Packraft Training

Hi…I read with great interest the valuable opinions that were brought out within the Penrith WW Centre thread. I concur with many of the viewpoints…but on both sides of the equation. I have significant experience with whitewater…including competitive kayaking (slalom; downriver; rodeo); recreational kayaking; working in the water (raft guiding; safety kayaking); wilderness kayaking (multi day remote first descents); and training (ww rescue’ courses; kayak technique; canoe instruction). I say this only as background rather than trumpet blowing. Recently I bought two packrafts; which I am enjoying immensely (and based on my early exposure to the sport, I agree that there are specific dangers to PRing that dont exist to the same degree as kayaking).

The Penrith thread focussed at times on ‘training’. Sometimes referred to as ‘packraft training’ or ‘ww training’. I would be interested in pursuing this thread more; in order to gauge what people mean about training. Are people saying that want training in ww rescue techniques for example? PR (and general) paddling techniques? River reading and running rapids? General ww introduction? What gear to carry and how to use it? Sorting out safety for yourself and providing safety for others?

I would be happy (depending on people’s answers and resposnes to see if we cant sort out some INFORMAL training sessions/weekend. I would be happy to talk more and demonstrate stuff more than others on the day (but everyone has something to contribute for sure)…but in no way would I be providing formal training. I think that a central spot with a bit of gaurenteed flow would be sufficient…its suprising what can be learnt on Grade 1 and 2. You dont need big rapids to learn 90% of the important stuff!

Anyways…lets see what this thread throws up in way of responses…forgive my spelling (spellcheck reliance has many flaws).


That is very generous Chrisp ! Thanks for the kind offer. For me I’d be keen on training for whitewater techniques for packrafts, river reading skills and safety training (Swiftwater rescue).

I doubt that I’d have anything to contribute although I would be happy to demonstrate a variety of methods to fall out of a Packraft that others may not have seen ?

Grasshopper: I had to consider whether PRs require a different technique than other craft in ww. Many elements stay the same, whether you are in a kayak, a raft, a log, a lilo, etc. But I think it would be fair to say there are some things specific to each craft to focus on, with regard to running whitewater, and how the craft will react to river features, with what speed, your capacity to change the outcome, what is the most likely thing to go wrong, etc. I think the crucial underlying skill though is being able to read what the water is going to do to the craft, well before its happening (ideally from the bank - or from the eddy if you are boat scouting), and through experience, first learn how to combat that effect…then progress to learning how to use that effect to get to where you want to be…rather than fight it.

And yeah…if amusing us all on falling out of your PR a hundred different ways is what you bring to the table…then you’re probably the most valuable asset to the group :slight_smile:

Thinking of locations, the Lower Snowy would be a good location. Easy camping, easy interesting river, a few different options, and warm water.

Not a flood of responses though.

Thanks Chris, very generous indeed. I’d be happy to listen and learn anything you put forward. For me personally, it’s probably less about the paddling skills and more about the river and rescue side of things. A mate or two would also be interested.

Chris, knowing your background and wealth of experience consider me in on any thing you’d be prepared to offer. It is very kind of you to offer and I would be happy to help make it happen in anyway I can. I come from the point that many of the other guys do ie I know nothing and have every thing to learn so any training (formal or informal) is good at this point. Count me in for any / all of it.


Hey Chris

Thanks for the amazing offer. Count me in and please let me know if I can help with anything.



Hi Chris

Thanks for your offer to put on a training day

I would definitely be interested

As Darren mentioned, my interest is mainly with the safety/rescue aspect of WW but would also be interested in the other areas of training you have mentioned


OK - for those who responded above, send me a personal message. Then we can organise off line so to speak. Cheers, C

Will flick you a PM. Happy to tru and wedge in something in my getting crowded weekends (good problem to have!).

PM Sent and thanks for getting on board with some help.

Yep, PM’s. Thanks Chris.

Hi Chris

I would also be interested along with a mate of mine.

Cheers Haydn.

This thread is closed…training is now being orgasnied with respondants, offline.

Sorry for anyone who missed out…numbers got too big.

We can see how this one turns out; if successful, lets do another come spring!

Another PM headed your way :slight_smile:

To enjoy packraft you need to be well trained. From my personal experience, training and paddling with experienced boaters is the best way to learn this.