11 - 18 years
Fly in: Girona (GIR) Fly out: Geneva (GVA)
River running, Class III
Join this EWWS Camp designed specifically for intermediate paddlers looking at their first whitewater experience abroad with the European Whitewater School. This is the perfect opportunity for you to experience what the buzz of the EWWS, the whitewater kayaking school for teens of reference in Europe is all about and work with their world class line up of coaches & river guides.
More advanced paddlers joining the camp will have a unique opportunity to race down the class III-IV section of the Guil River during the Durance Festival. It’s going to be spectacular to watch!
An unforgettable experience in one of the most classic whitewater destinations in Europe; the Durance Valley in the French Alps. Immerse yourself in stunning scenery, learn from the best and make life-long friendships with teen paddlers coming from all over Europe!
The Durance Valley in the French Alps is renowned for its exceptional whitewater, with rapids and waves that cater to paddlers of all skill levels. From the fast-moving Class II and III sections to the more challenging Class IV and V sections, the Durance River and its tributaries provide an adrenaline-packed experience for whitewater enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters, dramatic mountain scenery, and pristine natural surroundings make it a perfect destination for kayakers from all over the world.
This is mainly going to be a class III river running trip, but we will adapt to the skill level and eagerness of the group to push their skills, so paddling easier or harder sections of whitewater is definitely in the cards. The coach line up for the Camp include our resident world-class coaches David McClure, Quim Fontané and Agata Sobieraj Jakubiec. Our coaches are 100% committed to ensuring that our young paddlers have a fun and enjoyable experience while learning and improving their whitewater technique, water reading, and group management skills in a safe and supportive environment.
Depending on the number of paddlers who sign up for the Camp we might divide into two groups - depending on the level of paddling skill. This is an absolutely great opportunity for our young paddlers to learn from and paddle alongside teen paddlers from other countries. We can't wait to welcome everyone and embark on this incredible adventure together!
FLY IN/OUT & PICK UPS -Choose the flight arriving on Friday 14.07 in Girona (GIR) before 14:00 or in Marseille (MRS) before 18:00.
DROP OFF – Aim to book the flight leaving on Friday 21.07 after 17:00 from Geneva (GVA).
Our goal is to provide an exciting and safe experience for young paddlers while focusing on developing their whitewater technique, water reading, and group management skills. Please note that this plan is just to give you a general idea of a river hit list. The schedule will depend on the weather conditions and water levels.
DAY 1: 15.07
On the first day, we'll focus on getting to know each other and familiarising ourselves with the Lower Guil river. We'll start with basic skills like boat control, paddling technique, and safety procedures. This will help us build a strong foundation for the rest of the camp.
DAY 2: 16.07
On the second day, we'll spend some time on the Durance river. This river offers a mix of class II and III bouncy rapids, so it will be a great opportunity for us to practice our big water skills and get some surf time in both in the whitewater course of Saint Climent and the mighty Rabioux and Clapiere spots.
DAY 3: 17.07
On day three, we'll tackle the class III rapids of the Ubaye river - an absolute classic river with a characteristic greyish color from its dense sediment. The Ubaye offers varied whitewater from boulder gardens to a stunning gorged in section.
DAY 4: 18.07
On the fourth day, we'll head to the lower section of Gyronde river. This river offers alpine & continuous grade III rapids putting our newly acquired river running skills to test. A fast and furious ride down one of the most popular glaciar-fed rivers in France. We'll also spend some time discussing river conservation and the importance of respecting the environment.
DAY 5: 19.07
On day five, we'll head to the Fournel river - this tinny creek offers an exciting and unique opportunity for young paddlers to develop their boofing technique with its famous series of artificial drops surrounded with magnificent scenery. This will also provide a good opportunity to train our safety skills with the throwline as some of the waterfalls create sticky towbacks that will allow us to practice a range of safety drills.
DAY 6: 20.07
On the final day of paddling, we'll spend the day on the river that offers the most suitable conditions for our group, depending on weather and water conditions. If the group is strong enough and ready for the challenge the Middle Guil could be the final test of the week. An already challenging III-IV section that ranks amongst the most famous in the Alps and an a favourite of many! We will also have one last BBQ night before our airport run the next morning.
✔️ Loco Parentis (24h supervision) from point of drop off until hand over or check in completion at return airport.
✔️ All meals included except one eat out and meals during travel.
✔️ Accommodation in tents on the New Rabioux Campsite.
