Beginner Development Program (BDP)

The Beginner Development Program (BDP) has been structured to drain your adrenal gland while developing your kayaking skills. You will find yourself lost in a torrent of whitewater while questioning your life choices. Whitewater kayaking is not for everyone, but if you are ready to make the move from couch surfing to kayak surfing, then we look forward to helping you embrace your inner adrenaline junkie (it’s just kind of what we’re good at.)

The program consists of four weekend trips throughout the summer on rivers of increasing difficulty. We will get you started on the Lower Kananaskis River. This is your skill development weekend teaching you the fundamentals needed for the remainder of the program. Here you will learn the joys of involuntarily swimming in glacial waters.

After completing your skills weekend, we will step it up by taking on river features like Mountain Wave, Thunder Bunny and Hollywood Hole.

Much of the equipment for the program is supplied by the UAPS (kayak, paddle, PFD, and helmet) but you will need to invest in proper kayaking clothing (wetsuit, drytop, and river footwear.) This investment will ensure you enjoy your time on the river, rather than turning blue from hypothermia.

Please note UAPS is a non-profit paddling organization with BDP programming led by volunteer certified NCCP leaders and/or instructors. To ensure continuity of our instructors, you can expect to participate in an NCCP evaluation(s) during BDP. Evaluations will consist of one of our trained leaders/instructors leading/instructing you on the scheduled river run while being evaluated by a national learning facilitator.


Class: II/II+

Duration: 8 days over 4 weekends throughout the summer

Location(s): Pincher Creek, Sundre, and Kananaskis

Equipment: You will need to invest in proper kayaking clothing including a wetsuit, drytop, and river footwear. All other kayak related equipment is available to rent for $50 (kayak, paddle, PFD, and helmet.) Student pricing available

Cost: $350 + Club Membership                    (Note: club membership is only paid once per year regardless of the number of courses taken.)

If you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed on this page, please don’t hesitate to contact our BDP Coordinator.


  • Basics Course or equivalent training (Note: equivalent training must be approved by the BDP coordinator.)
  • Whitewater Safety Talk (no cost)
  • Roll Clinic (recommended but not required)

Upcoming courses


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