ZEN MASTERS founder Gerry Moffatt is one of the world’s most experienced river professionals, with over 40 years of river expeditions under his belt including decades operating a groundbreaking rafting company in the Himalayas and training raft guides worldwide. Here on our beautiful Idaho rivers, river-rafting doesn’t have to be left only to the professionals… learning how to row and rig your own raft for day trips, or multi-day river trips can be a satisfying and fun adventure for you and your loved ones. Join Gerry on this unique ZEN MASTERS Intro to Rafting program and experience how the right instruction, experience, equipment, and choice of water levels can open up an exciting new world of river-based adventure!

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The Program

The ZEN MASTERS BOATMEN/BOATWOMEN Intro to Rafting program is a “full package” immersion experience designed to provide enthusiastic beginners with a unique, world-class foundation in recreational, self-support rafting skills. Over the course of 7 weeks, students participate in a carefully sequenced curriculum covering equipment/gear, the fundamentals of raft rigging, oaring techniques, river navigation (including rapids), and swift water safety training. By immersing students in on-river instruction, including a mixture of day excursions and a few overnights, ZEN MASTERS ensures that students grow in proficiency, confidence and having fun. 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 privatedeparture/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 raft 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 highly qualified team of assistant instructors and safety boaters. This is an unforgettable opportunity to experience rowing 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 learning 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 Rafting program without the Main Salmon experience.

PROGRAM LOGISTICS (over 7 weeks):

  • Eleven (11) days of on-river instruction comprised of:
    • Three (3) day trips (out in the AM, back by evening)
    • Four (4) 2-day camping trips (each trip/2 days of rafting + 1 overnight)
  • One (1) 30-min session per week of Zen Masters Introduction to Guided Meditation




• Pre-program strength training
• Gear & equipment
• Raft rigging
• Oaring techniques
• Navigating rivers and scouting rapids
• Swiftwater safety & rescue training
• Introduction to local rivers
• Practice running Class I – III whitewater
• Intro to Guided Meditation & Beginner’s Mind
• ZEN MASTERS reading/viewing list


May 5 – June 29, 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 rafting experience is required, however, whitewater rafting is not for the faint hearted! 

All students must be strong swimmers and comfortable in water.

Still have questions?