Paddling Classes

Higher Pursuits offers both kayak classes and canoeing classes at the basic and advanced levels. Our instructors are Level 2 certified Kayak Instructors and Level 3 certified Canoe Instructors with the American Canoe Association and have 20+ years of paddling and teaching experience.

Higher Pursuits also offers special programs for Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Amercian Heritage Groups. We can teach badge requirements for both kayaking and canoeing.

ACA Level 1 kayak class – in the Pool

Jump start your paddling season.

Learn to kayak or improve your kayaking skills this winter while dreaming of warm summer paddling. This class is entirely indoors and will utilize the pool at Muletown Rec in Columbia, TN to practice water skills.

Description: This is an indoor class utilizing the pool at Muletown Rec in Columbia, TN. The first half of the session is classroom based and will cover these and other topics: PFDs (lifejackets), safety equipment, weather/water considerations, and trip planning.

The second half of the session is in the pool with a focus on strokes and self-rescue. Enjoy the clean, clear water and controlled environment to practice these kayaking skills.

All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Details and What to Bring:

Length of Class: 6 to 7 hours (All pool sessions begin at 9 am and end around 3 pm)

Cost of Class: $100 per person. This includes classroom instruction, kayaks for the pool session, use of the pool for the class, and pool instruction. Lunch is not provided.

What to Bring:

  • For the classroom session wear comfortable, casual clothes
  • For the pool session dress to get wet such as a swimsuit, swim trunks, or shorts. 
  • We will have lifejackets for the pool; the pool chemicals can be hard on lifejackets so we will have life jackets available.
  • Towel
  • Lunch, snacks, water
  • Clothes to change into after the pool session and toiletries if you want to shower after the pool session.

What to Expect: The pool session is physically active. You should plan to get in the water; however, we use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are uncomfortable or incapable of practicing a certain skill just let your instructor know. Our instructors are Level 2 certified Kayak Instructors with the American Canoe Association.
Minimum Class size: four participants

Minimum Age Requirement: 10 years old and up

Location: Muletown Rec, 1446 Oak Springs Dr, Columbia, TN 38401

Weather conditions: If there is inclement weather that prevents Muletown Rec from opening the day of the class, we will contact participants via text message as soon as that decision is made. The Higher Pursuits staff will contact you at the number provided during your registration.

Pool Class Dates for 2024

  • February 17 (Saturday)
  • February 18 (Sunday)
  • March 9 (Saturday)
  • March 10 (Sunday)
  • March 16 (Saturday)
  • March 17 (Sunday)

Basic Kayaking Class – Level 1

Want to get your family into kayaking but don’t know where to start? Want to learn a new sport that gets you outside, exploring and exercising, but need help learning how to kayak? Or maybe you own a kayak and want to improve your skills and feel more confident?

Join us for our Basic Kayaking class – Level 1 and feel more confident on the water. This class is intended for people new to kayaking or paddlers who want to improve their kayaking skills, on flat water. This class will begin with a land-based topics such as kayaking basics; planning a trip; overview of paddles, PFDs, and kayaks; and other safety topics. The class will then move to the on-water session where the group will work on paddling skills, entry and exit from a kayak, basic kayak strokes (Forward, reverse, turning), self-rescue, and how to empty a kayak. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Our lead instructor discussing with class techniques for emptying water from a kayak and how to get back into a kayak from the water.

Details and What to Bring:

Length of Class: 6 to 7 hours (Weekday classes are 9 am to 2 pm, weekend classes are 8 am to 1 pm)

Cost of Class: $75 per person. Class registration includes use of kayak for the class, classroom instruction and on water instruction.  Lunch is not provided.

Minimum Class size: four participants

Minimum Age Requirement: 10 years old and up

What to Bring: Bring lunch, snacks, water, and any other hydrating beverages you would like.  Wear shoes or sandals that will stay on your feet and can get wet. Plan clothing for the weather of the day (rainy, colder, sunny, hot). A change of clothing for the end of the day is nice but not required.

What to Expect: All classes include use of a kayak.  You are welcome to bring a boat of your own if you prefer to practice with the specific boat you own. Classes begin with a land-based session to discuss key topics. The class will then move to the on-water session where the group will work on the paddling skills. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Weather and water conditions: All Kayaking Classes are dependent on the weather, if we are not going to be able to conduct your class due to high water conditions or adverse weather conditions we will text or call before the class.

Class Dates for 2024

  • May 4
  • May 5
  • May 11
  • May 29
  • June 5
  • June 8
  • June 28

Advanced Kayaking Class – Level 2

Join us for our Advanced Kayaking class – Level 2. This class is intended for those that have already completed a Level 1 class (however it is not a requirement) and want to take their paddling skills to the next level.

