Chicago Whitewater Association



CWA sponsors pool classes which introduce the students to whitewater boating in kayaks. Strokes, braces, the eskimo roll and safety considerations are all taught in these classes, unless otherwise noted. The following locations sponsor these classes and anyone interested in taking a class should visit the website for exact dates and contact information. Most classes start in October and again in January. This page is now updated dynamically with the most current pool sessions available..

Oak Park YMCA - Whitewater Kayak Class, none
11/8/2015- 12/13/2015 (6)
Sundays, 1.5 hrs
Cost: $120
Contact/Registration: 708 383 5200 |
Notes: Whitewater Kayaking (Ages 13+)
This fun 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 is provided; Club membership costs $15 per year and is required. Club registration can be done on the first day of class.

Max enrollment: 10

Date: Sundays, November 8 to December 13.

Time: Sundays 6:30pm - 8pm Cost: Members $80 Program Member $120 (cost does not include the $15 club membership, which is due the first day of class)
Location: West Cook YMCA in Oak Park, IL 255 S. Marion St., Oak Park, IL 60302 P 708 383 5200 |



Learn to paddle safely and responsibly at our Fall and Winter pool classes offered at locations in and around the Chicago area. More experienced boaters can use their pool time to join us for a game of kayak polo or fine-tune new moves.

During spring and summer months, the CWA offers learning opportunities on local rivers.

We also offer special workshops for our members, including instructor development, certification and safety.

All classes require advance registration and many are available to CWA members only. 

Visit our Beginner trips page or our full Calendar page to see what is coming up. Please contact individual organizers for more information.


Bring bathing suit, towel, eyeglass guards (if you wear glasses), nose plugs (you’ll be upside down a lot), synthetic sweater or similar garment for warmth, some pools are cold.

Leave jewelry at home, it can break, or fall off; there’s no time to search the pool for lost charms!

Bring a lock for the locker room.

Leave valuables at home.

You do not need to bring your own equipment, unless you have your own whitewater kayak you wish to learn in.

Please be on time for all classes, especially the classroom session, as topics will not be repeated, come a few minutes early.