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Private Canoe and Kayak Instruction

Bryson City, NC
from $400
Available for all skill levels on multiple rivers in the Southeast offered year round!

Private lessons provide custom-tailored programming with an experienced NOC Instructor to help achieve the goals of individuals and groups. Private instruction is available for all skill levels, all crafts (kayak, canoe, or raft), and all disciplines. Small groups are also welcome!

8+ Years Old
All Day
Instructor pointing to where guest should kayak on the Private Canoe and Kayak Instruction course
Instructor helping a child learn to kayak on the Private Canoe and Kayak Instruction course
whitewater canoeing on class 3
An instructor standing waist deep in water holds a canoe paddle with a man sitting in a green canoe.
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Focus on your individual paddling goals with a personalized instruction session! Private lessons provide you the undivided attention of an experienced NOC Instructor and are available for all skill levels, all crafts (kayak, canoe, or raft), and all disciplines, on multiple rivers in the Southeast.

Private lessons are custom-built for the student’s goals, allowing you to focus on specific skills for a complete beginner, all the way to mastering your kayak roll, catching eddies, and boofing drops.

We also welcome small groups (up to five) so that you can learn with family or friends! We can customize classes for larger groups, please call for details.


We can truly cater to any need! Here are a few examples:


We also offer private instruction on some of the most iconic rivers in the Southeast! Depending on experience and skill level, we can provide clinics on the Nantahala, Chattooga, French Broad, Pigeon, Ocoee, and more. Call us for details at 828-785-5020

What You’ll Learn & Skills You’ll Acquire

Skills taught will be customized to the paddler’s experience level and goals.

What to Expect

Private instruction guests will meet their instructor and start with gearing up with the proper equipment and boat. After meeting your instructor and gearing up, you will discuss your goals and make a plan for the day to achieve them. You will break mid-day for lunch before heading back out onto the water!



51 NOC Way
Bryson City, NC 28713

  • Lunch (Full-Day Only)
  • All necessary specialty whitewater equipment
  • In-Course Transportation
  • Access to NOC’s extensive fleet of instruction boats for in-clinic use
  • NOC’s highly trained, ACA certified instruction

NOC Provides the primary gear needed for each course including boats, paddles, PFD’s, helmets, spray skirts, semi-dry tops, wetsuit bottoms, and booties. Exclusive discounts are available for course participants at the Outfitter’s Store.

Necessary Items (All Courses)

  • Shorts/swimwear
  • Water shoes or old sneakers
  • Synthetic T-shirts
  • Sunscreen/lip balm
  • Towel and change of clothes each day
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Clothing and personal items
  • Rain gear
  • Synthetic long underwear
  • Light fleece hoodie/pullover

Optional Items

  • Nose clips
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglass strap
  • Hat or visor
  • Earplugs (if sensitive to water)

Lunch is included in the course fee. Additional meals, snacks, and beverages can be purchased at NOC’s two onsite restaurants or the General Store. Discounts are available for course participants.


My buddy and I wanted to improve our paddling skill and credentials and had a terrific day on the water with Curtis. We started on the flatwater of Fontana Lake where Curtis assessed our current skill levels and we progressively worked on our ability to roll (almost there!). After a hearty lunch from NOC we then ran the section of the Nantahala River ending with the falls and freestyle course right there at the NOC headquarters. It was quite a rush. Curtis was the right combination of patient and commanding, pushing us to use more and more new paddling techniques on the river. We ended the day feeling much more comfortable in whitewater and genuinely enjoyed the day with Curtis. We hope to come back again next year.

Adam C.

Meet Our Instructors

The NOC Paddling School stands out because of its exceptional instructors, who are experienced, skilled paddlers, and creative teachers. Their expertise and dedication are why Outside Magazine named us the “Best Place to Learn”

Click here to view our full list of Paddling School Instructors

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