March 6th, 2014

Wildwater River Guides - Guide Training Course

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| 2013 Guide trainees going big in "Granny's Rapid" on the Wenatchee River

2014 Guide Training starts the weekend of Saturday April 5th and continues through the weekend of Sunday May 4th with a graduation float for family and friends on Saturday May 10th.

Our team of professional guides and expert instructors are some of the best the industry has to offer. This course is led by owner Lance Reif; an American Canoe Association level 4 whitewater kayak instructor, Rescue 3 International Whitewater Rescue Technician, Wilderness Medical Institute Wilderness First Responder, and class 5 guide with experience on over 100 rivers across the United States, British Columbia, Mexico, and Ecuador. Lance started his commercial whitewater career in his home state of West Virginia for Songer Whitewater where he trained and learned to guide on the famous New and Gauley rivers from 2004-2007. He quickly became a trip leader, support kayaker, and guide trainer on these two amazing rivers before making the move out west to chase more whitewater. After working and checking out several companies in California and Oregon Lance landed a job in Washington, where he became a lead guide trainer, lead kayak instructor, support kayaker, and trip leader from 2008-2012. At the end of 2012 Lance took over Wildwater River Tours. With the addition of kayaking and SUP trips, WRT became Wildwater River Guides.

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Lance running Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek in Oregon

Whether you are looking for employment in the whitewater industry or just looking to learn how to guide from the professionals, Wildwater’s Guide Training course will teach you the skills needed to guide with confidence.

In this comprehensive course we will cover such topics as:

• Reading water

• Paddle strokes

• Rowing techniques

• River signals

• Boat control

• Commanding a crew

• Basic rescue skills

• How to properly rig a boat

• Proper maintenance and inspection of equipment

• Emergency procedures

• Flipping a raft

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Trainee Brittany practicing a key skill for becoming a raft guide during Flip Training.
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River Guide Jaime learning how to row on the Skagit River during 2013's Guide Training Course
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| 2013 Guide Trainees having fun after running "Drunkard's Drop" on the Wenatchee River.

Our experienced guide instructors will work hard to make sure you meet your goals and that all of your river experiences are fun and exciting. We keep the guide to participant ratio low to ensure that everyone gets proper instruction and plenty of “stick time”. This is a great opportunity for you as a river rafting enthusiasts in Washington State to step into professional river guiding or brush up on your skills with river travel.

No previous experience is necessary.

While in guide training you will need to provide your own snacks, lunch and beverages for the river. Proper river equipment is needed for this course - this included a helmet, PFD, and river attire. If you do not already own equipment then a farmer-john (or sleeveless) style neoprene wet suit, booties, PFD, and helmet can be provided upon request. Please give us a call in the office at 1-800-522-WILD if you have any questions or concerns about the river gear you will need.

Everyone is responsible for his or her own transportation to and from the river. There are motels and campgrounds near each river, call or check the website for the appropriate accommodations.

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Trainee Amy practicing her trip talk before launching on the Skagit River.

Training may take place on the Skagit River (famous for our Bald Eagle Trips), Wenatchee River, Methow River, Green River Gorge, Toutle River, or the Skykomish River.

We reserve the right to move our training to any of the above rivers depending on river levels.

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The group practicing their knot skills.

This course is very popular and class size is limited, so register early.

We look forward to getting out on the river with you!


All participants must be in good physical condition and have a willingness to learn!

Ages 18 years and up.

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Learn how important and helpful skills for river rescue scenarios are to make sure you are prepared for any thing while out on the river.

Working for Wildwater River Guides has its benefits. We offer more rivers than any company in the state: Wenatchee River, Skykomish River, Green River, White Salmon River, Toutle River, Tieton River, Skagit River, and Methow river. Along with the biggest rafting selection we also offer kayak instruction, guided kayak trips, and down river SUP trips. This means that guides at Wildwater have the chance to work on a variety of rivers and trips, so you’ll never get bored with the same river throughout the season.

Employees also get pro-deals through some of the top brands in the industry, including: NRS, Bomber Gear, Werner paddles, Dagger Kayaks, Wave Sport Kayaks, Kokatat, AT paddles, and much more! Additional benefits include: in house Swiftwater Rescue Certifications, ability to borrow kayaks/SUPs/Rafts, ability to join in on kayak instruction classes, and camping for full time staff. Come join the experience!

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2013 guide trainees with instructors Lance, and Jonathan
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2013 Guide Trainees and Instructor Neils holding Wildwater's Security Manager Rio

Training dates: Guide training starts Saturday April 5th and continues through Sunday May 4th with a graduation float for family and friends on May 10th.

Weekends only!

Training begins at 8:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday and typically runs until 5:30 PM.

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2013 Guide Trainees and instructors are all smiles after a fun weekend spent on the river.

Completion of the course does not guarantee employment with Wildwater River Guides. There is more to being a professional guide and joining the Wildwater River Guides team then just river skills. Wildwater hires guides with leadership abilities, positive attitudes, and good work ethic that also possess competent river skills and the ability to communicate effectively with all types of people, on and off the river. Washington State requires guides to be at least 18 years old, have completed a basic swift water rescue course, and have a current certification for First Aid/CPR (not required to participate in guide training). To be considered for full time work with Wildwater River Guides we require guides to hold a current certification in Swiftwater Rescue.

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