A Guide’s View of Guide Training

A real story of a guide’s thoughts about the cost and experience of guide training.


“For the amount of time and training they put into you…its dirt cheap. They’ll even refund it to you after a short time as a paid guide for the company. And the experience of training itself is a once in a lifetime thing. It’s priceless.”

“You start out with a class of eight to twelve strangers, suiting up at the crack of dawn every day; rain, shine, hurricane… whatever, and you go out just to make mistakes, get stuck on rocks, and fail in a variety of ways. But that’s the beauty of it, man! Two or three days later you’re watching yourself and your fellow classmates navigate the same section of water you couldn’t manage just a couple days before, and you’re doing it like it’s been a lifelong practice, all to the credit of your perseverance and guidance of your trainers.”

“You spend every day with these people; just eating, sleeping and learning…almost like a boot camp. You become so close to your trainers and your fellow trainees that your desire to learn and succeed goes not only for yourself but also for them! You really start to feel that you’re a part of a team. You become strong and physically fit, spending most of your days crashing into big waves, getting soaked, and learning the river through trial and error. You see yourself grow, and not just physically but mentally.”

“Before long you are running technical rapids in a leadership position with a crew of your fellow classmates, who have seen you for your strengths and your weaknesses…and vice versa. Your bonds with each other will last a lifetime. You’re swimming rapids together, you’re being challenged by the day to day exposure of the elements together, and the rapid succession of information you are required to learn all must be learned together…because the success of the team leads to the success of the individual. It’s as authentic of an experience as you can find in this world. There is no hiding from it. You have to own it.”

“There are days where you go to bed tired and sore but you can’t sleep anyway because you’re so excited for the experiences to come the following day. And the payoff is, at the end of the program you’re well on your way to becoming the sharpened edge of an industry that is in demand. An industry that will keep you coming back, and give you more authentic experiences in one summer than you would find in a decade’s worth of time spent working in the ‘real world’. You’re made to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. You’ve learned to read water like you read the road, or like you read a mountain slope when skiing or biking. You’ve been taught to lead a team of four to eight strangers down a technical section of whitewater and you have the confidence to do so, all while keeping the mood light and entertaining.”

“You’d be amazed at the practical skills and overall life skills you’ve managed to obtain in such a short period of time. Two and a half weeks from the start of training I emerged a stronger more confident person, on the river and off, and with a new skill set that will allow me to live in one of the freest ways possible…with a job that pays me to do something I love every day. I now spend my days getting tan in the sun with my friends, soaking families on their vacation and getting paid to do it, all because of the fateful step I took to enroll in that training program. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”