Full Immersion Whitewater Kayaking Weekend

Full Immersion Whitewater Kayaking Weekend

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Full Immersion Whitewater Kayaking Weekend with Tumalo Creek! The Full Immersion Kayaking Weekend is a two and a half day introductory progression series to whitewater and a great launching point for the aspiring life-long kayaker. Participants will learn safety techniques, basic paddle strokes, how to read swift water, avoid hazards and utilize boat control while enjoying the company and encouragement of other novice course mates and expert Tumalo Creek guides. Full Immersion is suggested as a course for visitors and locals looking to challenge themselves and gain whitewater skills.

Tumalo Creek guides are American Canoe Association (ACA) certified and have been guiding on the Deschutes and Mckenzie for decades.

Note: Please call the shop directly for reservations occurring 24 hours or less from class start date, 541.317.9407. Minimum enrollment needs can periodically result in course rescheduling.

Where: Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe pool, the Deschutes and Mckenzie Rivers, day 1 meet at 805 SW Industrial Way, Suite 6, Bend OR 97702.

What (Day 1): The course begins at Tumalo Creek Friday evening from 5:30-8 p.m. in the pool behind the shop. We will discuss boats, proper fit, spray skirts, paddles, helmets and safety equipment and be introduced to basic paddle strokes and essential safety techniques.

What (Day 2): On Saturday, from 9-4pm, the class will move onto the gentle rapids of the Deschutes River where boat control and critical paddle skills will be introduced. Boaters will also begin to develop a knowledge of how to “read” moving water and how to identify and safely negotiate river features like rocks, wood and rapids.

What (Day 3): On Sunday, from 9-6pm, the class will transfer their developing skills to a white water river running a Class II+ section on the McKenzie River near Blue River, Oregon. For a more in depth description see the ‘about’ tab. 

Cost: $245 for a 2 and 1/2 day course including rental gear

Dates: Spring, summer and fall, alternating weekends, Friday evenings – Sunday.

Tumalo Creek provides:

  • kayak
  • skirt
  • paddle
  • helmet
  • pfd
  • immersion equipment (upon request)
  • transportation
  • instruction

Participant provides:

  • wetsuit booties, or river shoes
  • synthetic or wool socks
  • sunglasses with retainers
  • sunscreen and lip balm
  • synthetic insulating layers
  • swimsuit
  • quick drying top and bottoms
  • water bottle
  • towel and change of clothes for after class
  • high energy snacks and lunch

Gear required for this trip is available for purchase at Tumalo Creek and other local retailers.

The Deschutes River

The Deschutes River is historically one of the most stable terrestrial water systems in the nation. Because of it’s steady flow, the Deschutes has served as a thoroughfare and consistent resource source for flora, fauna and humans a like. Chinook, Northern Piute, fur trappers, early pioneers and many other peoples first called the river flowing north at the base of the East Cascades Towornehiooks and then Rivière des Chutes, meaning ‘river of the falls’ in French.  

Flowing from Little Lava Lake in the Cascade Lakes above Crane Prairie Reservoir, The Deschutes winds its way north through several iconic stretches before outletting into The Columbia River, the topographic feature demarcating the border for much of Oregon and Washington.

Though the channel has been re-located by basaltic lava flows numerous times over the last 80,000 years, a diversity of riparian habitats from dry and arid to lush and green spatter the banks of The Deschutes. These ecosystems house a variety of species easily seen from paddlecrafts during tours. Oregon Spotted Frogs, Blue Herring, the Red Winged Blackbird, Trout, timber tigers (chip-monks), muscrats, beavers, river otters, deer and many other distinct types of bird and fish.

Tumalo Creek provides tours and self-guided rental opportunities for many of these scenic and historic sections. Wickiup Reservoir and river stretches 9 miles south can be paddled via The Upper Deschutes River Kayak Tour, and downstream, south of Benham and Dillon Falls, Slough Camp can be paddled via the Half-Day Deschutes River Kayak Tour. Farewell Bend Park and river stretches through The Old Mill District to the new Whitewater Park are paddled during Tumalo Creek’s Basics Skills (kayak or paddleboard course) or self-guided during a float tube trip. Further down river, Drake Park and Mirror Pond can also be visited via a float tube, kayak or paddleboard rental.

The McKenzie River

The Mckenzie River, named for the Scottish Canadian fur trader Donald Mckenzie, is a 90 mile primary tributary of the Willamette River. Draining a section of the west Cascades east of Eugene, The Mckenzie River flows from Clear Lake which is fed in turn by Ikenick Creek, Fish Lake Creek and further upstream, Hackleman Creek.

Topher Robertson, Program Director’s notes on paddling the Mackenzie:

Put in: Forest Glen Boat Ramp

Take out: Silver Creek

Class: I-II+

Length: 6mi

Lunch Spot: Fin Rock

Named Rapids: Screamer AKA Mom’s Pies, Clover Point

The stretch run for Full Immersion Whitewater Kayaking Classes and Women’s Whitewater Weekend has many class I and II rapids though formal names aren’t often used.

The run begins at Forest Glen Boat Ramp just upriver from the confluence of Blue River. The day starts easy with only a few class I riffles before lunch at Fin Rock. This section provides a great warm up for beginning paddlers.

Our lunch spot at Fin Rock presents the first optional challenge, Johns Swimming Hole. There is a wonderful defined eddy on river right formed by Fin Rock. Below this eddy is a large pool making recoveries easy and swims manageable. Guests can test their skills by peeling in and out of the strong eddy here.

After lunch the frequency and difficulty of rapids increase. Two fun boulder gardens allow participants to identify routs, maneuver obstacles, and eddy hop from rock to rock. Shortly after the boulder gardens participants will encounter the most difficult rapid of the section, Screamer AKA Mom’s Pies (named after the old pie shop across the street). Screamer AKA Mom’s Pies is a class II-II+ wave train large enough that paddlers disappear from site while in the troughs. Clover point, a great surf spot and recovery area, is located immediately down river. We usually spend some time here playing around and trying to surf.

The remainder of the trip is fairly mild with only a few additional class I-II wave trains. Eagle rock may be a point of interest as its named after the eagles and raptors that nest there. The course will conclude at Silver Creek, a nice developed boat ramp with restrooms (pit toilet).