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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks. I am an experienced rafter and we do 15-20 river days per year with our kids and friends. My daughter is 14 and wants to get into whitewater kayaking, so she bought a nice used whitewater boat, paddle etc. For background, she is very careful but loves water and is generally fearless in this regard (she plays water polo if you know what that is like). Last summer she took our inflatable kayak down the entire main salmon including all class IVs, down Westwater (i let her do everything except Skull), and this spring she did IK on Ladore. She is wanting to start learning to roll on a neighbors pool. My older sister used to kayak long ago but hasn't in about 15 years, but i'm hoping she can help teach my daughter. I used to know how to roll as well but I was never that good and doubt my ability to teach good technique.

So here are my questions:
1. What is the best how-to book you can recommend for an aspiring young kayaker? I will/and have already taught her a ton about river safety, boating etc, but there are so many things that are specific to kayaking that I only know a bit about. Long ago I had a ww kayak and ran the Snake a few times, know some of the general braces and could roll (definitely not pretty though), but ended out preferring rafting so that stuck.

2. Any suggestions for classes that you have taken? When I learned to kayak, I learned from the U. of Utah that has a begginer and intermediate kayaking class in pools to learn basic bracing and rolling skills. Unfortunatlely the pandemic closed those classes for the year. I really feel like learning to kayak safely and responsibly comes down to going kayaking with safe and responsible people and also mastering fundamental paddling skills specific to kayaking.
 

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Honestly this book is the best:

William Nealy: Kayak

It used to be mandatory reading for all new kayakers at the club where I learned. Beyond that I would try to find a class or someone that knows what they are doing to teach strokes and rolling. The easiest way to learn to roll is in a pool with someone standing next to you to flip you back up and give you pointers.
 

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if you can find a copy of this video:
The River Runners Edge
by Phil and Mary DeReimer and Kent Ford

You are in luck. Covers most kayak skills with three of the best kayak instructors out there

highly recommended
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for your ideas - we will definitely look into use these resources.

By way of update, we opted to go with the route of her taking a private lesson, which she did yesterday. She did 3 hours of one-on-one instruction on a local reservoir. By the end she had rolled by herself 5 times. Then in the afternoon she did 3 more hours with the instructor on the Provo River on an easy section. She learned eddy turns, braces, peel outs, etc and did some more rolls as well. The instructor was fantastic and the cost absolutely worth it for everything she learned in just 6 hours of instruction. We have a San Juan River trip next week so she is excited to take her kayak along with us. I'll get her into a pool this weekend so she can get more and more reliable on the roll that she learned yesterday.
 

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Sounds like she is well on her way! The San Juan will be a great opportunity to spend more time in the boat and practice skills and rolls. Since the flows are a bit low and the river is silty make sure she checks how deep it is before she practices rolling and it is also a good idea to face up river in case you did hit something, the back of the helmet would take the hit instead of the front. :)
 

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Absolutely get William Nealy's Kayak. His cartoon drawings and hand lettering are just fun to take in, and provide overly-simplistic but very clear instruction and explanation.
 
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