please bring appropriate clothing and equipment to be comfortable in and around the water for prolonged periods. You'll receive a ‘student information package’ with a complete list specific to your course.

For the river

  • Whitewater tandem canoe

Bring a fully outfitted canoe with thigh straps, kneepads, and airbags. If you aren't sure about the appropriateness of your canoe, please contact us. Rental available

  • Whitewater canoe paddle(s)

You can rent paddles from us. We have a range of sizes in fibreglass whitewater paddles in models such as the Werner Luna. You can bring a spare paddle but we will provide several for the group as well. 

  • Whitewater Helmet - bring one or rent one
  • Personal flotation device (PFD)

​You need a whitewater-appropriate personal flotation device (PFD). It needs to be in good condition and fit properly. Rentals are available.

  • Wetsuit or drysuit

A wetsuit or drysuit is necessary for courses before mid-June or past September 1st. You can rent a full length wetsuit (fleece-lined with full arms and legs) or an 'overall style' wetsuit (farmer jane/john style).

  • Paddling jacket or drytop

This is a windproof and splash proof layer that will help keep you warm on cool or windy days. For this course you can rent a paddling jacket from us.

  • River shoes

The ideal river shoe has full toe covering and is supportive but also lightweight and draining with a grippy sole. This could be a model made specifically for the river or a lightweight running shoe. Neoprene shoes can work if they have enough support and traction. Neoprene socks or booties are not adequate.

  • Base layers, insulation, and socks

Make sure to have several layers of socks, pants, and tops made of wool, fleece, polyester, or another synthetic material to wear in addition to your wetsuit or drysuit, or to be worn on their own on sunny days and in warm water.

  • Surf shorts
  • Lunch, snacks and water bottle or thermos

Keeping yourself fueled and hydrated is one of the keys to staying warm and happy. High-calorie snacks like chocolate bars and cereal bars are great to keep in your PFD.

  • Sunscreen, lip protection, bug repellent
  • Small drybag or container to carry food and extra layers 
  • River rescue equipment and throw bag (optional)

Bring any rescue equipment that you’d like to try out on the course.

  • Neoprene gloves (optional)
  • Sunglasses or prescription glasses with strap (optional)

​For on land

  • Comfortable clothing
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sun hat, visor, or baseball cap
  • Rain gear to wear on land before and after the river
  • Gear bag or container to store your river equipment for transport

For those camping on site

You will have use of a ‘camp kitchen’ with drinking water, barbeque, stove, tables, and common sheltered areas. Please bring biodegradable soaps and hygiene products. Note that the Upper Gatineau River course site does not have showers or bathrooms, however there is an outhouse. 

  • Meals, cooler, dishes, and cooking equipment. (Upper Gatineau River: Closest supermarket is 20 minutes away. Magnetawan River: Bring groceries as the small grocery stores in the area are usually not open after or before our course hours.)
  • Tent, sleeping bag, mattress, pillow
  • Extra clothing
  • Towel / camp towel
  • Headlamp / flashlight
  • Personal hygiene products and medications

Equipment rentals are available.


Contact a group training coordinator

"This course was the highlight of our paddling season. Alex is a brilliant teacher."

- Jeff Wright - Ottawa area paddler

Intermediate Whitewater Canoe Course, Gatineau River, 2015