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New Wave Rafting New Mexico Whitewater Rafting
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New Wave Rafting Blog

Whitewater Rafting in Northern New Mexico

Category: Guide Training Program

Guide Training Program: 4/19-22, 2019. 8AM – 4 PM

The most fun you can have, and still be working!

This is the 37th year of our Guide Training Program (GTP). The GTP consists of 4 days of on-the-water instruction and a practice period that follows. Training will take place on Class 2 (easy) and Class 3 (moderate) stretches of the Rio Grande. We provide all gear for the GTP and Standard First Aid and CPR training.  The GTP equips trainees with the skills of paddle raft captaining and rowing oar boats. Also, memorizing the easier stretches they will be initially be guiding. Safety and rescue procedures and natural and human history of the river and environs are covered.

Guides train to bring a raft back over
Training to right the raft

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande Racecourse, New Mexico

Today, on the last day of the instructional phase of our Guide Training Program (GTP), the candidates are practicing on the Racecourse stretch of the Rio Grande, near Taos, NM. On their second run, I took the following movies at three rapids: Big Rocks, Sleeping Beauty and Souse Hole. The level is 1910 cfs, and it’s been raining most of the day, with the temps in the high 40s. Brrrrr!

Vince captaining through all 3 rapids. He has taken the GTP to get the training, without intending to become a guide. The other three candidates (Greg, Michael and Todd) intend to become guides, and will continue into the practice period. We look forward to seeing them join our guide corps.

The GTP group and Britt, after their first run


Big Rocks Rapid

Sleeping Beauty Rapid

Souse Hole Rapid.


Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande, New Mexico

Guide Training Program On the Rio Grande, New Mexico

This is our 35th year of operating our Guide Training Program. Seen here are our trainees for this year, with Instructor Britt Runyon Huggins, Operations Mgr.  for New Wave. The trainees start with 4 days of on-the-water instruction, which ends today, April 25. This will be followed by a practice period that  should ready these candidates for guiding by the end of May. This footage was taken on the Orilla Verde stretch (Class 2), of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, where, on their first day of training, the trainees were learning and practicing fundamental maneuvers. They are now practicing on the Racecourse stretch (Class 3), our most popular run, and will do three trips today. We consider 20 trips on the Racecourse to be the minimum necessary to adequately prepare a guide trainee, and many trainees will do considerably more.

From 2008, trainees practice surfing the raft on the Racecourse stretch

What might the Racecourse look like this season? We expect it to get quite high, and, when and if it does, it becomes Class 4 in difficulty.

Mile-long Rapid on the Racecourse section, at high water (Class 4)

After completing the program, the trainees will receive the required First Aid and CPR training, and are then ready to go. Their first assignments will be to do trips on the Class 3 Racecourse trip, which we operate twice a day. This year’s trainees (Greg, Todd and Michael) are particularly likable individuals, and we look forward to adding them to our guide corps. And we know that our guests will enjoy them, as well. Hope to see you soon!