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Cornell University

PE 1681: Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater kayaking

This introductory course starts out in the pool where you will learn boat control and wet exits and progresses to moving water where you will learn the dynamics of a river and basic river safety.  During the course you will practice boat handling skills including edging, bracing, rolling, and paddle strokes. Kayaking on the river will give you the opportunity to learn how to read the water and practice maneuvering across current with ferries, eddy turns, and peel outs. River destinations will be dependent on river levels. This class culminates in a weekend camping trip with two days of paddling on class II/III whitewater.

Course FeeStudents: $475
Community: $510
CU Faculty/Staff: $490
Fee Notes

All paddling equipment is included and basic camping gear is discounted (prices below).

Fill out the Fee Waiver Application to apply for a free or reduced PE course. 

AttendanceParticipation in all class sessions is required in order to receive PE credit.
PrerequisitesStrong recreational swimmer
Drop DeadlineAugust 26th
EnrollmentEnroll through Student Center or by contacting COE at 607-255-6183 or
Thursday9/5/24       7:00pm to 10:00pm
Thursday9/12/247:00pm to 10:00pm
Saturday9/14/248:00am to 6:00pm (day trip)
Thursday9/19/247:00pm to 10:00pm
Thursday9/26/247:00pm to 10:00pm (outfitting)
Fri-Sun9/27 - 9/294pm Friday to 6pm Sunday    **could be whole weekend or a day trip, depends on water flows and how far we need to travel. You must be available for the entire weekend incase we need to travel. 

Gear and Packing List 

This clothing list is intentionally specific because we want you to be safe and to enjoy your outdoor experience. It is best to be prepared for cold and wet, no matter what the weather forecast. It is better to dress with layers so that you can regulate your temperature based on your activity level and changes in the weather. We strongly recommend synthetics (thermax, capilene, bergalene and other non-cottons) or wool because these materials retain their insulating qualities when damp whereas cotton does not. Make sure that your layers are sized in such a way that you will be able to easily wear all of them at one time (inner wicking layer, middle insulating layer, outer weatherproof layer). Dressing according to these concepts will increase the quality and enjoyment of your outdoor experience.

Provided and already paid for with your Course Fee:
  • Tents & Tarps 
  • Cooking Equipment & Food 
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Paddling Gear (wetsuits, lifejacket, boat, booties, paddle jacket, paddle)
  • Sleeping Bag (3-season, synthetic fill, rated to at least 20 degrees with stuff sack)
  • Sleeping pad (thermarest, or closed cell ensolite pad) 
Available for Rent at COE Outfitting for an additional cost (fee's listed below are post tax and calculated for the weekend trip): 
  • Rain Jacket (must be waterproof and fit over other layers) - $8.10
  • Rain Pants (must be waterproof and fit over other layers) - $6.48
  • Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries) - $9.72
The full packing list (including rental items listed above):

Upper Body

  • 1-2 long underwear tops (synthetic propylene, not cotton!)
  • 2 insulation layers (expedition weight long underwear, fleece jacket/vest, or wool sweater)
  • 1 t-shirt (cotton or lightweight synthetic)
  • 1 wind jacket (optional) 
  • **1 raincoat (must be waterproof and fit over other layers) (available from COE Outfitting)

Lower Body

  • 1 pair shorts (quick drying nylon is best)
  • 1 pair long underwear bottoms (synthetic propylene, not cotton)
  • 1 pair fleece pants or long underwear bottoms
  • 1 lower body shell (quick drying nylon, wind pants, or rain pants)
  • regular underwear as needed
  • bathing suit (for wearing under wetsuit)

Head and Hands

  • 1 pair mittens or gloves & liners (fleece or wool)
  • 1 wide brim sun hat (optional)
  • 1 warm hat (fleece or wool)
  • 1 neck gaitor or scarf
  • Feet
  • 1 pair liner socks (thin, synthetic material to wear under booties- optional)
  • 2-3 pairs wool socks (thick wool or wool-blend)
  • 1 pair camp shoes (sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes, no sandals)
  • water shoes or *booties

Personal Gear

  • stuff sacks, garbage bags or Ziplocs (to organize and waterproof)
  • 1-2 bandanas
  • **1 sleeping bag (3-season, synthetic fill, rated to at least 20 degrees with stuff sack) 
  • **1 sleeping pad (thermarest, or closed cell ensolite pad) 
  • 2 1-liter water bottles (with leak-proof lids)
  • insulated mug
  • bowl (Tupperware® bowl with lid works well)
  • fork and spoon
  • flashlight or headlamp (with spare batteries and bulbs) (available from COE Outfitting)
  • day pack

Personal Maintenance Kit

  • chapstick, waterproof sunscreen
  • sunglasses (with keeper strap/croakies)
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • tampons/pads (bring Ziploc® bags to carry out)
  • contacts, solution, glasses
  • medication (adequate supply, let instructors know)
  • Optional:    pocket knife, camera, extra dry bags, notebook/journal and pencil