Driving along MacArthur or Falls Road or Clara Barton Parkway, it is hard to not notice cars with brightly colored boats tied to the roof. But do people passing by really know what an incredible place the DC area is for kayaking? What makes this area so popular for the sport is accessibility, both geographically and to a wide range of skill levels.
The Potomac flows along the border of Maryland and Virginia from Harpers Ferry right into Washington DC. The C & O Canal National Historical Park protects a lot of this land and provides ample parking and river access points. You can park at Great Falls, Anglers Inn, or near Chain Bridge and just walk down to the river with your boat! We also have sections of the Potomac that range from Class I (flat water) to the expert level Class V (Great Falls). People who are just learning can find the river equivalent of a bunny slope and shred whitewater all day.
These reasons are precisely why I get excited when the leaves turn green and the water warms up. Summer is the time to introduce new paddlers to the sport. Nothing beats the thrill of teaching someone to surf for their first time or spending a beautiful evening on the water with a group of stoked beginners. Teaching refuels me every time, reminding me of why I love the river and how lucky we are to have this natural resource right in a major city.
Calleva has changed up our beginner river progression a little bit this year. Instead of a four hour lesson for total beginners we have broken it down into two classes. Offered Saturdays and Sundays, Level 1: Introduction is to give you the fun part of cruising around flat and moving water, getting you used to paddling and steering and introducing a few strokes. If you want to come back for more, our Level 2: Foundations class will challenge you a little bit more. You will complete a wet exit and run your first small rapid by the end! What is a wet exit, you ask? Come find out.
See you on the river!