2020 BWA Spring Swiftwater Clinic

  • 15 May 2020
  • 5:00 PM
  • 17 May 2020
  • 3:00 PM
  • Ratliff Hole River Access Elkhorn City, Kentucky 41522


  • Full clinic for one student


The clinic has been cancelled. The process of refunding clinic fees has been initiated. If you signed up early, expect to hear from us by email soon. We are very sorry to have to cancel this well loved event for the first time in BWA history, but we know that it is the right thing to do. Stay safe everyone, and look for upcoming BWA events once gathering in large groups and close contact are warranted again.  

The BWA Spring Clinic

NOTE: You must be a BWA member and log in to register for the clinic.

Presented By:

Bluegrass Wildwater Association

The Bluegrass Wildwater Association's yearly spring clinic where classes are provided to beginning kayakers of various experience levels. 

The Basics

The BWA spring clinic is open to anyone who wants to learn how to kayak or canoe on moving water. Membership in the BWA is required to register. 

Whitewater kayaking instruction from enthusiastic, experienced instructors on the class II and III sections of the Russell Fork river. Whether you're an absolute beginner or you've already got a few trips under your belt, we build our classes around our students' needs and keep class sizes small so you get plenty of personal attention. 

It is recommended that, at a minimum, you attend some of the BWA's rolling sessions before the clinic so that you have the basics of rolling, wet exiting, and adjusting your boat to fit before the clinic. You do not need to perfect your roll to participate, but you'll get more out of the clinic if you are at least familiar with the basics of rolling.

Saturday and Sunday May 16th and 17th, 2020. Arrive Friday night to camp. Instruction starts Saturday morning. 

The Spring Beginner’s Clinic will take place at Ratliff Hole Campground in the Breaks Interstate Park in Elkhorn City, KY. Instruction will be given on the class II and III sections of the Russell Fork River. DIRECTIONS TO SPRING CLINIC

Because we love boating, wild places, adventuring on and around rivers, and the friendships and camaraderie that are formed on boating trips and around a campfire. Because we want to help other people love these things as much as we do. 

Clinic registration includes camping, shuttles, 3 meals, gear loaning as necessary, 2 days of river instruction & memories that will last a lifetime.

All students must join the BWA to participate in the clinic. Membership is $20 a year for individuals and $25 for family membership.

  • Early bird registration (before Mar. 20th): $80*
  • Standard registration: $100**

 * Must use the email your BWA membership profile is set up under to log-in/register. Registration includes Saturday and Sunday instruction, camping, and food for the student only. 

 ** ...as space is available until April 17th. Contact the clinic organizer with any requests or questions at VP@BluegrassWildwater.org 

What if I just want to hang out and not be a student or volunteer?

  • Non-Student (1 person): $25*
  • Family non-student (2 adults and up to 3 minors): $60*

* Covers 2 nights camping, and 3 meals. Contact clinic organizer if you need to bundle more than three kids at VP@BluegrassWildwater.org and we'll work something out.

Registration deadline for students and campers only is May 1st, 2020. 

What if something comes up? What about refunds?

The clinic is a big undertaking and requires a lot of planning and money out of pocket, so it's important for us if you must cancel that you do so as early as possible. Please email the clinic organizer, Hanley Loller, at VP@BluegrassWildwater.org and let us know what your situation is. Full refunds will be issued to anyone cancelling by March 20th, 75% by April 3rd, 50% by April 10th. 25% by April 17th. No refunds will be issued after April 17th.


Click the "Register" button on the left and fill out the online registration. If you have any questions please feel free to email the clinic coordinator Hanley Loller at VP@BluegrassWildwater.org. Students will sign a waiver when checking in at Ratliff Hole and minors will be emailed a form to have signed by them and their guardians in advance. 

Important Notes

Note 1: Kayaks: Recreational kayaks are inappropriate for whitewater. Most of the local sporting goods stores (Dicks, Cabela’s, Bass Pro-Shop, etc.) sell ONLY recreational kayaks. Whitewater kayaks can be purchased or rented locally. Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort (502-227-4492) offers a large selection of clothing, whitewater equipment, and new and used Jackson kayaks. They also usually have a special rental package for our clinic, but they are limited to their inventory. Call and ask for details. J&H Lanmark Store in Lexington (859-278-0730) is clearing out their inventory of Dagger whitewater kayaks and also carries whitewater clothing and accessories. If you have specific questions about new or used kayaks, these stores can offer excellent advice. Please let these retailers know that you will be attending the BWA clinic so that they can better assist you. BWA members get a 10% discount at these locations, so be sure to mention this if you are a member. 

Note 2: Borrowed equipment (boats and gear) is provided by BWA members on a first come/first served basis. The sooner you return your application, the easier it will be to get borrowed gear. If you buy gear for the clinic, it is recommended to begin with a PFD, helmet and/or sprayskirt since these pieces of gear are critical and must fit properly to work properly. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY GEAR BORROWED!!!! Take good care of borrowed gear and know who to return it to.

Note 3: You should feel free to contact the clinic coordinator, BWA vice-president Hanley Loller at VP@BluegrassWildwater.org with any specific questions or requests. Once the clinic apps are in, you will have a lead instructor and assistant instructors assigned to your class. Once your instructors have been assigned, try to direct all questions through them. The clinic coordinator and other clinic organizers are usually swamped with details. Directing questions to your instructors first in the weeks leading up to the clinic distributes the workload and helps the clinic run smoothly. 

Note 4: Have Fun!!! We want you to learn a lot at the clinic, but if you’re not having fun then you’re missing the point. We want the clinic to be a great experience for everyone involved, but we need your co-operation to meet that goal. 

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