TBONE: Come do Pumphouse this weekend. It sounds like there's going to be plenty boats, both days, kayakers to sweep and help. I am also very new to this sport and have been assured that Pumphouse, while having some fast water, is very forgiving and a good learning ground for newbies. See the post for specifics. There's also a conversation going on about the first weekend in May; perhaps a RubyHorsethief, which is the best shakedown cruise ever.
Dude, I'd see you on the river but I'm hardly ever out there.