World Class Kayak Academy | Athletics



If academics are the core of World Class, then athletics are the heart of the school. Students are prepared for the rigors of paddling challenging whitewater. Student going over waterfallThrough sports, they learn to focus their energy, set goals, achieve results, and build confidence. Athletics is a course at the World Class Kayak Academy because it gives the school a vehicle to expose students to amazing learning experiences.

Morning workouts are an essential part of the WCA's mission to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. Being an athlete is a core part of what it means to become a kayaker and is a fundamental aspect of our program. The chance to truly dedicate yourself to becoming the best you can be is a privilege that not many people get in their lifetime. Students are able to train in a supportive atmosphere where safety and skills are paramount.

As World Class teaches college preparatory classes, it also trains young paddlers for the next level of kayaking. Through this daily challenge, kayaking gives students the confidence to solve problems in all other aspects of life, and provides an opportunity for the best young kayakers to train while receiving a high school education.


Given a foundation in basic skills and a passion for freestyle kayaking WCKA will take you to locations throughout the world in search of the best rivers, playspots, and competitions. The training program is designed to promote safety, skill acquisition, and athleticism while following this pursuit. In doing so, students find themselves prepared for the challenges of whitewater kayaking and the ability to perform accordingly.

Students scouting river

In any given semester students’ goals to complete can vary from recreational paddling to having a top performance at Worlds. As a competitive training regimen will prepare students of all motivations for optimal performance, whether it is learning a difficult freestyle move, running a challenging river, or scoring points in a competitive freestyle ride, WCKA teaches success.

A Typical Week of Training

  • Weekdays usually involve two workouts a day: cross-training in the morning before school and a paddling session in the afternoon.
  • Cross-training workouts are designed to promote aerobic endurance, flexibility, strength, and injury prevention.
  • Afternoon paddling sessions will usually consist of surfing at a nearby playspot or visiting the nearby whitewater run.
  • Paddling workouts focus on the joy of learning new skills with technique-building drills and freestyle strategy games.
  • Mock rodeos and competitions are held periodically to gain competitive experience.
  • On weekends if an event is not scheduled, river runs are the usual activity as they require more time on the water and longer shuttles.
  • Non-paddling options include relaxing, catching up on schoolwork, or taking in the culture.


Director | Producer | Editor

Rush is one of WCKA’s farthest traveled alumni. Raised on the banks of California’s Salmon River, Rush began developing his skills as a filmmaker from the age of 12.  To date, Rush has created eight award-winning whitewater kayaking films and has honed his filmmaking skills on location in some of the planet’s wildest places, from Pakistan to Patagonia to Northern Uganda. In addition to his Documentary films, Rush has also directed commercials and produced content for clients such as National Geographic, Red Bull, Toyota, GoPro, and the Mexican Board of Tourism. After a one year stint in film school at the Art Institute in Vancouver B.C., Rush went on to found River Roots, a media production house based in his adopted hometown of White Salmon, Washington. Rush also does music as a side hobby, with his latest album, “A Life Worth Living,”  garnering more than one million plays on Spotify and Apple Music.

"World Class gave me the opportunity to paddle and study in different countries around the world. It was a stepping stone toward the next level of kayaking for me. However, it is without a doubt more than just the paddling. WCKA teaches you about the realities of developing countries and the importance of working as a team. Lifelong friendships are made and lessons learned that apply to this diverse world we live in. I am extremely thankful to have graduated from such an incredible program."


  • 1st Place: 2012 Rider Of The Year Awards "Expedition Of The Year"
  • 1st Place: 2011 Rider Of The Year Awards "Best Line"
  • 1st Place 2010 Rider Of The Year Awards "Best Downriver Freestyle"


  • 2003 Junior World Champion
  • First descent: Inga Rapids, Congo River (largest rapids on earth)
  • Outside Magazine: "20 Greatest Athletes Now"
  • Outside Magazine: “Adventurer Of The Year”
  • Outdoor Industry Foundation: "Outdoor Idol Of The Year"
  • 2nd Place 2015 "Rey Del Rio Waterfall World Championships."
  • 2nd Place 2014 Whitewater Grand Prix
  • 3rd Place 2011 Whitewater Grand Prix
  • "Hail Mary" and "Pistol Flip" inventor
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