01690 720214

Introduction to White Water Kayaking

Course Overview

A week for kayakers who have decided to specialise in white water or for white water paddlers looking to build confidence and control by refining their white water technique.
Our aim is to refine your existing paddling skills and coach you in more advanced techniques like breaking in and out, ferry gliding, surfing standing waves and small stoppers. River reading, rescue and rolling will be an integral part of the course. A week of grade II and easy grade III water.

Experience Required

Confident flat water paddler with the ability to manoeuvre your craft with ease, able to perform a confident and controlled capsize.

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who is it for?

This course is designed for paddlers who want to make the exciting step from flat water to fast moving white water.  You should already be a competent paddler on flat water and be able to paddle in a straight line and turn in control.  If you have little or no paddling experience you should consider coming on our Introduction to Kayaking course.  You should also be physically fit.

Course Content

The week starts with consolidation of your existing skills, making use of our heated training pool and local venues.  After an induction session, students may use the training pool without staff supervision for extra practice during any spare time.  Later we will travel to locations around North Wales for coaching and training on white water skills.  We intend to look at the following areas:

  • Breaking in and out, ferry-gliding, avoiding stoppers

  • Basic wave surfing techniques

  • Eskimo rolling

  • Reading white water, planning your route down a rapid

  • White water safety and rescue techniques applicable at this level

  • Trip planning and preparation

Useful Books

Kayak by William Neally
Whitewater Kayaking by Ray Rowe
White Water Safety and Rescue by Franco Ferrero

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Kayak or canoe hire
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Thin fleeces/thermals/rash vest for going under a wetsuit

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Wetsuit boots (or training shoes you're happy to get wet)

  • Wetsuit socks to wear with wetsuit boots/training shoes if cold

  • Warm clothes for when you get off the water

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sun screen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores free of charge so you don't need to rush out and buy them.

  • Wetsuit

  • Paddling cag

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Dry bag

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

Our equipment stores stock wetsuits socks which you can purchase if you find you need them during your course

Customer Reviews For This Course

Fantastic White Water Week

Ric Davies

Having had a bad experience, I needed to rebuild confidence on moving water. This course really did the trick. My coach, Colin, really took on board my previous confidence crash and worked hard to push me at a rate I was happy with. Lots of encouragement and positive feedback, meant after two days my confidence was returning and I was enjoying kayaking again. By the end of the week I was feeling really happy in the boat and confident on the drops.
Great catering and accommodation. Thanks Colin, thanks PYB, I will be back.


Chris Gipson

Excellent course. Chris and Colin adapted the programme to our families specific needs. Finished on a high with a river trip on the Lower Tryweryn. Great family time had by all. Only down side was the rolling pool closed.

Spike my coach was excellent

Joseph Wood-Heath

All, PYB is a fantastic centre which encompasses all outdoor pursuit madness. Spike my coach was simply brilliant, extremely patient with an ability to switch tactics when I was simply not getting the idea! Coupled with lots of humorous advice when required. I had previous experience all of which was on flat water, which did not matter in the slightest. I was amazed by my progression during the week, from the first day of basically consolidating my skills (or ironing out the bad habits) on the lake to learning the techniques of rolling in the bespoke rolling pool. Then being unleashed on the River Dee - to progress, forget what I have learnt, get wet and learn it again! All under the friendly and watchful supervision of Spike. Food was great, filling and wholesome. The bar forms the hub for all the courses to relax and unwind in, the bar staff are very friendly and well versed in introducing everybody. Already planning a return to PYB with my club to learn, play get wet (repeat) and enjoy with the club. I cannot recommend PYB and Spike highly enough. Thank you so, so very much.


Jane Smedley

This is a great course if you like kayaking and want to try the white water. It's scary at first but the Coaches we had (Andy and James) were very good and helped us face our fears.
The lads were very skilled both in the watercraft and working with a group of individuals to help them achieve their own goals. Bags of enthusiasm - GREAT FUN!
Would highly recommend this course and the centre. Food was great and plentiful. Rooms basic but comfortable.
Have a go you won't regret it.

