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 embrace the spirit of authentic adventure and begin a life-long love affair with the river.


Our unique ZEN MASTERS Whitewater Programs are designed to successfully introduce you to kayaking as a skills-based anchor for exploring the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” – an approach to life that lessens the limitations of ego.  While learning the skills needed to become proficient and safe whitewater kayakers, ZEN MASTERS immerses students in a special curriculum designed to support a growth mindset and provide tools for embracing personal change.

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The 5 Week Program

Our 5-week program is the ultimate “full package” world-class dive into learning whitewater kayaking skills and opening Beginner’s Mind. Students enjoy 4 weeks of intensive instruction learning the basics of stroke technique, rolling, and river running in addition to participating in Zen Masters’ guided meditation sessions, a personal resilience workshop, and discussing a curated list of Zen readings, growth mindset talks and presentations.


This program finishes with an extraordinary 5th week “graduation experience” that brings together 4 weeks of physical and spiritual study into 6 days/5 nights of applied learning:  Thunder Dragon’s July 16-21 private departure/invitation-only Main Salmon River Experience – one of the most iconic wilderness river trips in North America.  ZEN MASTERS students will be proficient enough by the end of the 4-week course to tackle kayaking most of the Main Salmon’s 90 miles of Class I, II, and III whitewater in their own boats. ZEN MASTER founder Gerry Moffatt, along with assistant instructors and safety boaters, will lead and instruct every day. This is an unforgettable opportunity to experience kayaking 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.

The 4 Week Program

For ZEN MASTERS students whose schedule or budget can’t accommodate the culminating 6-day Main Salmon river trip, our four-week program is a wonderful alternative.


Students will still benefit from the  4 weeks of intensive whitewater instruction and Beginner’s Mind curriculum. Most students should be ready by the end of the 4 weeks to safely tackle Class II and III whitewater and continue independently developing their new-found skills.

The ZEN MASTERS™ 4-Week and 5-Week Whitewater Programs include:

  • Five (5) 2-hour, evening pool-based roll practice sessions (2 sessions in Week One, 1 session per week for Weeks Two, Three and Four)
  • Ten (10) days of kayaking (a combination of several different day trips and two separate multi-day overnight trips)
  • One (1) session per week of Zen Masters Introduction to Guided Meditation: 4 total Guided Meditation Sessions (30 minutes each)
  • One (1) 3-hour Thunder Dragon Workshop: Essential Tools for Managing Personal Resilience (a ½ day class)

The 5-Week Program adds the Thunder Dragon Main Salmon River Experience (6-days/5 nights) in addition to the above instructional days


Program Curriculum:

  • Proper gear and equipment selection, use and care
  • Learning to roll your kayak, in a pool and on a river
  • Fundamental paddle strokesIntroduction to reading rivers & hazards
  • Introduction to scouting rapidsSwiftwater rescue training
  • Learning to paddle Class I, II, and III whitewater (depending on students)
  • ZEN MASTERS reading/viewing list (required for in-class discussions)


The 2021 Thunder Dragon Main Salmon Experience is from July 16-21, 2021 and includes:

  • Full professional outfitter support including rafts, camping gear, 3-course meals
  • Full kayak instruction every day
  • Partner spouse welcome (for additional fee of $2400 per person)


June 15th - July 13th

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?