Loma Prieta Paddlers (LPP) is a whitewater kayaking club, based in the South Bay and beyond.  If you are new to kayaking, new to the area or are just  looking for a group of fellow paddlers; check us out.

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Paddling Trips

Being out on the river is the reason most of us took up the sport of kayaking.  Each spring our paddling schedule for the year starts to take shape.   We usually have a Memorial  Day trip to the Trinity, several during the spring snow melt, a "get your bunny wet" trip on the North Fork of the American around Easter, South Fork of the American  Camp Lotus Weekends each month from June-September, a Kings River trip in the later summer and the Mokelumne River races in September.  Toss in an assortment of other trips run by club members and there is something going on most every weekend from April through September

When rivers are low (or very high), typically November through March, we'll occasionally do a surf kayak trip to a nearby ocean beach, such as Pacifica, Bolinas, or Santa Cruz. Another option is Elkhorn Slough, Monteray Bay or San Francisco Bay.

Club trips tend to be on Class II or III rivers (for beginners or intermediates), because that's the level that the majority of paddlers enjoy.  Club members often arrange private trips to a wide variety of rivers and excitement levels.

We don't publish our trip schedule on this website, but we do freely distribute it at the monthly club meetings and via our email list server to all club members. 

Our trips happen because paddlers step up and volunteer to lead a trip. If you're interested talk to a club menter; it's a great way to improve your river skills and give back to the paddling community.

Past Trips

The trips that club members put on the schedule vary from year to year depending on water, weather and who volenteers to lead a trip.

To give you an idea of the types of trips we run here's a list of the trips from the 2010 paddling season.

Date Class Description
Feb 28 II+ Cache Creek Wilderness Run
March 27-28 II or III Merced River
April 3 II North Fork American - Shirttail run
April 10-11 II,III Merced River - "Camp Merced Weekend" Suspension to Briceburg & Indian Flat to Suspension
April 16-18 III King's River Banzai Run 3-day Weekend
May 7-9 III/IV Upper Sacramento River
May 14-16 III, IV Merced River - Red Bud to Suspension
May 15 II+ Cache Creek - Rumsey Run
May 29-31 II,III,IV LPP Memorial Day Trinity Weekend Trip, New River IV, Canyon Creek IV, Trinity Pigeon Pt III, White Bar II , French Bar II
June 5-6 II,III Merced River - "Camp Merced Weekend Suspension to Briceburg, Redbud to Suspension
June 12 II South Fork American River - Coloma to Greenwood
June 26-27 II,III South Fork American River - "Camp Lotus Weekend" C-to-G, Gorge, Chili Bar
July 9-11 II,III,IV Merced River
July 17-18 II,III South Fork American River - "Camp Lotus Weekend" C-to-G, Gorge, Chili Bar
August 1 III+ McCloud River
August 6-8 III Kings River
August 14-15 II,III South Fork American River - "Camp Lotus Weekend"
August 28 II South Fork American
September 11-12 II,III South Fork American River - "Camp Lotus Weekend"
September 24-26 Slalom & Downriver Races - Mokelumne River --THE MOKE RACES
October 9-10 II,III South Fork American River - "Camp Lotus Weekend"

Joining A Trip

A club trip comes to life when a member volunteers to lead a trip. That trip leader handles signups, trying to make sure the trip has sufficient skilled paddlers to support the newer and less experienced boaters. He or she generally limits trip size. (The typical maximum is 8 to 10, but this may vary depending on many variables.).

If there is a trip you would like to go on all you need to do is contact the trip leader and let them know you'd like to be on their trip. Trip leader contact information is on the trip schedule and their names and contact info are also on the club roster. Please contact the trip leader as soon as you know you'll be joining the trip.  Trip leaders need advance notice in order to finish their trip planning.  It's important to make sure the group has the right experience level for the river conditions and that camping and logistics are set for the group size.  Please don't just show up at the put-in asking to join a trip.

Try to sign up for a trip that you think is within your skill level rather than too challenging, particularly as you are just starting out. The trip leader will be able to help on this, but it is difficult to judge how people will react to moving water and real-time decisions. When in doubt, remember, you can always do the easier run this time, and sign up for the other run the next time it's offered. If you have any special physical or time constraints, explain these when you first call.  If the leader doesn't know you or your paddling skills they will ask you a few questions about you paddling background to make sure they feel comfortable with your skills for the particular conditions expected on this river.  For your and the group's safety it's important that your skills fit into the group's skill levels and the expected river conditions.

