26 thoughts on “Testimonials

  1. Though not on her schedule, Holly put together a moonlight trip on the San Marcos River for us. She’s the perfect guide – from her knowledge of the history of the river to knowing where every stick, tree, and current are to help make the most out of our paddling trip (btw- I sat up front, and my guy did all the paddling…). We highly recommend Holly if you’re interested in a canoe adventure!

  2. I took a private lesson with Holly to help me prepare for the 2016 Yukon River Quest. She quickly reconstructed my stroke to make it more efficient and powerful (and was fun to paddle with as well!). After practicing what she taught me I improved my flatwater speed by about .3 mph, equating to several hours of time saved in the YRQ. If you paddle with Holly you will get positive results.

  3. Holly is great! I have rented canoes and equipment from Holly for both the 2015 and 2016 Texas Water Safari and have taken classes with her to prepare for the race. Starting with precious little experience, I finished both years with Holly’s help. Her instruction and advice was critical to our Safari success. She’s a champion racer, but will patiently deal with those of us who don’t know so much about water sports. So whether you are thinking about a 260 mile canoe race or a looking for a canoe camp for the kids, I could not recommend her more highly.

  4. Holly was great. We were two 30 year olds that thought we knew enough to get down river and fast. OH HOW WRONG WE WERE. We rented a boat from her, she talked us through all the questions we had, she coached us where we needed help, and she did all that while we were out of town.

    We signed up to do the TWS and rented our boat from PWS and the service was awesome. We never would have done as good as we did if it weren’t for her. If you are a first timer to running the TWS and, especially if you are going in coming in from out of town or are new to the sport, Holly will make your experience better.

  5. We took several lessons from Holly and rented a canoe from her as well. This ended up working out great as we won the novice division of the Texas Water Safari. Holly was a wealth of knowledge and was happy giving us advice throughout our training regimen. We would highly recommend.

  6. I highly recommend Holly as an instructor and guide. I have used her multiple times for our church youth camp canoe/kayaking adventures. Our group always enjoys their time on the water with Paddle with Style,and parents feel confident knowing that we are in her care.

  7. “Thank goodness for Holly I never knew I needed a guide till I got on the river Even a tiny current needed a bit of guidance And not having to cook afterwards was the cherry on top We had an amazing time and would recommend to anyone Great little trip for beginners Really loved seeing my boys active and enjoying nature”

  8. GRADE: A++++++++
    What an amazing San Marcos River trip!!! Holly provided great equipment and more importantly great instruction.

    This was all delivered in the package of: Great Communication, Patience, Prepared, and enthusiasm.

    She took a group of West Texas boys with no river experience and taught us how to “Paddle With Style.”

    From the moment she started we were comfortable, because she and her team works with a smile on their face and a kind and gentle spirit. and she helps you get there quickly and with a kind method. Holly know the river and possibly knows all the rocks, trees and fish in the water. The Paddle With Style team would calmly take control of any problem and help us fix them as well and teach us how to keep that situation from being a problem in the future.

    Paddle With Style made our 4 day river trip so fun.
    Thanks so much for being flexible and fun. Trail Life Troop 619 could have not asked for a better experience. Holly knows her business.
    GRADE: A++++++++

  9. Ms.Holly taught us Canoe lessons at Hope Christian Academy on Fridays. We loved our canoe lessons because we didn’t spend hours and hours listening to rules and lessons (like we do in school), even though Ms.Holly did teach us safety lessons seriously, we got into the water almost right away!

    Each class had something new and exciting, never boring. We didn’t just paddle around. Ms.Holly knew a lot about the wildlife and wild flowers too. So we got to explore those things along the way which was really cool. We saw dear, turtles and lots of different types of wildflowers.

    Ms.Holly was good at making sure no one got out of control but she always kept calm and positive. She encouraged us to explore and discover new things and to challenge ourselves.

    The best part about the lessons was that we were not just LEARNING what to do we were actually DOING it. She didn’t just TEACH us, she helped us EXPERIENCE new things. It was the best!

