Hampshire College features a paddling program that is rich in its offerings and history. Students have opportunities to participate in a variety of paddling trips that range from day trips to month long adventures. Weekend trips are offered in addition to January Term and spring break. Kayaking is also offered during the fall orientation program for first year students. Local rivers including the Farmington, Millers, Deerfield, Westfield, West, Contoocook and Ashuelot are frequently paddled by Hampshire students. Pool sessions are scheduled regularly for rolling sessions and for students to try a kayak. All beginning kayaking courses include pool instructional time.
Hampshire students competed in the 1990 Nantahala International whitewater competition and in the 1991 Tropical Rainforest Festival in Costa Rica.
Participants and staff have included five Team Dagger members, several employees of whitewater companies, rodeo competitors, ACA instructors, and a former student who helped design the Perception's "Phat" kayak.
Hampshire paddling history goes back to the 1972 Olympics. The team trained at Hampshire's pool and surrounding waterways and was coached by Jay Evans, founder of Hampshire's program. World champion and Olympian Cathy Hearn entered Hampshire in 1977. Alum Lamar Sims was elected chairman of the U. S. Canoe and Kayak Team for its first Olympic competition on home water. Hampshire also lists Carol Fisher, Becky Judd, and Linda Harrison among former program staff. Hampshire ranks among the nation's top paddling colleges.