Chicago Whitewater Association

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


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  • 03/03/2018 12:11 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Folks, a few CWA members are going to head down to the Saint Francis for the MWA races the weekend of March 17th. Several members of the Missouri Whitewater Association have come to our races, and we think it would be fun to visit theirs. 

    Even if you do not want to race, the St. Francis is an awesome river that's only six hours away. (It's an hour south of St. Louis) It's mostly 2+/3, with some really cool drops and fantastic play. There are challenging lives for those who want. The shuttle is easy, there is a campground at the takeout, and there is a town a few minutes away for food. There is also a riverside trail for hiking or even a foot shuttle. It's hard to believe that CWA folks don't head there more often.

    St. Francis on AW

    I'm heading down Friday early afternoon. I'm likely going to race in one class, but mostly boat socially. Camp at the take out: Silver Mines Recreation Area

    Dave McGovern

  • 01/31/2018 1:14 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    To all paddlers, anglers and friends of the Wolf River, it might be the dead of winter, with the river locked in ice but the river needs your help.  Your voices need to be heard in expression of the value of one of the most important whitewater resources in the Midwest.  ATV/UTV clubs in Langlade and Oconto counties, in northeast Wisconsin, are quietly but assertively pressing for an amendment to the Upper Wolf River Fishery Area management plan which would provide for the construction of an ATV/UTV bridge near the State Highway 64 bridge at Langlade.  The bridge and trail would cross where section II of the Wolf ends and section III begins.  This is a crucial access point, an ideal take-out for sec II and put-in for sec III.  A  variety of river users already share space on state-owned land at this site, with a limited amount of space for parking and no practical options for expansion.  Those of you who are familiar with this site already know the impact that just two or three trucks, with trailers built to haul 4 or 6 ATVs, would have on access for all other river users.  Throw in a group of operators, exhaust fumes and noise, and the situation quickly becomes untenable for groups who have enjoyed the use of the river for many decades.  There is some concern the ultimate goal of many members of the local ATV/UTV clubs is to displace anyone who would stand in the way of unlimited motorized expansion in the area.

    It is imperative that all who value the Wolf and access at Highway 64 take the time to download this form or going to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and make yourselves heard by going to the online form where you'll find a survey and fields for submitting comments.  Keeping in mind two things: printed, personalized comments expressing your value for continued access as it exists typically carry greater weight than online submissions, and, these submissions need to be received by Feb. 4.

    Thanks for your support

  • 01/04/2018 3:38 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Whitewater Kayaking (Ages 13+)
    This fun six-week class provides the skills and knowledge to enable you to safely paddle on moving water. It covers basic strokes, braces, rolls and other boat-handling skills along with river reading and rescue techniques. Upon successful completion of this course, participants are qualified to join the Chicago Whitewater Association on its beginner river trips in the Spring. All equipment for this class is provided; Club membership costs $15 per year and is required. Club registration must be done before the first day of class at

    Max enrollment: 8

    Date:    Sundays, March 25 - April 29, 2018

    Time:    6:30pm - 8pm

    Cost:    Members $80    Program Members $120 (cost does not include the $15 club membership, which is required by the first day of class) People need to register in advance through the YMCA to be a part of the class. You can't just show up.

    Where: West Cook YMCA, 255 S. Marion Street, Oak Park, IL 60302

  • 11/10/2017 3:49 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Open Pool at NNHS will start Sunday 12/3 at 3-5 PM. The address is 899 North Mill Street • Naperville, IL 60563. Open pool costs $10 and if you need to rent gear it is an additional $5. These are not lessons. If you are looking for lessons in the winter, contact

    Tom Costello

  • 11/06/2017 12:55 PM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    There will be a roll clinic at the Matteson Community Center on Nov 8 from 7:00-9:00. the fee is $50 and sign up is available on our website There will also be open pool for $10

  • 11/04/2017 11:13 AM | Tom Costello (Administrator)

    Sent on 11/4/17

    To: IDNR & Governor Rauner & Senator Pam Althoff

    Chicago Whitewater Association (CWA) would like to thank the State for all the support for the paddling community in Illinois. We appreciate all your hard work. We also appreciate the removal of registration for human powered crafts starting June 2018. This is very helpful for many who have multiple boats that they don’t use yearly. We have 20 boats used for teaching and it would be very expensive for a small non-profit organization like ours to be able to afford licensing all the boats for 3 years when many never get used during the year. Thank You!!

    CWA has a 40 year history and have over 100 members in Chicagoland. CWA would like to make your office aware that CWA has voted to remove its participation with the Illinois Paddling Council under its current administration. It has been confirmed that the IPC reached out to State Rep Laura Fine regarding the recent Water Usage Stamp registration. Sigrid Pilgrim did not consult with paddlers, other state paddling clubs or even current IPC board members. We have CWA board members on the IPC board and we were completely blindsided by IPCs involvement with the recent legislation until we saw a letter from Sigrid Pilgrim. We have requested details from IPC as to the events that led to the legislation and any participation from any paddling club or IPC board involvement. IPC has refused to provide CWA any details, therefore CWA has voted that IPC no longer represents CWA paddlers in Illinois.  

    The CWA members would like to remain informed and provide input regarding state legislation that the state or other paddling groups may be contemplating that can directly affect us as paddlers in Illinois.

    Once again thanks for all you do!


  • 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


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