Awesome weekend

Dan long

Quality two days spent learning to paddle white water, great instructors helped us achieve more than I thought would be possible at the start. Throw in great location and value for more money, and we'll definitely be back


Helen McKeer

Brilliant, a fantastic 5 days! James Bruton's professionalism and patience as our instructor was exemplary - I cant praise him enough. Our group of varying experience and ability didn't phase him at all and he catered for all of our abilities and needs. Not to mention his cat like reflexes following and unplanned dunking mid-rapid!
I've had a great week at PYB, the introduction to white water kayaking course was just what I was after. Overall, I finished the week keen to find another white water trip - I'll definitely be back to PYB!


Jennifer Davies

As a newbe to kayaking i was a little unsure if i'd be able to attend this course. I rang Plas y Brenin for a chat & after having been asked the relevant questions about what experience I did have, we concluded I could attend. The instructors Helen Teasdale, Jake Holland & Pete Catterall are outstanding. They put there all in to every second they are with you & are very willing to share there knowledge. It was a fantastic week at the brenin, food was awesome, room & facility's are great. Can't wait to go back.

Brilliant Weekend on the Water

Andrew Baker

A fantastic course tailored especially for Euxton Canoe Club. Both the instructors Glen and Andy brought different but very complementary skills to the weekend.

PYB is a fantastic facility, the pleasant staff, good food were only surpassed by the brenin brewery beers.

Thank you to everyone concern with giving us a weekend to remember for years.

A brilliant full on weekend

Roy Baxendale

Booked a weekend at Plas y Brenin for more experience on white water kayaking, and I can say that I was definitely not disappointed, the coaches were great, I got Andy and he was very good ,he gave us plenty of time to develop our strokes that we were very rusty on, after a few hours we were off and I can say I am glad I got that tuition before hand ,the weekend was absolutely great ,we had great thrills and plenty of spills, plenty of banter on the journey to the river, and very knowledgeable coaches.all in all a super weekend and well worth the cost.

Thanks guys, and will definitely see you all again.

Does exactly what it says on the tin!


I came to this course with no real experience of paddling moving water having been lake bound for 12 months. Pete, Chris and Colin the coaches quickly got their heads around the skills of the group and importantly our appetite to push ourselves (or not) and led us for 5 days of tuition and increasingly complex water until the entire group was happily running local grade 3 rivers.

It was amazing how quickly and easily their coaching increased our skills and confidence with just the right level of "stretch".

I'd recommend this course to anyone interested in moving from still or flat water paddling onto more playful rivers. The tuition, equipment and facilities are all really top notch.

We were told reviews with swearing would be edited

Harry Douglass

I had my eye on this course for several years, the opportunity arose so I made the journey alone. I didnt know what to expect but was anxious to avoid just bobbing on the water. The pace and variety was good, my course mates were of a similar standard and the coaching was excellent. We were made to feel very welcome, each day was packed, I was challenged and the food was bloody superb. Would recommend to everyone.

A very, very impressive course

Elisabeth and Jason

Excellent tuition throughout the week, very good standard of food and impressed with the quality of the equipment available for use.

Overall, a highly recommended course.

Had a great week and we will definitely be back!

Instructor makes all the difference!


I highly recommend our instructor, Glen Rostock. He is very patient, encouraging and intuitive.

I was more nervous than I expected to be at the start of the course, but by the end of the week I did not want to get out of the boat and look forward to doing more white water paddling in the future.


Mike Hendry

Great fun, and very instructive. The course did just what it said on the tin and was as an excellent introduction to white water.

The skills are so useful that I'd strongly recommend the course to anyone wanting to develop their all round kayaking techniques and skills, and not just those of us wanting to see what white water is about.


Angela Burrows

Had a thoroughly enjoyable five days on this course. As a middle-aged woman who has only recently taken up padddling, I had some concerns that I would be out of my depth (no pun intended)! Yes, if you wish to be 'pushed' you will be, but I walked around the sections that looked too daunting, and didn't feel that I was a burden to the others on the course. The instructors are top rate and want everybody to get a lot out of the experience. Their enjoyment of what they do, and willingness to share their knowledge is obvious. The location of Plas Y Brenin and it's facilities are second to none, with great food and good company. I'm already looking at courses for 2012 - so many excellent activities to try!