  10. Being a true novice paddler looking at racing the 2015 Texas water safari ive been able to pick up a lot of the basic information from just paddling with others and watching what they do. However my partner and I decided it wouldnt hurt to take a course from Holly just to make sure we were doing the best we could. We spent a few hours on the water with her, and goodness it made us worlds better. She was kind and caring in her instructions on what to fix or work on with our stroke, she explained the benefits of making the small changes. On top of that she was able to teach us more advanced skills that later have helped us navigate through much more difficult waters. With her instruction we have been able to train smarter and not harder. I would highly recommend taking lessons through Holly no matter what your skill level is. I know I will be going back soon for her next lesson!

  11. After floundering for 2 years in a C1, I finally took a personal, one-on-one lesson with Holly. Four weeks later I paddled a training run from San Marcos City Park to Staples and, with virtually identical water levels, bested my 2013 Jr. Water Safari race time by 20 minutes. Thanks Holly!

  12. As a newbie to paddling and the safari in ’14, Holly was a Godsend. I have to say….I absolutely would not have finished the race if it had not been for Holly’s training. Here’s what we had working against us: 1)no paddling experience, much less the safari; 2)my partner lived in Singapore and we were only able to train together a grand total of 3 hours; 3,4,5)no paddling experience. So, my wife did some research and found Holly as she knew I would not be prepared for the Safari without Holly’s help. My wife (one of our team captains) and I worked with Holly on multiple occasions. She is an awesome teacher….very patient with us when we were clueless. She taught us all of the basics and watched us practice and could easily pick up things we were doing right and wrong. She taught me enough that I was able to give my buddy a crash course in paddling when he arrived from abroad the day before the race. Also, she has infinite knowledge about the safari as she has multiple finishes (and holds a new Safari Record….Go Holly). Her knowledge about race nutrition, gear, strategies,etc was priceless. There are so many nuances to that race that you don’t consider as a first timer, and she makes sure you are aware of these things and are prepared to deal with them. She also is available….I called her many times to ask questions when they came up during training. Also, if your a newbie and need a boat (or other rental gear) for the race….she has some great ones that you will have a hard time finding elsewhere. So….if you want to learn to paddle…Holly can teach you….if you want to finish the Safari…Holly will most definitely give you all the knowledge and encouragement you need to do it. Thanks Holly. You are awesome!!!
    Proud 2014 Safari Finishers Boat #0001 Novice class: Ed Ray and Wade Krause
    Finished in honor of our fallen brother 1LT Clovis T. Ray

  13. The key characteristics I look for when getting instruction is Patience, positivity and preparedness. Holly exemplifies all of these. She understands that when you first get in that boat, you aren’t comfortable, and she helps you get there quickly and with a kind method. She stays positive, helps you see what you’re doing right and helps your identify and correct your opportunities quickly. She’s prepared for anything. This comes from the fact that she’s so experienced on the river. She is prepared for anything you face on the river. For example, another pair of paddlers in our group tipped their boat and got it stuck in a sweeper. She was able to calmly take control of the situation and teach us all how to handle this situation and recover the boat and stay safe the whole time. This key learning saved me and my partner just a few weeks later.

    If you want to learn to paddle, go with Holly. If you want to finish the Texas Water Safari you should take multiple lessons from her and ask her all of your questions. Then you need to listen to her and follow those directions. She’s not pushy, but she’s right!

    We owe a great deal of our finish to Holly. She was an awesome instructor and a great person to just get to hang out with on the river. You’ll be better off for knowing her!

    Team WestWard Dynamite – 2014 Safari Novice Finishers!

  14. Two years ago I became interesting in racing the Texas Water Safari and found Holly Orr who gave me the most support I’ve received in achieving my goal of getting to the finish line. Thank you so much for your help with lessons, rental equipment, and the support I needed to succeed! Melissa James

  15. I got to spend a couple hours with Holly this week paddling on the San Marcos to help me learn steering down river and understanding the water: where to go when etc. She not only had great patience, she was clear in her communication, and ensured I understood before continuing. I have very little experience in twisty rivers and even tho I enjoy flatwater best, I am learning to enjoy the ripply stuff too. Holly helped me create some success and therefore confidence to get out there more often. Thanks Holly –

  16. My husband and I have taken several lessons from Holly and have learned SO much! We are truly novice canoers and would have been “dead in the water” without her!!! She not only helped with canoeing and paddling basics but also helped us with rack placement for our truck, best tie-downs, where to purchase them, as well as showing us how to tie down the canoe!!!! She even scheduled an impromptu lesson for us with hardly any notice!!! We’re thinking about one of her guided day trips and maybe even an over-nighter!!! We can’t think of anyone we would rather go down the river with!!! You’re in good hands with Holly!!!

