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Fairbanks Paddlers is bringing professional paddlesports instructors to the Fairbanks area to provide two paddling skills and safety classes in June. Each class will be two full days. One course will focus on beginning level skills for paddling on moving water. This class will be open to participants with packrafts, river-specific kayaks, inflatable kayaks, solo canoes, and SUP’s. The second intermediate level class is intended for those who completed the first course, or paddlers with equivalent river skills. Because of the more specific skills focus, this class is for targeted to packrafters and kayakers with closed cockpit river-specific kayaks. Each class will be limited to 10 participants with two instructors. Participants need to be age 18 or older.

Instructors:

Patrick Higgins


Patrick Higgins will be the lead instructor for both classes. Patrick offers classes through Turnagain Kayak Adventure Center based out of Hope, Alaska. Patrick was the first to be certified by American Canoe Association (ACA) as an instructor for their newly introduced discipline of Packrafting. He is also a certified instructor for Whitewater Kayaking, Whitewater SUP, Swiftwater Rescue, and Sea Kayaking. He was recognized as the Instructor of the Month for September 2022 by ACA. Patrick is the new Chair for the American Packrafting Association (APA) Alaska Chapter.

 


Maggie Harings will assist in instructing both classes. Maggie is also an ACA certified packrafting instructor and recently transitioned out of serving as Chair for the APA Alaska Chapter. Maggie lives in Fairbanks where she studies Pacific salmon and has an outdoor photography business. Before moving to Alaska in 2017, she spent several years rafting big water in Idaho and the mountain west.

Scholarships:

Fairbanks Paddlers is offering scholarships in the form of partial course fee waivers to boaters who might have difficulty meeting course costs and/or taking time off from work to participate.

Scholarship requests and reasons should be submitted by email to Rachel at theangrymarmot@protonmail.com with the subject: “Paddling Class Scholarship”. Scholarships requests should be sent before registering.

Introduction to River Paddling Skills and Safety Course
Friday, June 21 – Saturday, June 22, 2024

Register for Introductory Class

Participants in this introductory course will spend two full (and fun) days learning, practicing and refining new skills for paddling on moving water. These skills build the foundation for intermediate and advanced paddling and safety classes. This course will be tailored to meet the needs of participants in varied paddlecraft suitable for river travel: packrafts, whitewater kayaks, solo canoes, inflatable kayaks, or SUP’s.

Course content includes the following:
• Appropriate equipment and gear
• River types and classes
• How to locate information about local rivers
• How to choose an appropriate river
• Introduction to hydrology
• Safety and rescue techniques
• Strokes and maneuvers

Venue: Lake and class I-II river features – Specific locations TBD

Required Equipment: Drysuit, PFD, paddle, helmet, appropriate paddlecraft.

Need gear? Equipment may be available at an additional cost. Please let us know during registration. The instructors may be able to work with you to provide rental gear through Turnagain Kayak.

Cost: $300 for Fairbanks Paddlers Members / $400 for non-members
(50% online payment is due at registration, balance is due before start of course)

Additional costs – Participants will need to either be American Canoe Association (ACA) members ($40 per year), or join ACA with an event membership ($10 per 2 day class). Rental gear is extra. Participants may need to drive to the venue or share transportation costs with others. Depending on the selected venues, there may be day use parking fees.

Register for Introductory Class

Intermediate River Paddling Skills and Safety Class
Sunday, June 23 – Monday, June 24, 2024

Register for Intermediate Class

This two day class continues to build on skills learned previously. This course works on reading water and using the river to your advantage. Participants will work on blending strokes and building blade dexterity. This is a great continuation for paddlers who have taken the introductory river safety and skills class, or for paddlers with equivalent skills who are looking to improve river running techniques. Because the focus is more specific than the introductory course, paddle craft will be limited to packrafts and river-specific enclosed cockpit kayaks with spray skirts and floatation.

Course content includes the following:
• More advanced river reading and hydrology
• Separating the body, boat and blade
• Advanced edging

Venue: class I-II moving water

Required Equipment: Drysuit, PFD, paddle, helmet, appropriate paddlecraft.

Need gear? Equipment may be available at an additional cost. Please let us know during registration. The instructors may be able to work with you to provide rental gear through Turnagain Kayak.

Cost: $300 for Fairbanks Paddlers Members / $400 for non-members
(50% online payment is due at registration, balance is due before start of course)

Additional costs – Participants will need to either be American Canoe Association (ACA) members ($40 per year), or join ACA with an event membership ($10 per 2 day class). Rental gear is extra. Participants may need to drive to the venue or share transportation costs with others. Depending on the selected venues, there may be day use parking fees.

Online Registration for both classes is open as of May 3, 20234

Register for Intermediate Class