Jim Falls Whitewater Runs through It
a local group can serve as your resource for paddling safety and opportunities in the area
Not many people here in Eau Claire know that they live in a land writhing with raging rivers just begging to be tamed by fearless whitewater kayakers and canoeists. A local group called Jim Falls Whitewater has created a blog and resource page in hopes of getting more people interested in the sport locally. Check it out at jimfallswhitewater.blogspot.com. Since this is a sport that requires a specific skill set and gear, Jim Falls Whitewater is working to provide people with the know-how to start adventuring downstream on their own.
Their blog features a link to a YouTube site showcasing the various whitewater destinations we have around the Chippewa Valley area within an hour or two drive. Some are right in our backyard such as the Eau Claire Soo Line Rapids, the Chippewa River, Duncan Creek in Chippewa Falls, Big Falls and Jump River in Sheldon, and the Black River in Black River Falls.
If you are interested in getting your feet wet, Jim Falls Whitewater offers an event called Safety Days that is done in conjunction with Rapids Riders out of the Twin Cities. This one to two day clinic is an excellent opportunity to learn and practice important safety skills such as swimming through dangerous eddies and what to do in the case of foot entrapment. Watch past Safety Days on the Jim Falls Whitewater blog. These girls and guys are beasts in the water. There are several different Safety Days depending on your level listed on the blog for 2012. Dates are currently set for late May, June, and August.
Two other well-established clubs that offer whitewater kayaking and canoeing training sessions are Rapids Riders out of the Cities (www.rapidsriders.net), which offers a five-day course held on weekends. It allows participants to rent kayaks and gear. Also, Wausau Whitewater (www.wausauwhitewater.org) offers a full five-day clinic and does mini training sessions as well.
If you have the yearning to take your canoe or kayak for a wet and wild ride, Jim Falls Whitewater group is eager to answer questions and help you get started.