Courses & Programs

For those interested in getting their children into our ongoing kayak programs, whether it be the competitive stream or recreational whitewater paddling, the best entry point is one of our summer camps as many of our Spring or Fall programs require some basic whitewater skills as a pre-requisite. 

For more advanced paddlers, coaching is offered by age group.  This includes cadets, juniors(under 18), seniors and masters/adults.  All courses, sessions or coaching fees are not included in the ORR membership.

Introductory Courses

Please note, that while we do offer introductory whitewater paddling courses/camps for children, and youth, we only occasionally have scheduled Intro courses for adults. We will though, on occasion, offer a custom adult, young children,  family or group introductory course, upon request, and subject to the participants becoming club members. The cost is ~$25-$30/hour for private lessons and ~$15-$20/hour for semi-private or group lessons, including all equipment. The best time for these lessons are during the summer (June, July, August) when we employ more instructors to staff our summer camps and to also teach adults. The entry poiint for most of our year-round programs are via summer courses and camps. 

Interest Form: Please complete this form if you are interested in such a course.

For adults looking for Introductory Courses, we also encourage you to  search out Commercial Paddling Schools. A number of companies offer courses on a number of local Ontario and Quebec rivers, like Palmer Rapids, the Ottawa River and the Madawaska. Taking a course before becoming a club member is an excellent way to transition into Whitewater Paddling.

A few commercial operators that have supported ORR over the years include:

2022 Adult Intro Clinics

In 2022, at least 2 Adult Intro Courses will be (or were) held in July and August. See the poster below for the latest information.

A Fall course is a possibility but has not been scheduled yet. Those on the waiting/signup list will be notified if such a course is scheduled. If you are interested in being on the waiting list, please complete the Interest Form. Please e-mail the ORR (info@ottawariverrunners.com) for the registration link for any specific course.

Children & Youth Programs

Please also see our Summer Camps page for some information on Children and Youth programs.

The ORR offers development of whitewater kayak skills for children/cadets/youth, through small group local sessions and beginner river runs taught by club coaches.  Participants must have appropriate skill levels entering the program, as assessed by instructors or the head coach. Slalom programs focus on kayaking as a competitive sport, but at the introductory level, it is all about improving skills and having fun. These programs are open to club members only. Equipment (including slalom boats) is available for loan for those without their own equipment. Children and Youth programs are usually for children 16 and under but older children can be accomodated. 

To clarify our breakdown of skill level groups here at the ORR. Here is a list from the easiest to hardest programs that we run.

  • Minnows Program (for kids under the age of 10)
  • Level 1 Camp
  • Level 2 Camp
  • Slalom Camp
  • Youth Development/Recreational Sessions
  • Kids ORR Slalom Program (Seasonal ongoing sessions)
  • Youth ORR Slalom Program (Seasonal ongoing sessions)
  • Junior Competitive Program (for slalom athletes) – up to age 18 – run in conjunction with WO/CKC
  • Senior Competitive Program (for slalom athletes) – age 18+ – run in conjunction with WO/CKC

The programs run from Spring through the Fall, and continue with Pool Sessions in the Winter.

If you are interested in Level 1 and Level 2 Summer Camps, or the July 18-22 afternoons, please refer to our Camps Page.

Summer sessions are usually weekday afternoons, with some full day river runs and  optional training camps and races.


A more advanced/intensive competitive slalom program also exists for athletes that runs approximately 5x/week and includes winter training and training camps. This program is run in conjunction with Whitewater Ontarion (WO) and Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC). Enquire for more information.

Minnows Program

This program is designed for under 10 year olds and the goal is to get them comfortable in boats in moving water.  In past years, we have met once a week down at the lower section during the supper time hour. Be prepared for your kids to eat before and after but we promise to get them to their beds at a regular time. Sessions will be held on Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:45PM. Please email Richard or info @ ottawariverrunners.com more information.

The session is made up entirely of drills like eddy turns, ferrying and, when water warms up we get them doing wet exits.  We try to do a bit of dry land simulation explaining the principles of hydrodynamics but don’t get too serious about it and we are mainly there to have fun and goof around.

Parental involvement is essential. We would appreciate if people stick around to get kids in and out of boats. Assistance is required to get equipment out of the clubhouse and return it at the end of each session.  Sometimes we do snacks after.

The club has a number of smaller boats but participants are encouraged to bring their own boats if they have one.

Participants, parent(s)/guardian(s) and child(ren) must be registered as a family with ORR to be considered.

The program was created by Dave Adams, of Kichi Sibi, formerly SJAM, winter trail fame.

Evening Sessions

The ORR works to offer ongoing evening recreation-focused sessions each year for different age and ability levels. In order to participate in sessions, you must have taken an introductory level whitewater kayaking course, or have beginner level whitewater skills. More information on where to get this experience is listed at the bottom. Sometimes, we also offer rolling clinics and other instruction, if there is demand. Participation in sessions is only open to club members. Participants should have their own equipment, or arrange ahead of time to book club equipment.

Adult/Youth Open Sessions (Ages 15+)
All beginner to intermediate level club members are invited to participate in these instructed sessions. Club instructors will work with small groups, teaching whitewater skills and providing rescues on the Pumphouse. These sessions are a great way to work your way up to river runs, or to prepare for the September Pumphouse Race. Participants should use the style of recreational boat that they want to improve their paddling in. If you are bringing your own equipment, please ensure that you have the appropriate flotation. If you need club equipment, there is some available, but it is ‘first come, first served’.

For 2022, there are some type of Open Sessions on Mon, Tue, Wed, and Thu evenings (except holidays). These include youth, adult, whitewater, flatwater, and rolling sessions. All are kayak sessions and no canoe sessions are offered at this time. If you are a new member and would like more information about open sessions, please contact us (info@ottawariverrunners.com)

2022 Adult/Youth Open Sessions

AUGUST
Tuesday, 9 August 2022 – 6:30 – 8PM – Adult Open Session
Wednesday, 10 August 2022 – 6:30 – 8PM – Roll Clinic
Thursday, 11 August 2022 – 6:30 – 8PM – Flatwater Session

Monday, 15 August 2022 – 5 – 6:30PM – Youth Open Session
Tuesday, 16 August 2022 – 6:30 – 8PM – Adult Open Session
Wednesday, 17 August 2022 – 6:30 – 8PM – Roll Clinic
Thursday, 18 August 2022 – 6:30 – 8PM – Flatwater Session

Cost: The cost is $25/session for ~1.5 hrs and there is a discount for pre-booking a pack of 3 or more. We need a minimum of 2 people to hold the session, or the fee goes up to $40 (essentially as a private session). You will need to pay for a session that you cancel with less than 24 hours notice.

Note: You must be a club member to participate in Open Sessions. Signup instructions have been sent out to all club members by email (see our Membership page to join the club).

Masters Slalom Sessions
Informal Masters’ Slalom Sessions are normally Mon and Wed evenings.

We do not at this time offer instruction in C1, OC1, or OC2, we are happy to provide recommendations to other local instructors or clubs that do. 

Other Courses
Private or Group Lessons can also be arranged for club members. We are happy to run custom courses if there is enough interest. Get a few friends together and e-mail us, and we will put it out to the rest of the club.

For adults looking for Introductory Courses, we also encourage you to  search out Commercial Paddling Schools. A number of companies offer courses at Champlain Bridge, Palmer Rapids, the Ottawa River, the Madawaska, and other local Ontario or Quebec rivers. MKC offers instruction at the Pumphouse with their MKC in the City program. Taking a course before becoming a club member is an excellent way to transition into Whitewater Paddling.