Whitewater Guide School: Monday June 11th - Sunday June 17th 2018 (ages 16+)

This class is almost full! There are only 3 camping/meals spots left. All commuter spots are full. Sign up ASAP

    Commute Option $350 Includes;

    • 7 days of whitewater boating instruction
    • Equipment (life jacket, safety equipment etc)
    • Lunch Monday-Sunday
    • Tax
    • Government fees

    Lodging Option $550 Includes;

    • 7 days of whitewater boating instruction 
    • Equipment (life jacket, safety equipment etc)
    • Breakfast Monday-Sunday
    • Lunch Monday-Sunday
    • Dinner Monday-Sunday
    • Camping 7 nights (Begins the evening of Sunday June 10th)
    • Tax
    • Government fees
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    For Aspiring Commercial Guides and Private Boaters

    River Runners white water guide school is great for aspiring commercial guides and private boaters. 

    Maybe you have never boated before. That's okay. You will still get to sit at the back of your boat with a paddle in hand, screaming commands at the other students. Things will seem crazy. Impossible. Really scary. And then...you will be at the bottom of a class three rapid having successfully guided your way there.

    Maybe you already have some boating experience and want to hone your whitewater skills. That is great too! Our instructors recognize that everyone comes to guide school with different levels of experience. We can accommodate the needs of every student. 

    What You Will Learn at Whitewater Guide School

    This seven day whitewater guide school is an introduction to whitewater boating. During the course you will be given the opportunity to learn the following skills;

    • Ability to paddle guide the South Fork of the American River
    • Basic swiftwater rescue techniques
    • Basic concepts of hydrology
    • Basic knowledge of the river environment
    • How to adequately prepare equipment for a river trip
    • How to manage the basic logistics of a river trip
    • Basics of what it takes to be a professional river guide

     Students often excel in some areas and struggle in others but this should not discourage you. This school will be taught in an inclusive manner so all students will be encouraged to excel and challenge themselves no matter where they are in their learning process. Whitewater rafting is a challenging activity and requires consistent practice. Guide school is not the end of learning. It is just the beginning! 

    About the Facilitators


    John Kosakowsky is in love with the river. He has rafted the South Fork of the American over a thousand times and still to this day finds new river features and historical and environmental curiosities to get excited about. John is an inspired guide through and through and if you learn how to guide from him you will catch the guiding bug and will leave with an invaluable amount of knowledge. John has 16 years experience  rafting commercially and privately, and has taught many students who have gone on to become successful and competent commercial river guides and boaters at large. John has worked all over the US and Costa Rica, and has boated all over the world. He is a class five boater and a certified ACA swiftwater rescue instructor.



    Daniel Jenkins is kind of a big deal. So the joke goes at River Runners. But really he is and Daniel's unassuming and humble manner is what makes the joke so funny. Daniel has been guiding for around 15 years and has taken rafts down waterways where they say you can't take rafts. What is most impressive about Daniel though is his artful relationship with the water. Daniel has boated and worked all over the US, Australia and New Zealand and is inspired to impart his knowledge and love of rivers to others.

    Sarah Vee (Vardaro) is just one of those people who never fails to surprise the people around her. After rafting for the first time 10 years ago on a class 5 river in Queensland Australia, Sarah decided it was time to learn how to swim. After she learned to swim, she almost drowned on a flooding class 5 river and decided it was time to learn how to guide.  As a result Sarah started guiding 6 years ago with no arrogance and a courageous approach to learning curves. She is keen to share the keys to providing an outstanding experience to rafting guests and is inspired to teach others how to raft so they can enjoy the peace, excitement and art of rafting as much as she does.

    Sample of Daily Schedule 

    7:30 am Breakfast/Meeting (students will not participate in the making of meals)

    8:30 am Getting River Ready

    10:00 am Getting on the River 

    1:00 pm Lunch on the River

    5:00 pm Get Off the River 

    6:30 pm Dinner/Meeting

    Whitewater Guide School Graduation

    • You will be awarded a certificate showing that you participated in our 7 day guide school. Please note that no certification is necessary to become a river guide in the state of California
    • Sometimes guide school students looking to become professional river guides are hired by River Runners but completing the guide school by itself is no guarantee that you will be offered employment. In addition referrals to other companies in the area for paid employment as a river guide can be made by your instructor if they feel confident in your skill level


    Frequently asked questions:

    What is the class size?

    We run the class if no less than 4 students sign up. There will be one instructor per 6 students.

    Will I get to guide the boat?

    Yes. All students will have the opportunity to navigate the river

    Will I learn to row?

    Not necessarily. This class is primarily focused on paddle guiding an inflatable raft. If you are interested in learning to row please call us to discuss the possibility. 

    Does River Runners provide me with cold weather gear?

    No. If you are worried about being cold and you own a wet suit, bring it along. If you don't own one we can arrange a rental for you. 

    Does River Runners provide me with equipment for rafting?

    Yes. We will provide you with a life jacket (PFD) and other necessary equipment. 

    Does River Runners provide me with a tent, pad and sleeping bag for camping?

    No. You should bring these things with you. 

    If you have any other questions e-mail adventures@riverrunnersusa.com or call 530 622 5110