Chicago Whitewater Association

Chicago Whitewater Association beginner trips



2018 Beginner Trip Schedule is set. Go to EVENTS to register participate in  trips: You must be a CWA member! ($15 per year).  A parent must accompany anyone under 18 on the trip, the cost for kids 12 and under is $15 per trip. The cost for age 13 and over is $30 per trip.  You can pay all these fees online, or you can mail a check to the treasurer, Tom Costello. His mailing address is on the site. Each trip is listed in the events on this sight. 

To mail in your payment: send to Tom Costello 1160 E Brighton Rd., Naperville, IL 60563

To pay online: register for the class and you will be prompted to pay via PayPal or create an invoice to be paid later

If you are a current ACA member the cost is $30. If you select to have an event (one or two days depending on the event) ACA membership select the appropriate button and it will add $5 for the ACA event membership. 

Also print out and bring along the ACA waiver (if you submitted it online). If you are a member of the ACA, there is no charge, but you must include your ACA number and sign and turn in this form. If you are not an ACA member, you must pay a $5 event fee (or become a full member, which you can do through the CWA and you will get a discount), which you can pay for when you pay for the trip (see above).



CWA ACA membership forms 2014.pdf

This trips are listed in the events sections of our site. Please contact the instructor for additional information and with any questions. 

What you will need that day:

  • ·      Boat
  • ·      Float bags for the boat
  • ·      Paddle
  • ·      Spray skirt
  • ·      PFD (life vest)
  • ·      Helmet (for paddling, not for bicycling)
  • ·      Wetsuit - can often be rented from local scuba shops for about $15/day
  • ·      Wicking or wool shirt beneath the wetsuit
  • ·      Splash jacket
  • ·      Wicking or wool socks in cold weather
  • ·      Water shoes without laces ( suitable to swim in and walk on wet rocks)
  • ·      Water bottle
  • ·      Lunch
  • ·      Snacks


What you can potentially rent and from whom

The Chicago Whitewater Association can provide you with a boat, flotation, paddle and skirt, helmet and PFD if you arrange this in advance. The cost is free for members and $10 for non-members. If using a boat from the Club fleet, you are responsible for arranging transport of them to and from the venue yourself.

Jeff Brown, who owns the Yak Shack (located at the Marge Cline Whitewater Park in Yorkville) can rent boats, flotation, paddles, skirts, wetsuits, splash jackets, PDFs (life vests) and helmets. We cannot promise what boat you will get from him, but he has a decent selection. Call him in advance to ensure that he sets aside the items you need! 630.479.8074. He is at the park, so you don't have to transport anything. Boat, flotation, paddle and skirt are $30; wetsuit, PFD and helmet are $15.

Questions? First look online and see if you find the answers:

Upcoming events

    • 01/01/2016
    • 12/31/2020
    • everywhere

    You can start a new ACA Membership or renew your ACA membership using this page. For new ACA memberships you MUST download the waiver, sign it and return it to Tom Costello. If paying by PayPal, please create an invoice and continue with the payment process via PayPal. If you'd like to pay via cash or check, create an invoice and then send your payment to: Chicago Whitewater Association, 1160 Brighton Rd, Naperville, IL 60563


    • 01/03/2018
    • 12/05/2018
    • 12 sessions
    • 1455 W Lake St, Addison, IL 60101-1870

    The CWA meets the first Wednesday of the month at Aurelio's Pizza on Lake Street in Addison. Minutes and finances can be found on this website when logged in as a member.

    A few people come early for dinner. The meeting starts at 7:30.

    • 04/21/2018
    • 9:00 AM
    • 04/22/2018
    • 4:00 PM
    • Marge Cline Whitewater Course
    • 10
    Registration is closed

    This is a 2 day intro to whitewater kayaking lesson led by Tom Costello. This is a class I, II river that will be the introductory to beginner paddlers.  Focus will be on, paddling gear and equipment, paddle strokes and control, river reading, boat control, strokes, catching and leaving eddies, surfing if levels permit, self  and assisted rescue techniques.

    No experience necessary. CWA can supply boats and gear if you are a member. Be prepared for long days outside and the weather and water can be cold, so appropriate clothing is necessary. Bring a towel and lunch. Contact the instructor for additional information and instructions.

    • 04/21/2018
    • 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    • Marge Cline Whitewater Course
    • 15

    Third CWA beginner trip of the year. Led by Tom Costello. This is a class I, II river that will be the introductory to beginner paddlers.  Focus will be on, river reading, boat control, strokes, catching and leaving eddies, surfing if levels permit, self  and assisted rescue techniques.

    • 05/05/2018
    • 9:00 AM
    • 4600 Estabrook Parkway, Milwaukee, WI
    • 15
    Registration is closed

    Third CWA beginner trip of the year. Led by Pat. This is a class II river that will be the introductory to beginner paddlers. The Milwaukee River is a step up from the previous beginner trips. There are drops and large wave rapids. Focus will be on river reading, boat control, strokes, catching and leaving eddies, surfing if levels permit, self  and assisted rescue techniques.

    DIRECTIONS: Head north on route 94 towards Milwaukee get off at exit 77AUse the middle lane to turn left onto N Port Washington Road.Immediately get into the right lane (as you cross over Milwaukee river).Turn right onto W Hampton Avenue.After 0.3 mi, turn right onto Estabrook Parkway.After 0.3 mi, turn right into parking lot for Estabrook Park Biergarten.(Address is: 4600 Estabrook Park, Milwaukee)For most convenient carry to river, park in the North West corner of lot.(Use the first entrance to the lot, park in the end away from the BierGarten!). Look for vehicles with kayaks. Meet 9:30 am

    • 05/19/2018
    • 9:00 AM
    • 701-799 North 2249th Rd, Oglesby, IL
    • 12
    Registration is closed

    Wayne is leading this trip. This is a Chicago Whitewater Association (CWA) Beginner II instructional trip. Eligibility: You MUST have completed a CWA Beginner I Level Trip. Others may be considered on a case-by-case basis. The lead instructor has the ultimate authority to accept students. The "verm" is a great river. I'm watching the weather forecasts and hope to have levels between 700 scfm and 2000 scfm, although we can paddle even lower and higher levels. It's just that this is the range that offers the best learning opportunity for beginners. If the level gets too low, we may have to find an alternative or cancel. Higher flows won't be dangerous, but there won't be much in the way of teaching; many features will be washed out. We may or may not run Wildcat (make sure you do some internet searching on the Vermillion and Wildcat), depending on the conditions, the support available on the day and the demonstrated ability of the students.


    • 07/14/2018
    • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • Marge Cline Whitewater Course
    • 99

    Save the date for the 5th annual IWF!! Cardboard Regatta provided by the Yorkville Chamber on Friday evening with the Buttercup Slalom Series & Boatercross sponsored by World Kayak on Saturday. Yorkville to provide the usual rib and beer festival along with adding a carnival with rides, games and more. Bring your boat, paddling skills, family & friends for a great weekend of paddling fun in your own backyard. 9:00am to 10:00am registration. Racers meeting at 9:45am and start at 10:00am

Chicago Whitewater Association is a 501(c) non-profit organization. Chicago, Illinois

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