PNW Paddle Profile: Nicole Smedegaard
Southern Oregon local and decade deep river guide Nicole Smedegaard has launched a new business Nature Nicole Whitewater (NNWW) LLC which serves in educating the river community (both private boaters and guides). Her company offers hands-on river based skills, safety, and Swiftwater Rescue instruction for boating enthusiasts of all inflatable craft.
Smedegaard, in addition to her many years as a guide, has 15 years of Outdoor Education under her belt. After obtaining a BA in English from the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene, Nicole was formerly the Education Director and Outdoor Recreation Instructor at Walama Restoration Project and for the City of Eugene River House Outdoor Center. She continues to guide on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, in addition to running her business.
Looking through her River Log, it’s overflowing with each year bringing more river days than the last. In 2021 Nicole spent 150 days on the river and rowed or paddled 1,550 miles including commercial trips on the lower Rogue and private trips all over the west coast and Idaho. Nicole’s personal boating passion is for exploratory missions and most recently to maneuver smaller R2 crafts to the creeks of the Klamath Mountains, where access necessitates hiking in.
NNWW operates as a guide and instructor service on the Rogue River to offer accessible instruction that meets the needs of diverse participants. Courses are aimed at educating students of whitewater rafting, rowing or paddling. Instruction is appropriate for all levels from the beginner to advanced boater looking to expand their skills and expertise.
“Being prepared to both self-rescue and rescue others in a dynamic river environment is a multifaceted skill set requiring training and experience which culminates in the ability to anticipate where problems will arise,” explains Nicole. “On the river there is a balance between learning from others and learning by doing. Both modes of learning are essential. NNWW courses are designed so participants learn essential concepts and then immediately put those concepts into practice on the water. Swiftwater courses teach both soft skills and hard skills; how to be in the right place at the right time, ready to lead your group to prevent accidents and mitigate risks, as well as how to physically avoid river hazards and appropriately utilize rescue gear.”
NNWW Services, Classes, and Instructional Offerings
- Class I-IV Whitewater skills Instruction: R2, Rowing, Paddle Guiding & Inflatable Kayaking
- Swiftwater Rescue 4 Certification and River Safety & Rescue 3 courses through the ACA
- Women's Winter Whitewater Workshops: Free community building private trips
- Family River Safety classes: For youth and teens accompanied by their adult guardians
- Custom and private instruction
- Scenic Float Tours: Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching
- Water-based Event Safety for river festivals and races
- River Cleanup Events