At Packraft Europe our packraft training courses and expeditions focus on the two core fundamentals essential to becoming a good paddler. You can think of these two fundamentals as the foundation on which we stand, just like two legs.
On one leg we have safety and rescue: In order to become safer packrafters we need river reading skills, an understanding of river hydrology, an understanding of the risks involved in moving water, knowledge on how to identify hazards, river communication skills, knowledge about where to position ourselves on the river, self rescue and team rescue skills. We learn how to identify hazards so we can avoid them and we also learn how to rescue ourselves, others and gear when things don’t go as planned. We also learn about pre trip planning and preparation.
On the other leg we have paddling skills and techniques: We learn how to hold a paddle properly, correct and efficient forward paddle strokes, sweep strokes, draw strokes, low brace, high brace, paddle timing and placement, angle and edging skills. These are needed to become better more efficient paddlers so we can move more easily around the river, avoid the hazards, catch eddies, boof over drops and holes, help others when needed, paddle more challenging rapids and have more fun.
Packraft Europe was the first Rescue 3 Europe training provider dedicated to and specializing in Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT) training and certifications for packrafters.
Packraft Europe worked closely with Rescue 3 Europe to create the WRT-F course and tailor the renowned WRT-REC and WRT-PRO courses specifically to the needs of the packrafting community. Rescue 3 has a reputation for quality hands-on instruction, using techniques that work, and this reputation has fueled the growth of Rescue 3 and its courses over the years. The Whitewater Rescue Technician course is essential training for anyone involved in whitewater.
The importance of Whitewater Rescue training for packrafters can not be emphasized highly enough. Packrafts are too easy to use and invoke a false sense of security and often those new to packrafting as well as seasoned packrafters over estimate their abilities. You simply do not know what you do not know. Whitewater rescue training provides the knowledge, skills and training needed to identify the risks and hazards involved in moving water and the techniques needed to help avoid these risks, to self rescue, and to help others in a rescue scenario.
Whitewater Rescue Technician Foundation (WRT-F) – 1 day (6 hours)– €215. The Whitewater Rescue Technician – Foundation (WRT-F) course is designed for those new to whitewater paddling with little or no experience. The course aims to teach basic safety and rescue skills required in a moderate whitewater environment, and covers the foundation skills used in all our water safety and rescue courses. The WRT-F is also part of our 2 day Whitewater Packrafting Fundamentals Course.
Whitewater Rescue Technician Recreational (WRT-REC) – 2 days (12 hours) – €315. The WRT-REC course is for recreational paddlers who wish to have a rescue capability whilst paddling or in a whitewater environment with their peers, eg kayak club members, informal non-paying paddlers completing a river trip.
Whitewater Rescue Technician Professional (WRT-PRO) – 3 days (18 hours) – €420. The Whitewater Rescue Technician – Professional (WRT-PRO) course is designed for professional river users who require a rescue capability in a whitewater environment, eg packraft guides, raft guides, safety kayakers. Recreational paddlers should take the WRT-REC course.
Introduction to Packrafting: Half Day (4 hours)on class I/II rivers - 120€*. Our Introduction to Packrafting course is ideal for people totally new to packrafting and curious to try it out. You don't need any specific packrafting gear since a packraft, paddle, PFD/ swimvest and helmet are included in the price. It is designed to give you a little overview of packrafting and cover the most common questions you might have, like which gear you need for packrafting, how to inflate the packraft, etc. You will learn basic river reading skills and fundamental paddling techniques.
Whitewater Packrafting Fundamentals Course (Rescue 3 Certified): 2 days (12hours) on class II/III rivers - 390€*. Our two day whitewater packrafting fundamentals course is great for people who are thinking about paddling whitewater or have started paddling whitewater. During the course you will learn about the two core fundamentals of becoming a better paddler. On day 1 we do a Rescue 3 Certified Whitewater Rescue Technician Foundation Course (WRT-F) specifically designed for packrafters. We learn about: River hydrology and hazards, Personal equipment, Personal rescue equipment, River running considerations, Risk assessment, River communications, What to do if your boat or gear gets pinned or stuck in the river, Whitewater swimming techniques, The benefits and dangers of a throw bag and how to use it correctly, Shallow water techniques, Foot / body entrapments, How to self rescue, Flip drills, Rescue techniques to rescue others and gear. On day 2 we learn about: how to best set up your packraft for whitewater, correct paddling posture, how to hold a paddle correctly, paddling techniques and strokes (Efficient forward paddle strokes, Sweep strokes, Draw strokes, Ferry glides, Eddy in & Eddy out).
*Our Whitewater Packrafting Fundamentals courses include rental of whitewater packrafting equipment: An Alpacka Whitewater Packraft, Paddle, PFD/ Swim Vest, and helmet.
In order to join us on an expedition you must have taken a course with us or paddled with us before!
Croatia Expeditions (CODE NAME: "Get your BOOF on!") - April thru July, 5 days / 3 rivers - 1800€ + Travel & Expenses. Min 2 Person / Max 5 Person. Simply put this trip is EPIC, it combines 5 days of packraft coaching and 3 beautiful rivers that are extremely rare in Europe in that they are still wild and freeflowing. The Zrmanja, The Una, and the Mreznica. This is also one of our personal favourites for multi day packrafting in Europe. This expedition is for intermediate to advanced paddlers and those who have undertaken rescue training. Packrafting Skills Focus: Forward Stroke, Boof Stoke, Running Drops, Draw Stroke, Cross Current Momemtum, Expedition and Camp Skills, Risk assessment & Management, Scouting, Rescue Skills, Throwbags, Paddling as a team, Leave No Trace. This is a self suported expedition, we will be camping on the river side, paddling with all of gear, and hiking.
"A really important course for every packrafter. It sharpens your senses for possible things happening and trains you with the tools to react to it. Instructed by Seon with a lot of commitment. This won't be our last rescue course!" Stephan, Germany
"Earlier this month had a fabulous 4 days with Packraft Europe in Gosau, Austria. 2 day packrafting clinic with Mark Oates, Jen and Seon, focusing on paddle strokes, choice of line and positioning within the paddling group. Massively impressed by the knowledgeable and detailed coaching, analysis of particular paddle strokes and theory of line choice. Fabulous two days paddling. Very impressed by all the time taken, after first long day of paddling, of watching back tape of us all paddling, analysis of technique and where and how to improve. Then did the 2 day Rescue 3 WRT-Rec course with Seon. Learnt a heap on hydrology, river features and characteristics, knots, rescue techniques and considerations, and then drilled them thoroughly on the river. All this in the stunning surroundings of the scenery around Gosau, where there is a crazy wealth and range of water, from lakes to Grade 5. Fabulous instruction. Can’t recommend enough." Sam, UK
"I am happy that I made the rescue course. The execution of the course was great. We got all the time feedback when something was well done or could be improved. All topics were shown before for better understanding. And - important - we were challenged afterwards to apply the learned in scenarios. Great experience!" Anja, Germany