We love to talk about our trips! (541) 450-9855

Class IV Rowing School Reviews

Many Thanks!

Matt and I just got back from the Chilko trip that inspired us to take your Class IV rowing course. I'm writing to give you, Asa, Conor, and everyone who helped with the course my sincerest thanks. We knew the Chilko would be hard, but its difficulty far exceeded anything we anticipated. Bidwell rapid was solidly Class V, and downstream after a brief respite there were 10+ miles of continuous class IV/V water with no pools and few eddies. Our kayaker described several sections as being "harder than anything on the Gauley," and it was far beyond anything I've experienced. Despite the difficulty, Matt and I team boated the entire canyon, caught eddies together, and stayed in position to support one another. Our kayaker swam (his first in 5 years), but Matt and I made it through without incident. We share the opinion that without your training, it's very likely one or both of us would have been injured or killed.
- Scott Owens

Awesome course, well done

Fantastic training from top-notch instructors. Great learning environment that markedly increased my confidence team boating on harder water. I would recommend the NWRC team to anyone.
- Scott Owens

Top Notch Training

NWRC delivers top notch experience and professional training with a great mix of classroom and real on the river safety and rescue instruction.
- David Rhodes

absolutely incredible time

I had an absolutely incredible time. Getting to talk with the instructors and other guides about equipment, experiences, and gear was invaluable. I love that there was as much instruction and help as we needed whenever we needed it, but we were given freedom to run the river how we liked. Great course.
- Katie Jack

Insanely cool trip

The Class IV Row School allowed me to push myself in the perfect environment. I felt confident trying new techniques in challenging water. The instructors were highly professional and at the top of their class. Insanely cool trip.
- Robert Simpson

This course was not easy!

This course was not easy! I feel like I went beyond my comfort zone daily. In the end I gained confidence in my boating skills, my river reading abilities, and my group boating and safety knowledge. I feel ready for my next river adventure!
- Jessie Atchison

Awesome Safety and Team Boating Course

This course brought my team boating to a new level! Being surrounded by classmates that also had solid class III fundamentals and techniques made the course a perfect container to focus on the bigger picture of private boating: group skill level assessment, put-in and take-out logistics, on river teamwork, and rescue scene awareness. Additionally being surrounded by the Northwest Rafting Company Instructors and their shared decades of experience brought a depth of knowledge and expertise that I feel is all too lacking in the recreational community. Being able to actually practice boat repair, rigging, swimming, flipping and other key skills under their tutelage was invaluable to me and helped to build my competence for situations that I have only seen intermittently. I highly recomend this course to boaters who are comfertable with oars in thier hands and want to safely pursue wild rivers with new or old friends alike.
- Gary Schomberger


I thought the class was outstanding. I found it fun but challenging which is exactly what I wanted. I didn't need a vacation, campfires or songs on the river, etc. Nothing wrong with that but I liked that each day we were presented with a challenging set of tasks on and off the river. I also enjoyed that there wasn't a lot of hand holding but rather relying on the team with your staff providing the safety and guidance. I think the challenge for boaters like me (new boater but comfortable around water and harder outdoor activities) is after taking the course how to find others to row safely with. I live 5 minutes from the Roaring Fork in Aspen which during runoff is a solid Class IV with lots of rocks and more narrow than the Hood. After taking your course I'm now so focused on safety and the potential problems that occur that I need to figure out how to row daily knowing I won't have the support of pro guides that you provided. I need to meet more rafters but ultimately I think the challenge for practicing for many boaters is how to do it frequently without compromising safety. Just my two cents and again, thought your course was outstanding.
- Bob N.

A Great Class

Zach and his team are elevating the boating community to a new level with this course. The quality of instruction, team boating experience and emphasis on safety make this class the ultimate opportunity to grow as a boater in a beautiful setting. The crew at Northwest Rafting Company are setting an incredible example for the industry to work toward.
- Chris Dunbar

I love the Class IV Rowing School!

This is my 3rd time and each time has been unique and different which has made it a great way to start my boating season. One example of this was the use of a dummy "victim" that goes swimming that the group needed to save. Was a super great way to get experience with things going "wrong" on the river and learning how to be calm and assess the situation & determine the safest way to help. And the folks that attended this class were AMAZING! Such a fun group to boat with on the river.
- Jeff Michael

Thanks for a great week

You are about safety and that is so important as one moves into riskier waters. I really thought that Emily, Elly, Brody and Michael were all outstanding. Patient, knew their stuff, positive, fun and serious. I appreciated that after I went “swimming” that it was dealt with professionally as a teaching moment right from the rescue to the after action discussion. I also appreciated that Michael did not make a big deal of it, let me get my bearings and simply waited for me to indicate I was ready to get back on the oars and we proceeded on. I had minimal time with Elly on the river but certainly appreciated her kitchen organization, her talk and affability and willingness to answer any questions. Emily clearly knew what she was doing in front of our pod and I appreciated her teaching and orientation to keeping us safe. Thanks to Brody for his very positive time with Russ. As a parent, it was fun to watch Russ learn and do well on the river. I hope that all of your parents have had a chance to see what you do, appreciate your physical, teaching and customer service skills, and be proud of their children as well.
- Jim Bayuk

Excellent Instructors

The excellent instruction made time on the river the best part of the class. Many thanks to everyone.
- Mike Harris

Will definitely recommend to my friends!