Great Confidence Booster

John Russell

A thoroughly enjoyable week!
Our coaches were extremely friendly and improved everyone in the group amazingly quickly. I had a small amount of moving water experience, and Gaz and Sally helped me to transfer my flat-water skills onto whitewater, and made it great fun in the process. We got to know the Dee very well, but I was impressed how the instructors were able to change what we did every day. The most fun had during the week was running ' Serpent's Tail' where we made friends with some rocks!

The only thing better than the coaching was the Tea & Cake!
Every day, the caterers came out with masterpieces of cakey-ness.
The best millionare's shortbread I have ever tasted came from PYB!

I could recommend this course to anyone looking to move onto their first whitewater rivers, the coaches and gear are fantastic, the food is brilliant, the rooms are amazing value and very comfortable, the facilities are second-to-none, and the view from the bar is just spectacular.

Thank you to Gaz Davies and Sally Ozanne for an action-packed week, Hope to see you on the water!

I hope to come back to PYB soon, you see, i'm addicted to the Cake!

Excellent Course

Neil Thompson

Chris judged our abilities well and knew how far to push us each day. Some days it seemed he was pushing too hard but he was right, we were capable of doing it, we just lacked confidence.

One of the best experiences in my life!

Szymon Czaja

I had an amazing 5 days on the Introduction to WW Kayaking under the watchful eye of Spike Green.
Firstly,the facilities exceeded my expectations,big rooms,friendly atmosphere,good food(not to mention the famous cakes!), excellent kayaks and equipment and all this in the heart of Snowdonia.
Most important of all,the quality of coaching was at the highest possible level with Spike tailoring the days of the course to our abilities,being friendly and professional at the same time.I couldn't believe the progress I made ,especially that first day was a bit challenging for me,as it was my first contact with moving water.But from day two we were all able to transfer new skills into practice and finished each day with huge grins on our faces.

We got really lucky with the weather and water levels, run three different rivers,the highlight for me was the day on the Llugwy with a section of adrenaline pumping grade 3 and spent some time in the pool working on the roll.

So if you're considering booking a kayaking course,do it with PYB, you won't believe the progress you'll make. I can't wait to go back!

An excellent week of white water

Ben Tichband

I had an excellent week on the Introduction to White Water Kayaking, led by Spike Green.

My previous experience was a reasonable amount of flat water paddling, but very little paddling on moving water.

Having made the long trip up to PYB on the sunday night I was fresh and ready to go on the first day. I was very impressed by the facilities at the site. I took my own kit but most of the group borrowed kit from the centre, which seemed to be of a very high quality - a great chance to try a range of boats before commiting to buy one.

Day 1

We went to the Dee at Llangollen and learnt the basics of moving water paddling, breaking into and out of the flow. We then ran our first grade two rapids. We spent the evening in the rolling pool. Spike spent a good amount of time assessing our ability and tailored the coaching throughout the rest of the week appriopiately.

Day 2

We went back to the Dee and developed the skills from the previous day running more of the rapids on the site.

Day 3

There was significantly more water so we started a trip at the centre and paddled the Llugwy with a combination of skills coaching and grade 1 and grade 2 rapids. We finished the day running our first grade 3. We spent the evening back in the Pool working on the roll.

Day 4

Water levels had dropped around the centre so we went back to the Dee, where water levels were much higher than on the first two days making it feel like a different place. We went on more of a trip paddling a circuit up a canel and back down the Dee into Llangollen.

Day 5

We went to the Tryweryn and had an excellent day running some longer grade 2 rapids, and tidying up our skills on faster flowing water. I think we were all impressed by how much we had developed from day 1.

Overall I left the week eagar to find another whitewater trip and looking forward to coming to PYB again!

Another superb week and some more kayaking confidence!

Cara Chapman

This was a fantastic week! The course was led by Adam Harmer, who was excellent as ever (this was my second course at PYB with him) and there were four of us on the course.

We struggled with water levels, i.e. there wasn't any, so spent a lot of time at the same venue. However, Adam kept it interesting and we even ventured into the world of rescue techniques for a day which was fantastically helpful.

My main objective for the course was to develop my confidence on white water as I am mainly confined to flat water locally and end up freaking out when I find moving water. This course completely delivered on that and by the end of the week, I was actually seriously contemplating running some pretty interesting drops!

