Monthly Archives - November 2015

In-raft guide

Whitewater Rafting Duluth, Minnesota: The Benefits of an In-Raft Guide

In-raft guideA lot of tour and adventure companies have professional guides. Being a professional is a label that can be assigned to those that deserve the status and, unfortunately, to those that don’t. It seems that in this day and age if you get paid to do something then you are considered a professional at that task or service. There for if you get paid to guide then you are a professional guide. There are many ways in which one can be a professional guide and many ways in which professional guided can mean and be interpreted. When it comes to whitewater rafting near Duluth, Minnesota we aim to set the bar for what a professional guide is.

When it comes to whitewater rafting on the St. Louis River at Swiftwater Adventures we have professional guides in several capacities while you are on the river with us. For starters, each raft has a professional in-raft guide. In addition to this, each trip has a safety kayaker who is the trip leader. These trip leaders have a minimum of 5 years experience raft guiding, are certified in Wilderness First Aid or First Responder and are certified in Swift Water Rescue. On larger trips with several rafts there may be two trip leaders on the river. So every trip there is decades of experience on the river. Our trip leaders have over 50 years of combined experience guiding on the St. Louis River and also across the world!

There are several benefits to having an in-raft guide to steer you down the St. Louis River:

Professional In-Raft guide

First off, you have a professional in raft guide that has been trained by experienced trip leaders steering you down the river. We train our guides to not only to steer you effectively, efficiently, and safely down the river but to also maximize your fun. Our guides are out to give you a personable, fun, and safe experience.

Our goal to define what a professional is to achieve the things above, and go beyond!

Increased Safety

How could any logical argument be made claiming that there is any safer way to run a raft trip than having a trained in raft guide steer you down? Obviously someone who is trained and has run the river multiples will be more effective and safer than someone with little or no prior experience steering a raft.

Think of fun and safety like this: if you are hurt or angry you are less likely to have fun. With an in raft guide you are (way) less likely to get stuck on rocks, flip a raft in high water because nobody leaned into a wave or because you hit it sideways, and to hit the smoothest lines in a rapid. Having an in raft guide increases you safety and fun.

Focus on Fun

Obviously being safe will increase your fun. Not to mention there will be less stress and arguing amongst the group if the guide is managing the ship and everyone is working together. This means seldom getting stuck on rocks or not at all, more efficient use of your group’s energy, hit the best waves, and run the safest and most fun lines in the rapids.

If you come whitewater rafting while in Duluth, Minnesota with us you will see that our goal is to give you a fun and safe trip.

More Interaction

Having an in raft guide and other guides enhances your ability to interact with us and learn more about the river or region. We can offer you, if you like, an interpretive experience. Our river genies can quickly answer questions you have about the next rapid or about the river or the area. Our trip leaders are knowledgeable of the river ecosystem from geology to flora and fauna to history we have stories and knowledge to share with you!

Our trip leaders have taken thousands of people whitewater rafting near Duluth, Minnesota on the St. Louis River. I, Cliff, have personally guided on the St. Louis since 2002 teaching whitewater paddling and guiding rafts from 2003 to the present. Lucas Aker has been a guide and trip leader since 1997! No one has run the St. Louis River more than him! From high to low water Lucas has seen it all!

Give us a call and book your whitewater rafting trip today!


Whitewater Rafting Duluth, Minnesota: Paddlemania—St. Louis River Rendezvous

It seemed different but not out of place to be giving a safety speech on the Lower St. Louis River to a group of rafters. It was the first commercial whitewater rafting trip on the Lower section of the St. Louis River. Quick side note if you are going whitewater rafting in Duluth, Minnesota the St. Louis River is where you would go. Anyways, we had rafted the Lower with our team several times to train our guides and dial in the trip. Now here we were doing a trip to kick off to the 2015 Paddlemania—St. Louis River Rendezvous.

Paddlemania—St. Louis River Rendezvous is a two part name because it is the marriage of two whitewater events. Paddlemania was established 16 years ago through the efforts of Joerg Steinbach and support through whitewater kayak outfitters and companies. It began on the St. Croix River and eventually made it to the St. Louis River four years ago. the goal of Paddlemania was to bring kayakers together to demo boats, have a fun race, and to hang out.

The St. Louis Rendezvous has been around since the 1990’s. It originated as a slalom event and later added a whitewater freestyle competition. Since then whitewater playboats have changed and the highway 210 feature was no longer desirable for playboaters to demonstrate their freestyle moves. The flood of 2012 had also put the kibosh on it.

In 2014 Swiftwater Adventures teamed up with UM-Duluth’s Recreational and Outdoor Sports Program to bring back paddling events to the region. Through the support of dozens of great sponsors and volunteers Paddlemania—St. Louis River Rendezvous was back in a new way. Our goal was to showcase whitewater rafting and kayaking near Duluth, Minnesota and to bring the paddling community together.

The 2015 Paddlemania—St. Louis River Rendezvous featured a great line up for experienced and newbie paddlers as well serve as a resource for those looking to get into whitewater paddling. The event was planned to coincide with a scheduled release through the Thomson Dam (the section of the St. Louis River that flows through Jay Cooke St. Park). Here is what the event offered:

Blast to the Bridge Downriver Race

This race was for experienced whitewater kayakers as they raced through challenging class III to V rapids from below the Thomson Dam to the Swinging Bridge in Jay Cooke St. Park. In 2015 there were 28 racers, complete with a women’s division. The swinging bridge was packed with spectators as the winner, Johnathon Sisely, paddled under the finish line.

Team Rafting

Team whitewater rafting? Yes! Teams of five paddled through a ¼ mile slalom course then paddled the remaining miles to the take out. Four paddlers and a guide in the back navigated their way through several slalom gates. That Saturday over 80 people competed in the rafting event.

Slalom Competition

Many kayakers competed in a for fun slalom competition. Additionally, a special slalom event was set up for the youth paddlers to show case their skills. These same hard working and hard charging kids were the ones who set up the slalom course.

Paddling Community

Overall this event was about bringing the paddling community together. The variety of events allowed for expert boaters to have a challenging race, newbies paddled the Upper and parts of the Lower sections of the St. Louis River, people of all whitewater skills participated in the team Rafting, and everyone shared in the fun. The event proves that whitewater rafting and kayaking near Duluth, Minnesota is top notch!

To learn more about Paddlemania—St Louis River Rendezvous visit: