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Old 04-08-2013   #1
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 265
Which SWR Class?

My son and I are looking to take a SWR class this year. We're not great kayakers, but want to have the class under our belts for safety and to help out other boaters if needed.
I've looked at a couple SWR classes offered and am not sure which one to get. Like I said, we're not great boaters (beginner to moderate, 2 years experience, both have rolls down, but our technical skills suck) so we don't want to do a SWR class that is way beyond what we'll ever see.
The one planned for Waterton sounds reasonable--it's right in our backyard and would give us good time on that little run, but I don't want to go in there and disappoint the other class members by 'dumbing' down the group.

Any input and/or recommendations would be appreciated. We're all geared up (mostly anyway) and ready to go, just want to make a wise, informed decision before I spend the $$$. Thanks!

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Old 04-08-2013   #2
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
In my experience, most instructors start at the very basic level and build up from there. For their own liability and yours, they don't want to gloss over anything. I don't believe you would be "dumbing down" the group. Also realize that they annually train raft guides, some of whom have never guided--or taken a SWR class.

If you have basic river sense, good immersion clothing, and are willing to learn, you're GTG.

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Old 04-08-2013   #3
logan, Utah
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3
I can recommend Swiftwater Safety Institue. Great instructor to student ratio and great philosophy. Id check them out for sure
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Old 04-08-2013   #4
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 47
Rapid Action Rescue offers a variety of swiftwater classes out of Durango Colorado.
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Old 04-08-2013   #5
one legged wonder's Avatar
Ouray & Buena Vista & Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 292
I was very impressed with the class i took from the people at Downstream Edge. They were great. They taught all sorts of levels of classes for anybody at any level of boating, focused mainly on kayak related swift water and they teach classes in your area.
!*!*!*!*!*Heidi Jo*!*!*!*!*!!
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Old 04-08-2013   #6
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Fast decision making is key in rescue scenarios. When I was younger my decision making facilities were not as strong as they are now. This is a great opportunity to lay a good foundation for your son. A larger amount of scenario based exercises where decision making is used and lessons learned is a bigger asset than learning obscure rescue techniques. Make your time worth while and make sure your swimming is adequate and you know basic knots by heart going in to the class.

Also finding a kayak specific SWR course could be helpful to avoid a lot of focus on raft specific rescue concepts.
The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 04-09-2013   #7
Taos, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10
Before buying your ticket and taking your ride: find out who the instructors are and who the class is tailored to. Part of SWR is becoming familiar with other craft, basic rescue techniques and equipment are similar for most river enthusiasts. We should all know how to throw and handle a throwbag, set up a 3:1, and at least be familiar with some other basic concepts and techniques.
I would also look for a three-day course, there's just too much to cover in a basic SWR class to fit it all into a 2-day format in my opinion.
However, any training is better than none.
Let us know what you decide on.
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Old 04-09-2013   #8
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 265
Thanks to all for the input. I really like the idea of keeping it tailored to kayaking.
Right now I'm leaning towards the class Colorado Whitewater is offering June 1-2. It's in Waterton which is A) close to me and B) a narrow-style river of which I mostly plan to run (and would be only run in a kayak). For a first time course, I hope it'll get me started in the right direction.

PS--I'm mostly limited due to my son's schedule. He gets out of school late May, and most classes are in late April and through May. There are classes in Taos and Durango I'd like to get to, but the Waterton class will probably have to do.
Anyway...beers on me...look for the upside down yellow Fluid Solo and I'll buy you a beer.

PPS--Anyone know if the CW classes are any good? It's $195, but if spending extra money gets me a better class, I'm all for it.

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