The focus of the Level 2 kayaking class is on paddling skills, but the class will begin with a land-based session to cover key topics. The on-water portion of the class will include a review of basic paddling strokes, then the group will learn about Eddy turns, ferrying and sculling strokes.  The group will also discuss river hazards and how to navigate those hazards. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Kayak Class practicing how to get back into a kayak from the water.

Details and What to Bring:

Length of Class: 6 to 7 hours (Weekday classes are 9 am to 2 pm, weekend classes are 8 am to 1 pm)

Cost of Class: $75 per person. Class registration includes use of kayak for the class, classroom instruction and on water instruction.  Lunch is not provided.

Minimum Class size: four participants

Minimum Age Requirement: 10 years old and up

What to Bring: Bring lunch, snacks, water, and any other hydrating beverages you would like.  Wear shoes or sandals that will stay on your feet and can get wet. Plan clothing for the weather of the day (rainy, colder, sunny, hot). A change of clothing for the end of the day is nice but not required.

What to Expect: All classes include use of a kayak.  You are welcome to bring a boat of your own if you prefer to practice with the specific boat you own. Classes begin with a land-based session to discuss key topics. The class will then move to the on-water session where the group will work on the paddling skills. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Weather and water conditions: All Kayaking Classes are dependent on the weather, if we are not going to be able to conduct your class due to high water conditions or adverse weather conditions we will text or call before the class.

Class Dates for 2024

  • Apr 15
  • May 12
  • May 18
  • June 6
  • June 29

Canoe Class – Learning the Lost Art of Canoeing

Ever wanted to learn how to make a canoe go where you want it to go or earn how to paddle a canoe without frustration? Would you like to feel confident enough to paddle a canoe in the Boundary Waters, the Florida Everglades, or our local rivers?

Join us for our Canoe Class – Learning the Lost Art of Canoeing and feel more confident on the water. This class is intended for people new to canoeing or paddlers who want to improve their canoeing skills. Although canoeing can be more challenging than kayaking there is a grace and beauty to learning how to paddle a canoe.

This class will begin with a land-based topics then moves to the on-water session where the group will work on paddling skills, entry and exit from a canoe, basic canoe strokes (Forward, reverse, turning), self-rescue, and how to empty a canoe. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Learning how to control a canoe while paddling by yourself. Solo paddling can boost your confidence and refine your paddling strokes.

Details and What to Bring:

Length of Class: 6 to 7 hours (Weekday classes are 9 am to 2 pm, weekend classes are 8 am to 1 pm)

Cost of Class: $75 per person. Class registration includes use of canoe for the class, classroom instruction and on water instruction.  Lunch is not provided.

Minimum Class size: four participants

Minimum Age Requirement: 12 years old and up

What to Bring: Bring lunch, snacks, water, and any other hydrating beverages you would like.  Wear shoes or sandals that will stay on your feet and can get wet. Plan clothing for the weather of the day (rainy, colder, sunny, hot). A change of clothing for the end of the day is nice but not required.

What to Expect: All classes include use of a canoe.  You are welcome to bring a boat of your own if you prefer to practice with the specific boat you own. Classes begin with a land-based session to discuss key topics. The class will then move to the on-water session where the group will work on the paddling skills. All our classes use a challenge by choice philosophy so if you are not comfortable getting in the water or practicing a particular skill just let your instructor know.

Weather and water conditions: All classes are dependent on the weather, if we are not going to be able to conduct your class due to high water conditions or adverse weather conditions we will text or call before the class.

Class Dates for 2024

  • May 31
  • Jun 1

Our canoe instructors are Level III certified Canoe Instructors with the American Canoe Association and have 20+ years of paddling and teaching experience.


Outdoor Seminars

This year we are adding a series of outdoor classes and seminars that provide information on paddling and outdoor skills. These seminars will focus on topics such as paddling during many seasons, how to read river features, how to read the river gauges, practical map and compass skills and basic camping skills and if you have been thinking about buying a kayak, join us for our in-depth class on buying a kayak, paddle and PFD.

Each outdoor seminar is 2 to 3 hours in length and is taught at the Higher Pursuits Canoe base at our educational shelter.

Outdoor classes on paddling

Reading the River and Gauges, Planning A Trip

Description: There are an amazing number of diverse rivers in Tennessee that are fun to explore and paddle, but the hardest part is figuring out how to plan you trip and then safely navigating an unknown river or lake. This seminar will focus on how to plan your trip and prepare for your next paddling adventure. We will look at how the US Geological system of river gauges work and how to interpret those gauges. Finally, there will be an in-depth discussion on common river features/hazards, how to read those features and the best way to navigate each type.

Length of Class: 2 to 3 hours

Cost of Class: Adults are $20 per person. Children 10 and younger attend for free (limit one child per paying customer)

What to Bring: This workshop is outside so come dressed for the weather (rainy, cold, hot, sunny)

Sign up for a Seminar