Swiftwater Rescue Instruction
A fully customized approach to instruction.

What is Swiftwater Rescue?

Swiftwater Rescue is a teachable series of hands-on skills, mental tools and thought processes to help people who love whitewater enjoy the river as safely as possible by focusing on preventing accidents, managing and mitigating risk, and safely responding to incidents and accidents.

Hands-on skills include: wading, throwrope usage, basic and advanced ropework, rigging to free pinned boats, safe tethered swimmer / rescue vest usage, an assortment of techniques for swimmer entrapment, and more.
The mental toolkit focuses on accident prevention, assessing and managing risk in dynamic environments, managing rescuer safety, incident response, dealing with psychology of emergencies, and more.

Why learn Swiftwater Rescue (SWR)?

There are many reasons to learn Swiftwater Rescue! For starters, learning–and practicing–SWR is a bit like carrying a throw-bag on the river: we do it to be prepared and to help keep our friends safe. The skills, mindset and toolkit that you’ll learn are foundational for making good decisions on the river, avoiding accidents and injuries, and being prepared and ready to respond if and when accidents do occur. Taking the time to learn and practice these skills is a great way to build your confidence as a paddler, allowing you to have more fun–and experience less anxiety–on the river.

SWR skills aren’t just to keep you safe, they are for the benefit of everyone around you!

There are lots of ways to learn Swiftwater Rescue, but not all learning environments are created equal.

Instruction for Everyone

People often associate Swiftwater Rescue classes with confusing Z-drags, pinned boats, and whitewater emergencies when without warning Plan A turns into Plan Q.

For many people taking SWR classes, the experience can be intimidating. The material may seem daunting and esoteric. Group sizes are often too big to facilitate individual learning. The group social dynamic leaves some people participating while others end up watching. And instructors can be preoccupied with managing the group and plowing through the curriculum and may fail to address your particular learning style, paddling background, experience and aspirations.

Luckily, there is a better way!

Class Size

Teaching in smaller groups creates better learning outcomes.

The ‘industry standard’ for SWR of 10:1 student-to-instructor ratio leaves little room for individual needs, backgrounds, learning styles, and goals.

Larger group sizes come with their own group dynamic that inevitably affects the learning experience. Without fail, some folks end up volunteering for everything, while other people end up watching and not getting the hands-on experience they need to maximize their learning.

Smaller groups allow a more personalized approach, individualized instruction, more hands-on practice and focused feedback, ensuring you gain the experience, competence and confidence to put your skills and knowledge to work.

Increase Your Confidence

Swiftwater instruction isn’t just about rescue. It’s about prevention, managing risk, and building the skillset to increase confidence, decrease anxiety and make paddling more fun.

Whether you are currently, or dreaming of, paddling class II or class V, learning Swiftwater Rescue gives you the foundation to have confidence based on competence to help keep yourself and your group safe, and to be able to respond safely to any accidents that you might encounter.

Being well prepared makes paddling more stress-free and more fun!

Learn with your Crew!

The only thing better than a day on the river is a day on the river with good friends.

And, there is no better way to prepare for those rivers on your bucket list than by training with your crew!

Learning with people you know and like means you and your group are sure to have a positive learning environment, where you’ll be able to learn as much as possible while having a damn good time.

Training with people you regularly paddle with makes your group tighter and more cohesive. You’ll have a shared skillset, common vocabulary, and collective mindset to apply to risk assessment, decision making, and dealing with any issues that may arise.

When incidents do occur on the river, you’ll have experience working together and mutual trust to respond to the situation safely and skillfully.

And, it’s worth repeating, it’s just more fun to train and spend time with people you like! Get in touch and let’s plan something for you and your crew.

Custom Instruction

Everyone is different. We all paddle for different reasons. Why settle for a one-size-fits-all approach?

My custom approach to instruction takes into account your experience, background and goals to create an experience that is not only the most conducive to learning, but also the most fun, because isn’t having fun what got us hooked on paddling in the first place?

Got a hard-charging crew who knows the basics and wants to learn advanced rigging skills?

Gimme a call and we’ll make it happen.    

Don’t want to spend your entire weekend in a class?

No problem, we can split up the days instead. 

Torn between going paddling and learning about paddling safety?

Talk to me about Downriver SWR Instruction. 

Had some instruction but feeling rusty?

Got you covered with Custom Refresher Days. 

Swiftwater Rescue is for Everyday!

Happily, paddling whitewater is mostly a safe sport. But, being prepared for emergencies is clearly important.

Luckily, the payoff for doing our part to be prepared, knowledgeable and skillful paddlers and rescuers doesn’t wait for an emergency: it happens immediately.

Even if we never need to set up a Z-drag to unpin a boat, set-up a stabilization line for a foot entrapment, or use a tethered swimmer rescue, the experience gained by learning and practicing these skills inevitably increases our comfort and confidence on the water.

The subtle dance between fear and excitement is an experience all paddlers can relate to, whether a beginner on Class II or a seasoned Class V gnar-stomper.

Learning and practicing rescue skills is a great way to build confidence, decrease anxieties, and enjoy our river time feeling empowered and in the flow!

Golder Goldstein Human Potential Coach
Get in touch to learn more about

ACA Levels 3 / 4 / 5 Instruction

Whitewater Confidence Clinics

Custom Instruction

Specializing in small groups, private & semi-private instruction.   


Golder Goldstein

Paddler, Instructor, River Monkey

Let’s Get On The Water!