good stuff. that is great advice to progress cautiously.
I would also advise to do a Swiftwater class ASAP... I just did the Downstream Edge Level 2 class in Pilar, and it was awesome.(wasnt due to recert, but didnt want to miss an opportunity to learn from those guys.) everything is real life stuff. how to do on the fly rescues with minimal setups, (i.e. @ 1-3 throwbags,) and getting hands or a rope on the pt in less then a minute if possible.
I would honestly recommend both classes, because a regular SWR class is good for the didactic portion (classroom/book learning) but the skills are always hard to remember. The DSE class is great repetition of actual rescues, (nick paddled a cracked hoss and literally pinned everywhere, and a couple times not so intentionally, lol)
if i was new to all this the DSE class would be more then adequate. i also guide and work fire/ems so the whole enchilada was the appropriate route, with the kayak specific course for my personal knowledge and well bieng..
just to give an example of my learning curve, I have been paddling since 1999, and i am still not sure if i am up to a run like Bailey yet. (yes thats a slowass learning curve. i am on the swim team for many a river...
) if i have a phenomenal year paddling, then I will try to go to Baileyfest,(btw, thanks IAN!!best time of year to have a rescue in place for your first tampax run!!)
if not then...next year maybe. some people do class V their first year paddling, some will never even do class IV.