Waimakariri Gorge: First-Timer's Course

Waimakariri Gorge: First-Timer's Course

Regular price $949.00 Sale price$899.00 Save $50.00
Includes GST

Early-bird special ends March 5, 2024

Suitable for Coast to Coast kayakers who have completed their grade 2 certification, but not paddled the Waimakariri Gorge yet, this 3-day course will provide you with 2 days of skills coaching, followed by a guided trip through the Gorge on day 3.

  • Develop your multisport kayaking skills
  • Experience the Waimakariri Gorge
  • Prepare for your first Coast to Coast race
  • 3 left available
  • Please contact us to join the waitlist

This training program runs regardless of the weather, making it a great option for travelling athletes. If adverse weather or river conditions prevent a session or trip from running to the original plan, an alternative will be provided at another nearby location. No refunds will be offered due to changes in programming.

Should you need to reschedule your booking for any reason, you can do so based on the following criteria: (1) If the rescheduling is completed more than 21 days before your course, all payments made including your initial 25% deposit will be transferred to the new booking. (2) If the rescheduling is completed between 21 and 14 days before your course starts all payments made excluding your initial 25% deposit will be transferred to the new booking. (3) Rescheduling is not possible less than 14 days before the course and will be treated as a cancellation.

Doing Coast to Coast, but haven't paddled the Waimakariri Gorge yet?

  • Are you training towards your first Coast to Coast race?
  • Have you recently got your grade 2 certificate, or plan to have one soon?
  • Are you feeling apprehensive about kayaking the Gorge for the first time?

On Canterbury Kayaking's 3-day Waimakariri Gorge: First-Timer's Course, you’ll receive the skills coaching, preparation, and support you need to enjoy a safe and positive first experience through the Waimakariri Gorge.

Make your first Gorge trip a safe and successful one.

Most Coast to Coast athletes understand the importance of paddling the Waimakariri River before the race, but many end up falling out multiple times during their first trip through the Gorge. Without the proper preparation and guidance, kayaking the Gorge for the first time can feel intimidating and dangerous.

During this 3-day course, you’ll be able to build up to the Gorge gradually, refining your skills on easier water over two days first. On the third and final day, you’ll have the opportunity to paddle the Waimakariri Gorge for the first time with the safety support of an experienced guide who knows the river and your paddling ability.

Once you've successfully paddled through the Waimakariri Gorge, you'll be able to relax knowing you have made it down the river and you’ll feel much more prepared for your first Coast to Coast race.

How It Works

  • Book your dates at the top of this page ↑
  •  Enjoy paddling the Waimakariri Gorge
  •  Know your Coast to Coast training is on track

Meet Your Guide

Sam Milne is the most experienced kayak guide on the Waimakariri River and the founder of Canterbury Kayaking. Through helping over 1,000 athletes prepare for the Coast to Coast, Sam has learned that paddling the Gorge before the race gives competitors a huge advantage.

Over the years, Sam has found that single-day Gorge trips do not provide first-timers with a process conducive to success. If he continued to rush first-timers down in a single day, he knew that many paddlers would have a stressful and potentially unsafe first experience with the Gorge.

That’s why Sam created a 3-day plan to support paddlers through their first Gorge trip in the best possible way. In this course, you’ll receive skills coaching to help you feel ready for the bluffs, boils, and wave trains, then guidance down the river to ensure your first Gorge trip is safe and enjoyable.

After you complete Canterbury Kayaking's Waimakariri Gorge: First-Timer’s Course, you’ll have had positive and safe experience paddling the Gorge, allowing you to continue training towards the Coast to Coast with confidence.

What do I get with the course?

2 days of skills preparation with Sam Milne, the Waimakariri River's most experienced kayak guide.
1 day guided trip through the Waimakariri Gorge
Pre-Gorge skills assessement and advice on kayak choice
Transport and shuttle for the Gorge day
Exclusive discount on products from our gear shop
Option to hire a boat, paddle, spray skirt, PFD and helmet


    Yes. If you are unable to pay in full at the time of booking, please enter the discount code DEPOSIT during checkout to reserve your spot with just a 25% deposit. We will invoice you for the balance, which will be due 21 days before your course.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Kathmandu Coast to Coast

    Canterbury Kayaking is an approved training provider, officially recommended by the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.


    Our safety systems have been independently audited and certified by AdventureMark.

    NZOIA Qualified Guides

    All our guides have been formally assessed for both their technical ability and their safety management skills.