The trip leader will let everyone know the meeting place and time a few days before the trip.  This is usually done via phone or email. 

What to Bring

Here's a list of the kinds of things you should be packing for a trip.  Everybody adapts their equipment list to their needs and paddling situation.

  • Boat
  • Paddle
  • PFD
  • Helmet
  • Spray skirt
  • Float bags
  • Appropriate paddling clothes for the weather and water conditions. 
  • Take-out bag with dry clothes
  • Footwear 
  • Dry bag 
  • Lunch
  • Water bottle with water
  • Suntan lotion
  • First Aid kit
  • Spare paddle
  • Gear bag for put-in and one for take-out gear
  • Throwbag
  • Whistle
  • River knife
  • Rescue gear
  • Sun glasses
  • Chap stick
  • Map to the put-in and contact phone numbers
  • River Safety management plan and other river information
  • Small bills to help pay for put-in, take-out & parking fees
  • Extra car key
  • Racks and extra straps if you'll be running a shuttle with your car

How a Trip Works

Check your gear packing carefully before leaving home. Make sure you show up with everything you need. Remember you'll need your helmet, PFD and float bags as minimum safety equipment in order to paddle on the trip.

Bring your own lunch and water bottles, ready to stash in your boat.

Make sure you know how long to allow for the drive. Show up a bit early, so you have time to get yourself and your boat ready by the appointed rendezvous time.

Make sure you arrive with plenty of gas in your car for doing a shuttle.

Make sure your put-in gear (EVERYTHING you'll need on the river, including your lunch) and take-out gear (what you'll need right after the trip) are separate and as ready as possible when you arrive. Your put-in gear will go in a vehicle headed for the top of the run; your take-out gear heads towards the bottom. You may sometimes not see the put-in car after the trip; if you're unsure, ASK about this before planning to leave some bag or basket in that car.

If you've driven, expect to participate in the shuttle. Generally, the trip leader will do the advanced math required to figure out the shuttle. The usual plan is to get all the boats and people to the put-in using as few vehicles as possible, while driving all the other vehicles to the take-out, with a spare car to carry all those drivers back up to the top, so they can go boating, too. After the trip, unfortunately, somebody has to drive back up to the top, to bring drivers of put-in vehicles to reunions with their vehicles. There are many variations, depending on the location of the put-in and take-out relative to the road back home at the end of the day, the length of the trip, the length of the shuttle, the quality of roads involved, the numbers of people and boats, and the schedule constraints of individuals.

The typical trip has 8 to 10 paddlers, but fewer are usually better. The group may include 1 to 3 first-time-on-the-river paddlers, 3 to 4 paddlers who have been on previous beginner trips, and a few intermediate paddlers as safety boaters or to warm up after a break from paddling.

On beginner trips, the trip leader will probably begin with a safety talk.  Pay attention; ask questions about anything on which you're not absolutely clear. If you have any special medical needs (such as bee-sting allergies), make sure the leader knows the situation and knows where your medications are, with any special instructions for administration. (Pack them in a dry bag and bring them with you.)

The group will usually have a competent paddler assigned as the lead boat and another as the sweep boat at the end of the group. The rest of the group should stay between these two boats. Try not to get ahead of the lead boat; if you find yourself ahead, eddy out as soon as possible. If you are having a difficult day, don't dawdle at the rear with the sweep boat, as it would be difficult for paddlers who are downstream to help if you get in trouble. So, stay somewhere in the middle of the pack, don't bunch up, and keep an eye on the lead boat.

The objective of most trips is not to get down the river as soon as possible.  We'll take time to play on waves or holes, scout rapids or work on alternate routes or moves through a rapid.  It's not end result, but the journey that makes the trip fun.  On beginner trips we take extra time to work with new paddlers and find good spots to try surfing, ferries and rolling.

Remember to thank your trip leaders. They are mere mortals just like you and I. They just have more river experience, with an interest in passing on some of their river sense and enjoyment to the next group of paddlers. Even experienced trip leaders are fallible; don't expect them to be perfect. Let's all appreciate the efforts they make to try to give us fun, valuable days on the river.  Everybody makes mistakes; on the river, we hope they are minor ones. The trip leader's function is to basically provide the guidance and organization needed to provide a safe and hopefully enjoyable trip on the river. The point here is that whitewater boating does have some risks associated with it, as with any other outdoor activities. Each person is responsible to a large degree for his or hr own safety. Do not try to delegate this to the trip leader. Remember, our trips are basically a cooperative effort.