River School FAQs
- How do I know what my skill level is? Beginners can be anyone who has never kayaked before to someone with some experience on flat water or class I-II whitewater. A beginner may still be working on their roll. An Intermediate is someone who has a flat water roll, an emerging whitewater roll, and some class III experience. Advanced kayakers are comfortable on Class III, have some Class IV experience, or are looking to develop more professional skills.
- When and where should I go for my class? Our office will email you the day before your class (Friday for weekend classes) with directions, what to bring, and information about your instructor. Locations are determined by river level and conditions. Please arrive 15-20 minutes prior to class start time – the sooner we get into our gear, the more time we can spend on the water. Please see the locations page for directions.
- What should I bring/wear? We provide all equipment for beginner river classes, clinics and workouts. Really, this is all you need for your class. You are welcome to bring your own equipment if you prefer.
You do not need to purchase special clothing. You should wear synthetic, fast-drying clothing or swimsuits. If it is chilly fleece or another synthetic, insulating top may help. You will definitely get wet, so you may wish to bring a towel in addition to some dry clothing to change into. You will also want to wear a pair of shoes that can get wet, are secured to the foot, and can fit inside a closed kayak.
Other optional items people like to bring include: sunscreen, river shoes or booties, water bottle. There is a place to put your water bottle and a snack bar in your boat.
For trips, please check our equipment list.
- What if it is raining? Classes run rain-or-shine. You will be wet anyway! If a storm comes up we often take off the river and wait until it passes. We rarely cancel or reschedule classes due to predicted storms. If Calleva needs to cancel the class due to weather, conditions, or any other reason, we will notify you by email as soon as possible.
- What if I need to cancel? If you need to cancel or reschedule or “switch” a river class, we require notice 48 hours before your class is scheduled to begin. For all weekend classes, you must request to cancel or reschedule by Thursday at 10 am. After this time there will be no refunds or reschedules. Training programs require 30 days notice to receive a full refund. No refund will be given 30 days or closer to the start date.
For Week-long trips, we require 30 days notice prior to the start date. A refund, less $400 deposit, will be issued. No refunds or alterations will be issued within 30 days of trip date. We recommend trip insurance to protect you in case there is a last minute need to cancel. If there are fewer than 4 students, Calleva may cancel the trip up to 30 days before the start date. For Mexico trips, please email the office prior to booking your ticket.
- Do I need to rent equipment? We provide all equipment for all of our beginner classes. We use whitewater river running and creek boats. You may bring your own whitewater boat to use instead. Please check in with the office about bringing any other type of boat (C-1, Sea Kayak, glass boat, etc.) Intermediate and Advanced paddlers are expected to have their own boat and gear. Please contact the office if you need to rent.
- Do you rent boats? We only rent boats and equipment to students in our classes. For those in the Zero to Hero and Intermediate PLP, we will rent you a boat for the whole month for $75 along with agreeing to pay for any loss or damage of equipment by signing our rental agreement policy. Students must be able to secure the boat to their car with roof racks & straps.
- Do you sell boats? Yes! We are THE D.C. area’s dealer and boat demo service. Visit our online store. We always try to keep our boats fresh and current so will often sell used boats at the end of the season- October and again in May. Email the office to ask whether we have a specific boat available.
- Can I demo a boat? Yes! We are a Liquid Logic, Dagger, Pyranha, Jackson and Waka boat demo center. You can demo any of their boats or another make that we have available. Our demo fee is $25. Boats are generally located at our Riley’s office location. Please contact the office about setting up a demo. We are sometimes able to arrange a different location based on our class schedule.
- Do you provide transportation? Transportation is provided for some of our youth programs. For camp, please see the camp transportation page.
- After School Kayaking: Pick up is at 2:45 at Whitman, 3:00 – 3:10 at Pyle and Westland. All other students can meet us at the river at 3:30. Drop off for everyone is 6:30 at Whitman.
- Commando Unit: Pick up is at 2:45 at Whitman, 3:00 – 3:10 at Pyle and Westland. All other students can meet us at the river at 3:30. Drop off for everyone is 6:30 at Whitman. Transportation, leadership, breakfast and lunch is included in the trips. Paddlers will need a dry-top for the trips and some cash for dinner out in a restaurant. Gear and boats will be provided.
- Cheat Youth: Transportation is provided for the four Cheat River trips in April. We will email parents with specific details but usually meet about 6 am in Cabin John on Saturday mornings and return that same day around 11 pm.
- Where do we stay on overnight trips? Lodgings on our trips are simple, natural and invariably beautiful. On the intermediate and strong intermediate trips to Mexico, we stay at full-service ecological resorts which provide small cabins in charming, natural settings near the rivers we paddle.
- We visit Aventurec and Nace el Rio resorts as well as an assortment of comfortable traditional 4 star hotels in Puebla and Ciudad Valles. On the advanced trips we have similar accommodations near the rivers where we paddle.
- On all other overnight trips we will be camping. We will provide a tent for youth trips.
- What is next? There is always more to learn and experience in kayaking. Talk with your instructor after class about what to take next or email the office. We would love to work with you to reach your goal of paddling the Yough or getting ready for a trip to Mexico!