✔️ World class, personalised, low-ratio coaching led by Quim Fontané, Agata Sobieraj & David McClure
YOU WILL ASLO NEED
➕ Flights, in case you need to fly in or out at the beginning and end of the camp.
➕ Your own kayaking gear. If you don't have a creekboat the EWWS has a complete fleet of recent models for rent. Boats can be rent starting at 25€/day.
➕ A suitable travel insurance.
➕ About €100,00 spending money.
HOW HARD IS THE WHITEWATER IN THE FRENCH ALPS?
The whitewater in the French Alps varies in difficulty depending on the section of the river you choose to paddle. For young paddlers, there is a range of class II-III+ sections, which are suitable for beginners and intermediates. Our main focus is on providing a safe introduction to class II-III+ river running. With experienced guides and instructors, we are committed to ensuring that our young paddlers have a fun and enjoyable experience while learning and improving their skills in a safe and supportive environment.
WHAT BOAT SHOULD I BE BRINGING WITH ME?
If you plan to join us, you should bring either a creekboat or a half-slice kayak that is suitable for your size. Creekboats are typically longer and more stable, making them a great choice for paddlers who are still building their skills. Half-slice kayaks, on the other hand, are shorter and more agile, providing excellent control in tight spaces and faster response times. Regardless of which type of kayak you choose, it's important to ensure that it is the appropriate size for you, as this will help you to learn more efficiently and safely on the river. If you are not sure which boat to choose we are more than happy to assist you!
I DON’T HAVE A NECESSARY BOAT 🙁 WHAT NOW?
Not to worry, we can rent you a boat – We have a few Rexys, Zions, Black Jacks, Tuteas and Queen of Hearts you can choose from. Let us know your body weight and dimensions and we will bring the one that will suit you the most. Rent starts at 25€/day.
MY ESKIMO ROLL DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK. CAN I STILL JOIN?
Yes, you are still welcome to join our camp in Durance Valley even if your roll doesn't always work in whitewater. While we do emphasize the importance of having a solid Eskimo roll in flatwater, we understand that it can be challenging to execute under stressful situations on the river. What's most important is that our young paddlers have a willingness to learn, a positive attitude, and a commitment to safety. We do recommend that participants have some prior whitewater experience before joining our whitewater kayaking camp in Durance Valley. Ideally, this would include experience paddling class II-III rapids or above, and even better if they have experience practicing freestyle kayaking. Our experienced coaches will work with each participant to help them develop their skills and feel confident on the water.
MY ENGLISH IS NOT THAT GOOD… IS THIS OK?
Can you think of any better opportunity to study English without even noticing it? Sessions will be run in English but in case you don’t understand or you have any questions, our coaches do speak French, Spanish and Catalan. Other Burners may be able to help you as well. Don’t worry, we will find the way to understand each other and your English will improve by the day!
HOW DOES THE ACCOMMODATION LOOK LIKE?
Experience the thrill of camping on the picturesque shore of the Durance River at the New Rabioux Campsite. You'll be sharing your tent with a fellow EWWS paddler or a member of our local kayaking club, Salt-Ter. Plus, everyone will have an equal share of cleaning and cooking duties, providing the perfect opportunity to bond with your fellow adventurers and become part of this exciting group. Get ready for an unforgettable experience of camaraderie, adventure, and nature at its finest!
WHAT SORT OF STUFF DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
The typical summer weather in French mountains is warm and sunny, but you need to be ready for the rain and cool evenings. Besides the summer clothing please come equipped with a sleeping bag, warm clothing layers (fleece, down jacket), a waterproof shell jacket, personal toiletries and a headlamp with extra batteries. You'll also need to bring appropriate paddling gear as well, such as a wetsuit + dry jacket / dry suit, creeking PFD, helmet, spray deck, paddle and appropriate footwear.
HOW DO I BOOK MY KAYAK ONTO MY FLIGHT?
It is generally easy to book your freestyle boat onto most airline companies. However, some companies have length limitations that would exclude most creekboats. It is important to read the sport baggage policies of the companies you are considering to fly with before booking your ticket. Here is a quick breakdown of the fares of various popular airlines:
Ryanair - 35€ for the regular Sports Equipment, 55€ for a Large Sports Item. It is possible to check in up to 2 Large Sport Items per person per flight. The maximum weight allowed is 20kg, but you might be allowed to fly paying an additional fee of 11€/kg up to 32kg. In general quite a friendly company for both freestyle and creekboats.