The techniques we built up over the week were also put into practice and the pinnacle for me was successfully running the Serpent's Tail on the River Dee which if you had presented me with it on the first day would have had me running for the hills!

PYB never ceases to amaze me: not only excellent coaching, but the facilities are second to none and that place seems to run like clockwork. Excellent value for money.

I can't wait to go back to the Brenin for more! Keep up the good work guys!

Intro to WW Kayaking - great week

Geoff Mizen

PYB accomodation and food excellent - amazing value for money. Kit available for use very good condition and of excellent quality - drying rooms incredible - want one at home! Staff excellent and evening lectures a real bonus. Really can't think of what I could reasonably ask for in terms of improvement.

The course itself was well positioned - all gained in confidence and learnt a lot despite a wide range of abilities and experience. Adam, the course coach, worked hard to ensure all enjoyed and felt comfortable as they learnt.

PYB is a quite extraordinary place - we hope to return. Thanks for an excellent week.

Boating with PYB

Al Hardman

Day 1 we got onto the water below the bridge at the centre (as the the lake was frozen) and I was impressed with the amount of kit we had to choose from. Loel lent me a boat that he thought I needed for the week and it was just right. He went on to challenge alot of misconceptions we the group had about basic paddling skills and there was alot of head scratching and I spose so comments. We spent the whole day either on the water or in the pool

Day 2 we went to JJs in Llangollen with Loel and we transferred what we learnt from the day before. It all made sense and I felt alot happier in a new boat with new skills. Last time I'd been to JJs i'd had a crap time, it were my own fault, but now I could feel inspiration for UK paddling coming back to me, Big smiles

Day 3 Pete, Lou and Chris took over from where Loel left off and in their own style kept up the already high level we were performing at. Their sense of humour was well apreciated and the coaching was excellent. In the evening we spent some time in the pool trying different boats and generally exhausting ourselves

Day 4 JJ's again and the excellent coaching continued with more emphasis put on our individual skills and techniques. We used all that was on offer at JJ's. Pete and Chris continued to coach us and get the best out of us. We were told not to use the pool and have a beer instead : )
Day 5 JJ's . Even though we'd spent every day at JJs for this course we all felt we'd impoved our boating. Water levels were low all week and as the snow melted on the last day they started to rise. We had a fun last day and everyone completed the course happy with their new skills

A real confidence booster

Mark George

Thanks to the patience of our coach Ben Lawes, a group of five white water beginners were transformed into (almost) competent grade III paddlers. By the end of the week we were confident to try surfing waves and stoppers that only a few days earlier would have sent us swimming downstream upside down. As the only member of the group that had never rolled (deliberately!) before, I didn't quite manage to nail my roll in the pool, but the others were happily rolling out on the river - most of the time. P-Y-B provides an excellent environment for learning new skills - highly recommended.

Another excellent job

Marcus Saban

An excellent job by the skillful, knowledgeable and hardworking Adam, Karl, Helen and Ann, who took a group with only quite basic moving water skills (me especially) and gave us the tools to negotiate rapids and water features with confidence and skill. If there's anything you can't quite seem to get during the week no matter how hard you try, don't worry, the effects of the coaching seem continue after you've left. Give it a week or two, and you'll find yourself doing it. It's as if it keeps on working after you've gone home.

I've been to the Brenin loads of times now, and never stop recommending it.

Great course, great coach.

Kim Sweet

Great course lead by great coach Adam Harmer - five on the course - all of us ending the week feeling we had achieved our best. All parts of the course very carefully thought through and planned to make sure we all started each day wanting to learn more. Highly recommended if you are interested in developing skills which will build your confidence and paddling ability on all kinds of moving water.

So Professional!

David Searle

A fantastic 5 days! Adam Harmer's professionalism & patience as our instructor was exemplary. By progressively building both skills & confidence, he ensured that the group enjoyed running sections of river that we would have all been too afraid to venture anywhere near @ the beginning of the week.

I would highly recommend this course to any paddler who is looking to experience white water & who is largely confined to flat water or Grade 1 @ their home club.

All in all, great variety, great fun & a great adreneline rush.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

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