Whitewater kayaking is an incredible way to experience and enjoy Idaho’s magnificent wilderness rivers. Learning to kayak with world-class expedition kayaker Gerry Moffatt through ZEN MASTERS is a special opportunity to begin a life-long love affair with the river.

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The Program

The ZEN MASTERS Intro to Whitewater Kayaking program is a “full package” immersion experience designed to provide enthusiastic beginners with a world-class, confident foundation in whitewater kayaking skills. Over the course of 8 weeks, students participate in a carefully sequenced curriculum covering kayak-specific strength training, the fundamentals of rolling, the basics of stroke technique, swift water safety, and river running. Starting with Zenergy pool sessions for comfortable rolling practice before progressing to on-river days and camping overnights, ZEN MASTERS ensures that students grow in proficiency, confidence and having fun in their boats. As with all ZEN MASTERS adventure education programs, students also participate in weekly introductory guided meditations and benefit from Zen readings, growth mindset talks and presentations.


The program finishes with an extraordinary “graduation expedition”! ZEN MASTERS students can apply their new skills on the annual Thunder Dragon/ZEN MASTERS July 16-21 private departure/invitation-only Main Salmon River Experience – one of the most iconic wilderness river trips in North America. Students will be proficient enough by the end of the program to kayak most of the Main Salmon’s 90 miles of Class I, II, and III whitewater in their own boats. Unlike Main Salmon trips run by other outfitters, the Thunder Dragon/ZEN MASTERS experience features daily river running instruction with Gerry Moffatt and the ZEN MASTERS team of assistant instructors and safety boaters. This is an unforgettable opportunity to experience kayaking on a multi-day river adventure – camping on big natural sandy beaches every night, floating through remote canyons, soaking in hot springs, exploring homesteads, and seeing Idaho’s great Frank Church Wilderness – the largest stretch of wilderness in the lower 48. Students may bring a partner/spouse or family to share this experience on guided rafts, for an additional cost and if space allows.

For this special week, ZEN MASTERS works with a fully-licensed partner, Wilderness River Outfitters, to provide full guide/outfitter support for the Main Salmon trip. WRO’s experienced team of river raft guides provide and manage all camping gear, transport personal gear downriver between camps, crew oar boats, set river safety, and prepare delicious meals every day – allowing ZEN MASTERS to focus exclusively on their kayaking and fun.


**Although most students participate in the Thunder Dragon/ZEN MASTERS Main Salmon Experience as a culminating activity, please be aware this is optional and requires an additional cost per participant, on top of program tuition. If this does not work for your budget or schedule, students may elect to take the Intro to Whitewater Kayaking program without the Main Salmon experience.

PROGRAM LOGISTICS (over 8 weeks) :

• Four (4) roll practice sessions in a pool
• Twelve (12) days of on-river or flat-water kayaking instruction comprised of:
• Four (4) day trips (out in the AM, back by evening)

• Three (3) 2-day camping trips (each trip/2 days of kayaking + 1 overnight)
• One (1) 3-day kayaking trip (3 days kayaking + 2 overnights/cabin rental) *Cabin rental
additional cost shared by group
• One (1) 30-min session per week of Zen Masters Introduction to Guided Meditation




• Pre-program strength training
• Selecting gear and equipment; use and care
• Learning to correctly roll your kayak, in a pool and on a river
• Fundamental paddle strokes/technique
• Eddies
• Navigating rivers and scouting rapids
• Swiftwater safety & rescue training
• Introduction to local rivers
• Practice paddling Class I – III whitewater
• Intro to Guided Meditation & Beginner’s Mind
• ZEN MASTERS reading/viewing list


APRIL 19 – JUNE 19, 2021

Applications are considered on a rolling admissions basis from February 1, 2021 until maximum enrollment is reached or June 10th, 2021.  Space is extremely limited, early applications are strongly encouraged to avoid disappointment.

*Thunder Dragon is proud to partner with Idaho-licensed outfitters Wilderness River Outfitters and White Otter Adventures for this program.

“To watch you open yourself to “beginner’s mind” and grow through your fears & frustrations to ultimately become kayakers was incredible. Because that is what you now truly are – kayakers. In only a few short months, you went from flat water paddling in circles on Petit lake to lining up and charging into powerful rapids like Big Mallard, Elkhorn and Vinegar Creek on one of the most iconic big water Idaho wilderness river trips of all time – The River of No Return.”


– ZEN MASTERS Founder, Gerry Moffatt

Apply for the Zen Masters Whitewater Program

No prior kayaking experience is required, however, whitewater kayaking is not for the faint hearted! 

All students must be strong swimmers and comfortable in water.

Still have questions?