Chicago Whitewater Association

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


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  • 09/28/2017 8:36 AM | Tom Costello (Administrator)
  • 09/18/2017 6:06 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Sunday, Sept 17, 2017

    Twenty area Boy Scouts received their Kayaking Merit Badge thanks to CWA providing instructors and gear. CWA agreed to provide equipment including 12 boats, paddles and PFDs to 11 - 17 year old Boy Scouts. Jeff Brown (Yak Shack owner and CWA member, ) provided 10 sets of boats, paddles and PFDs also. Instruction was done by Kyle Christensen (ACA L4), Mel Holmberg and Tom Costello (ACA L4). The Kayaking Merit Badge requirements are to demonstrate safety, paddling and rescue skills. The kids were a little tentative when the first task was a wet exit. Then they took to the sport with everyone completing rescue requirements using no-float rec boats, creek, river runners, 12.5 ft tour and play boats. We thought 30% would not be able to do it with a rec boat but they all completed the requirements in 1/2 the time allowed!

    We hope to continue providing support to Boys and Girl Scouts and anyone else interested in the sport. Safety #1, Fun #2.

    Tom Costello

    CWA President

  • 07/25/2017 12:11 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Chicago Voyagers, a charity that takes at risk teens outdoors is hosting Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness First Aid Programs at the end of October in the Elgin area. I know a number of CWA members are certified and would want the opportunity to recertify, or even take the classes for the first time. The class is being taught by Wilderness Medical Associates, who I consider with NOLS, the best in the business. Here are the details: Wilderness First Aid Training
    Bob Faber

  • 07/21/2017 11:18 AM | Tom Costello (Administrator)
    The official results of the Illinois Whitewater Fest Butter Cup races are in.

    IWF Buttercup 2017 results.pdf


  • 06/13/2017 5:57 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Time to think about Slalom racing, skill building and moreā€¦

    Hi Paddlers, volunteers and spectators!!

    The 4th annual Illinois Whitewater Festival (IWF) is to be held on July 15, 2017 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The location will be at the Marge Cline Whitewater Park in downtown Yorkville, Illinois. The IWF will include slalom whitewater competition which is part of the Buttercup Slalom Series. Also, the IWF will include a Boater Cross event sponsored by World Kayak. 

    The town of Yorkville will again be sponsoring their food and beer festival along with a cardboard regatta and an apple boat sling shot event. What team of three can hit the anchored boat with a sling shot and apple! 

    Bring your boat and test your kayaking or canoeing skills against other paddlers in the Midwest.  Bring your family for a fun day and great weekend on the Fox River. The Slalom IWF race registration is $15.00 and the Boater Cross event is free.

    Same day registration is from 9:00 am to 10:00 am and pre-registration can be completed at

     Slalom racers meeting is at 9:45 am with the racing starting at 10:00 am. The Boater Cross event will start 4:30 pm. Though the events are competitive, we stress fun, safety and a great day on the river!  Prizes and raffle drawings. 

    Also volunteers needed for event day. 

    Hope to see you there. Send questions, comments or to volunteer .

    View from a IWF volunteer!

    It is just amazing to see how Yorkville Whitewater course is transformed into a slalom Buttercup race course.  I'm into my third year of learning how to whitewater and have had a blast at this event. I had no idea what a whitewater course looked like, and I didn't know that paddlers go down river through green gates and up river through red gates.

    Several days prior to the race a group of volunteers get together and start putting up the A-frames, stringing the course and setting the gates. I had no clue how to do any of this and have now done it the last 3 years. Hopefully you will consider helping the group install the gates a week ahead of time.

    It's really a club activity. The day of event I've done everything from registration to being a starter, a judge for gates and learned that the walkie talkies should not go in the water as they were not waterproof...oops! 

    More importantly it's about coming together as a club, running the gates as best as you can that day and helping out when you're not racing.  There are a number of little jobs that the organizers will be happy to teach you how to perform.  Furthermore, volunteers don't have to stay on their job all day long. So, there's plenty of time for you to race!  This is a spectacular club event with great prizes!

    Mark your calendar for Friday July 7th to come down to Yorkville and help raise the gates. Then you have one week to practice and have fun as the main event is on Saturday, July 15th. Brooke Gabris

  • 03/29/2017 7:00 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Join us again this year for Chicago Whitewater Associations hosting of the Reel Paddling Film Fest at Durty Nellie's - 180 N Smith St, Palatine, IL 60067, USA.

    The Reel Paddling Film Festival is a film contest awarding winning films in 10 categories. The winners and other shortlisted films are then toured to more than 100 cities around the world, screening for an audience of more than 30,000 outdoor adventure enthusiasts and their friends and families. The Reel Paddling Film Festival is produced by Rapid Media. Rapid Media also publishes four leading paddlesports magazines: Rapid, Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots and Kayak Anglermagazines. Your ticket to a Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour stop includes a free one-year digital edition subscription to any/all four of the above magazines. Special offer details are available in your evening program.

    Ticket Price: Advance: $12 / $15 at the door or $10 for active CWA members. Log in and check the events page.

    We'll be focusing on more Whitewater films this year and we have the entire venue.

  • 02/28/2017 5:07 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Outdoorplay supports people who love to paddle and strives to help our community grow by making paddling as approachable and affordable as possible. Outdoorplay is extending to CWA Members a special promo code which will save your members 15% off on our website, You'll receive Free Shipping on orders over $49, along with the added savings of No Sales Tax! This discount applies to regularly priced items.

    Login and check out the members only page for the promotion code.

  • 01/03/2017 3:55 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Once again a group of hardy souls were the first on the water in 2017. It was a large groupe this year as the weather was nice and the water was open. Rick Jecha posted a lot of pictures on MeetUp, There were some chilly rolls and one swim but everyone was smiling and having fun. Afterwards a lot of people made it to Rich and Julie's for drinks and lasagna and a ton of deserts. 

  • 09/19/2016 5:23 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Had a great trip with a ton of people last weekend. We ran the Wolf River Section 4 on Saturday and went over to Wausau for the last opening of the season at the play park. 15 people were at the Wolf on Saturday, 4 had never done the river or any falls. Several others had only done it a couple times. Although the temps in the 70's and it rained the day before bringing the river up to 500 CFS (very nice), there was a brown cloud over us most of the day. 4 people ended walking out, there were many swims (Mike you owe a bootie), and all kinds of crap went wrong. It took so long to get down the river, my Go Pro battery died just after Sullivan Falls. I got most of the new guys running Sullivan's. Enjoy:-)

  • 07/26/2016 2:32 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

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