Building a comprehensive skills set to lead

Boofing another drop on Soca

For the Paddler who is comfortable paddling on grade III and IV whitewater, but wants the confidence to guide others.

Develop tactics and learn to guide kayakers.

Set in the perfect natural classroom of the Soča river, this course will have you guiding, coaching, and making decisions with confidence on class IV whitewater.

We’ve put this course together for BCU and ICU level 3 coaches who want to step their game up a notch. To ease out that step up to Advanced White Water Coach, we’ll cover everything from your paddling skills and coaching methods to modern, dynamic guiding techniques and real-world group management.

Nestled away in a quiet corner of the Julian Alps, the Soča valley is one of Europe’s premier kayaking destinations. Just a stone’s throw from the Italian border, the river Soča is a spectacle of nature and a paddler’s dream. Crystal clear blue water flows through smooth limestone gorges and clean open rapids, offering a forgiving, relaxed environment, where the level of challenge can be perfectly tailored to suit your needs.

The gateway to the Balkans, set against the stunning backdrop of snow capped peaks, a visit to the Soča valley has you following in the footsteps of Napoleon and Hemingway, to a place of rich history and unique culture.

This course will include BCU 5 Star Training and BCU Advanced WWS&R.

Trip Programme

Overview & Summary
Trip Photos
Trip Content
Trip Itinerary
Group Composition
Experience Required
What the Price Does/Does not Include
Deposit Payment
Booking Info
Soča boulder garden fun

Trip Content

  • We’ll give you a personal paddling plan, showing you where you’re at and what to work on
  • We’ll work on coaching best practice. No outmoded coaching styles from decades ago: we’re keeping it modern and dynamic
  • We’ll cover practical, real-life guiding and leadership methods, including how to manage your group and how to handle the unexpected
  • We’ll make sure you’re up to speed on your safety, including hands-on practice sorting out pins, entrapments and broaches
  • We’ll boost your river awareness. It’s not just about how you paddle, it’s about how well you understand your environment. We’ll show you how to visualise and evaluate the river more quickly and more effectively
  • BCU 5 Star and ICU Level 5 Proficiency Training/Review

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival day. Relax, settle in and sample the local cuisine
Day 2 We’ll start off with a session looking at your gear and your boat outfitting. Then we’ll take to the water on the lower Soča, a chilled-out run that gives us the chance to look at how you’re paddling and find out what you want to work on
Day 3 We’ll build on day 2, including a review of technical skills. We’ll also spend time looking at how different coaching methods work and reviewing current best practice
Day 4 Today we’ll concentrate on how to manage individual rapids, including scouting, guiding and rapid management
Day 5 Today’s the day to concentrate on river safety, including incident management and extractions
Day 6 Paddle for yourself: we’ll spend the morning on personal paddling workshops, followed by coaching and leading workshops
Day 7 The Big day out! This all day mission’s the chance to use your newly developed skills on an Alpine classic.
Day 8 After a final review, we’ll drop you back at the airport
Of course, this schedule’s only a guideline: we’ll chop and change depending on how you’re getting on, what the levels are like and what everyone wants to do

Group Composition

The trip will be led by an experienced Gene17kayaking appointed trip leader. In selecting suitable leaders, we not only look to ensure that they have the relevant qualifications but we also ensure that they have an excellent track record of white water paddling from around the world. Whilst qualifications and experience are essential requirements, we also make sure that our leaders have the right temperament to lead a trip group comprised of individuals who have a range of previous experience and expectations. The leader is a vital contributor to the enjoyment and well-being of the trip members and he or she will be there to deal with any unexpected problems. To that end, we aim to provide a leader who will make the trip both successful and enjoyable throughout.Our leaders hold current wilderness first aid certificates and have experience of dealing with remote river related medical conditions.

We will take a maximum of 6 paddlers on each trip, although the number may well be less than this. With every 3 paddlers we have on the trip, we’ll have a highly experienced Gene17kayaking Teacher/Guide.

Experience Required

Soča River Leader trip takes place on Class III/IV whitewater.
The Soča Alpine River Leader trip is suitable for experienced paddlers who are able to paddle for 4 or more hours in a day on Class III/IV. Generally the rivers are accessible with near road access, but occasionally there may be some exposed terrain. This trip begins on an easier section of whitewater, but will soon reflect conditions expected at the grade. Participants should therefore expect to be in a river environment during peak runoff for sometimes extended periods of time.You are welcome to Contact Us, if you would like to discuss the trip in more detail.

What the Price Does/Does not Include

TRIP COST: 1300€

What the price does include

  • Teaching and Instruction
  • Full accommodation including all meals
  • Airport and River shuttles*
  • Use of a full spec whitewater kayak** from our fleet

* Airport Shuttle is to and from Trieste Airport, or Cividale Train Station in Italy. All arrivals to any of Venice’s airports, will need to make their way to Cividale for pick up prior to 18:00 on the day of arrival
** Gene17 has a small yet excellent selection of kayaks for a range of different sized paddlers, & these are available on a first come, first served basis ONLY

Accommodation & Catering
You’ll be staying at our shared apartment in the Soča Valley with all bed linen provided. We’ll provide a continental breakfast, a light lunch and an evening dinner either at a local restaurant or home-cooked by one of our guides

The Personal Paddling Equipment you should bring:

  • A good semi-drytop or drytop or drysuit
  • Your paddle
  • Whitewater PFD, spray deck and good helmet
  • Solid footwear for bank support – no sandals
  • Rescue gear, including a throwbag, knife, sling and karabiner

What the price does not include

  • Visa fees
  • Flight
  • Bar bills
  • Travel & Boat insurance
  • Dinner on the final night
  • Tips

Deposit Payment

threading the line on Soča
Soča, Slovenia – Alpine River Leader 1300€


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