  17. Thank you so much for putting on the kids canoe camp. My boys had a wonderful time and will most definitely return. I can’t get enough of their stories and the way they present them – priceless!

  18. I have had Holly work with me three different times and I have benefited each time. The first was a lesson my partner and I had just prior to the 2011 Texas Water Safari. Trust me when I say that this absolutely saved us because we were so out of sync with each other we were on the verge of a serious fracture in our friendship. Holly quickly realized and corrected our differing strokes and then taught us how to work together to get the boat do what we wanted. That made all the difference in the world as we went on to finish the Safari that year and really enjoyed our experience. She is currently working with me in my attempt to solo in The Texas Water Safari for 2012. Her lessons on how to “RACE” a marathon instead of how to just “FINISH” a marathon are making a huge difference in my training and racing in preparation for the 2012 Texas Water Safari. I highly recommend spending some time with Holly and you WILL notice a difference.
    #2112 Team N.A.D.S.

  19. I have raced with two of my kids in several races. They are 10 and 12. They also have been taking canoe lessons with Holly Orr (paddlewithstyle.com) for about 6 months and it has really helped them.
    You should really contact Holly if you are serious about getting the kids into the sport. She does a great job and is really good with the kids.

  20. Anyone considering entering the Safari for the first time, lessons with Holly should be ranked number 1 on the list. Her knowledge of race prep and paddling technique proved invaluable to our success.

    2010 Inglorious Bastards
    Successful first time safari finish

  21. Holly,
    Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for todays lesson. Although we do have experience on the water, the whole paddling a canoe will take some time to perfect. However, after your lesson today I’m sure that time will now be greatly reduced. To anyone considering a lesson, dont consider,…..think Nike and just DO IT!!! very well worth the money. Again, thanks.

    Jay-Are

  22. After finishing the Tx Water Safari this past week I have to come on and say AGAIN how much Holly has helped us!!! It did not stop with the lessons: She not only helped us with our strokes, but helped us with our food, outfitting our canoe and general support. She was there at almost EVERY check point cheering us on- and with 2 BABIES in tow!!!! I cannot say enough about this lovely, spirited, generous woman. ANYONE with the opportunity to work with her should ABSOLUTELY do so!!!!! I am at a loss for words!!!! Thank you Holly!

    First time TWS finish: 2nd place Women’s
    Team: Hot Sweaty Blondes #746

  23. Whether you are looking for recreational paddling to elite canoe/kayak racing instruction, Holly is an invaluable resource. If you have never touched a paddle before or are looking to brush up on your technique for a race, she can assist you on your way to “paddling with style”. She can also give training suggestions, gear recommendations, nutrition information, and other advice that will definitely come in handy, no matter what your goals are.

    A note to beginner paddlers for recreation: Paddling can bring a lot of fun to a weekend adventure, however, it can also bring a lot of frustration if your group does not know the basics for going straight, turning the canoe, etc. I guided river trips for 7 years; it is essential to equip your group with the basic understanding for canoeing technique no matter what age they are. Holly can teach those essential techniques and turn a potentially frustrating and negative experience into something that will be positive, fun, and not soon forgotten.

    A note to canoe/kayak racers: Reading on the paddle24seven forum will only get you so far — you need hands on experience in order to learn. What better way than a one on one instructor?

    9 safari finishes – multiple class wins

  24. Whether you’re a beginner or already have some experience under you belt, Holly will help you become a better paddler. Not only was she able to improve our technique, but she has given us great advice on every aspect of canoeing. She is knowledgeable about it all, and can provide helpful hints about the various rivers around Texas.

    First Texas Water Safari finish: 2010 Second place women’s
    Hot Sweaty Blondes #746

  25. I highly recommend Holly as an instructor. She is very patient and enthusiastic about her teaching. She is currently teaching me to single blade and I feel I am learning so much from her.

    First Texas Water Safari finish: 2010 First place women’s
    Hippie Chick #1969

  26. I learned so much from training and racing with Holly last year! I would highly recommend Holly as a canoe instructor.

    First place women’s in Texas Water Safari
    2009 Chick Boat # 279
    2010 Hippie Chick #1969

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