EasyJet - The fee is 55€ and only one item per passenger is allowed. You can check in your kayak without problems as kayaks are amongst the items that are allowed on the airline's sports baggage policy. Up to 32kgs. Friendly for both freestyle and creekboats.
Eurowings - Up to 32kg allowed, it has a cost of 50€. Generally a friendly company for both freestyle and creekboats.
Norwegian Airlines - Max dimensions stated on website are 250cmx79cmx112cm. This is more than enough for any freestyle boat and borderline for most modern creekboats. Likely that they would not care about 20cm extra as width and height of the kayaks are much less than their max allowance. 32kg max. weight allowance makes it a good company to chuck your kayaking gear inside your kayak :).
Cost is very reasonable at 30GBP (if booked online) or 50GBP directly at the counter.
Vueling - Kayaks are not on the allowed item list, but surfboards are. You will most likely not have any problems convincing the employees your kayak is actually a paddleboard. The weight limit is 32kg and the maximum length 270cm, which is good for all freestyle boats and many creekboats. The cost is 45€.
Lufthansa - Kayaks are not on the allowed item list, but surfboards are. You will most likely not have any problems convincing the employees your kayak is actually a paddleboard. The maximum length allowed is 3,15m and the maximum weight is 32kg so this is a creekboat-friendly company. The cost is quite elevated, at 70 - 150€ depending if it's a domestic flight or an international flight.
Aer Lingus - Kayaks are not on the allowed item list, but surfboards are. You will most likely not have any problems convincing the employees your kayak is actually a paddleboard. The maximum weight allowed is 23kg and maximum length is 240cm, so freestyle boats are a go, but it is not a friendly company for creekboats. The cost is 40€.
Wizz Air - Kayaks are not on the allowed item list, but surfboards are. You will most likely not have any problems convincing the employees your kayak is actually a paddleboard. A slightly odd company as the price depends on the season and it's higher during the summer months and lower during the winter. Not the most kayak friendly company so better to be avoided if you travel with your boat.
We highly recommend that you book your sports equipment in advance to avoid higher fees in the airport check in, or even worse, finding out that the flight is full and not being allowed to bring your kayak with you on board.
Also, packing your kayak nicely in a bag or using a "sock" for surfboards will maximise the chances that everything goes smoothly and that you don't have any problems.
I AM UNDER 16 AND TRAVELLING ALONE. WHAT COMPANIES ALLOW U16s TO FLY IN THEIR OWN?
Ryanair - This company does not allow unaccompanied minors under 16 years to travel. U16s can travel only in case there is a responsible adult over 16 years of age.
Easyjet - This company does not allow unaccompanied minors under 15 years to travel.
Eurowings - This company allows minors as young as 12 years old to travel unaccompanied. Children between 5 and 11 can also fly if they are accompanied by a sibling over 16 years of age. The company also offers an unaccompanied minors service at an extra charge for passengers younger than 12 years of age. DIRECT FLIGHTS ONLY!
Norwegian - Maybe the best company out there to fly if you are an unaccompanied minor as they accept ages ranging from 5 - 15. From 5 - 11 you will need to contract the Unaccompanied Minor Service. This service is available but only optional from 12-15 and once your 16 you'll be considered an adult.
Vueling - This company allows minors as young as 12 years old to travel unaccompanied. Exception - Italian kids must be at least 14 to be able to travel alone.
Lufthansa - This company allows minors as young as 12 years old to travel unaccompanied. Children between 5 and 11 can also fly if they are accompanied by a sibling over 16 years of age. The company also offers an unaccompanied minors service at an extra charge for passengers younger than 12 years of age, although it is also possible to book for up to 17yo. DIRECT FLIGHTS ONLY!
Aer Lingus - This company allows minors as young as 12 years old to travel unaccompanied. DIRECT FLIGHTS ONLY!
Wizz Air - This company does not allow unaccompanied minors under 16 years to travel. U16s can travel only in case there is a responsible adult over 16 years of age.
REMEMBER: Some countries have specific requirements for any children under 18 years who wish to travel into, out of or within their country. You must contact the country’s embassy website or national authorities for more information before you make your booking, and commence travel as these requirements can vary depending on the country, and can change regularly.
If in doubt, please use the live chat in the corner to make sure the camp in French Alps is suitable for your age and experience.