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 North Saskatchewan River near Rocky Mountain House. 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 running rivers with names like the Whirlpool, and taking on features like Jimbo’s Staircase, Turbocharger and Widow Maker.

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.


Class: II/III

Duration: 8 days over 4 weekends throughout the summer

Location(s): Rocky Mountain House, Jasper, 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 provided (kayak, paddle, PFD, and helmet.)

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)
  • Intro to Moving Water (no cost)
  • Roll Clinic (recommended but not required)

Upcoming courses

  • No upcoming courses


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