This was a repeat of the Class IV boating class and it was a great experience! House was awesome, food was great, amazing time on the river that really challenged me especially the 1st 2 days.
- Jeff Michael

Class 4 Rowing -Awesome

This is a great opportunity to go on some great rivers near Hood River, and improve skills and move up from class 3 to a class 4 mindset. Zach , Michael and Brody the instructors are expert level rowers, rafters and kayakers bringing many years of experience to the class. Overall regardless of your ability this is an awesome experience for which I am likely to even do again. Hood River , the river ,was our day 2 and 3 training site and is a gem of a river. Highly recommended! Check out YouTube Drone training videos and some of Zach’s Gear Garage videos as well.
- Bruce Cooley

class IV rowing class

I took the class IV rowing class in order to get more time on the water and have professional level support and training. What I received was an in depth and well thought immersion into whitewater rowing, rigging and safety techniques. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to better their skills under the watchful eyes of true professionals. You will be pushed just enough to expand your abilities and constantly reminded to think safety first. These folks really love what they do and it shows. The house and property were a wonderful base camp where deliscious and plentiful food was served and staying there alone was worth the cost of admission. I strongly recommend NWRC and their wonderful staff whether it be for this class or any other program they are involved in as their passion and professionalism tell me anything they put their name behind will be first rate. Mike Kemna
- Michael E Kemna

Totally worth it!

The class IV course was my second course with NWRC. I am somewhat familiar with the Rogue, but I still had trepidation about other rivers. Going to the Hood River with NWRC for this course was the best thing I could have done to learn technical boating in swift water under expert guidance. I feel like I learned a lot, I grew as a boater and as part of a team. The class IV course was the best thing I could have done to progress in rafting. The guides are seriously the best (Zach, Michael, Brodie, Dustin, Emily and Dan), and the whole experience was more than worth the money. The food was pretty amazing too.
- Michael Black


These 4 days of learning far exceeded my already high expectations for this class. It is clear that Zach and his guides have meticulously thought out every detail of the curriculum and found the right balance of on and off the river learning. The rivers/ rapids we rowed were fairly continuous whitewater and allowed us to concentrate/focus our learning in ways we could not achieve on a 7 day multi-day trip. The progression of learning was such that we were constantly challenged yet found ourselves each day a bit more confident. I came to this class having rowed many class three rapids, a few class 4, and have led several multi-day trips. I have no aspirations (at least in the near future) of running big water class4/5 rivers. However, I wanted the confidence to lead family and friends on rivers that had a few class 4 rapids. My confidence now is soaring - not in a cocky way, but with the knowledge that I have the tools to analyze a rapid and make the right moves. I have the confidence that with a group of boaters I can work as part of a team, think ahead about safety, etc, instead of blindly plowing down the river. The guides on this trip were exceptional and all brought a unique perspective while at the same time consistently reinforcing common themes. Michael embodies the qualities you hope to find in a leader: calm, confidence, good humor and flexibility. Brodie is an exceptional boater, a great example, and an all around great guy. Dustin is an amazing teacher, someone who clearly has devoted his life to understanding learning styles and techniques. Emily's enthusiasm and sense of humor is infectious. Dan kept us laughing down the river and could break the tension when we were most nervous. Zach - what can I say, he is a wealth of knowledge and a lot of fun to boat with A quick note on the time off the river. The house, rooms and food were amazing. One of the other students and I commented that the trip would be a great deal even if we just lounged around the house all day and ate the food. A spectacular trip and learning experience!
- Dave Baker

Beyond expectations

I've been rowing for a few years primarily as a vehicle for steelhead fishing. Most of my skills were self-taught, and I felt confident in smaller rapids. As I had a daughter, started taking friends out on the water and becoming more interested in white water boating, safety and knowledge became paramount as I sought out professional training. After asking around town [Portland, OR] and combing the web, NW Rafting was continuously recommended. I signed up for the class IV instruction with a little trepidation since I had not taken the class III course. Speaking with Michael and Zach about my experience and expectations, they assured me I would be fine. Now, after having taken the class, I can confidently say, they were correct. The course taught me so much more than I could have imagined and changed my expectations on what it means to be a safe, team boater. The four days were enough to see various stretches of water on the same river under differing flows. We also were able to row a completely different river to put our skills to the test on the last day. Each day, the lessons were knowledgable and we had the opportunity to put the teachings to practice. NW Rafting has developed a curriculum that is simultaneously challenging and tangible. I owe them a debt of gratitude for the potential future misgivings I might have had, if I had never taken their class. Honestly, I left knowing a tremendous amount but realizing how much more I have to learn. I’d probably sign back up for the class IV school again because it was so incredible.
- Adam Bagerski

You really need to take this class

I took the class III rowing school last year, and based on that exceptional experience attended this year's class IV rowing school. Best river dollars I have ever spent. The water was swift and the rowing technical but not overwhelming. Michael and Zach spent hours each day both on and off the water in instruction, review and critique. They used ipad video, still shots and even overhead drone footage of our rivertime to great advantage in reviewing the days runs and pushing for improvements going forward. The emphasis on safety and team boating left me a much better, more conscious boater and team member. The last day's run was an opportunity to put all of our learning to good use on a stretch requiring a bit more self-reliance and was a challenging and fun way to close the class. Zach and Michael were exceptional in every regard and really fine tuned the class to our needs and skills. This was an invaluable learning experience and an awesome fun time.
- Andrew Kohlmetz