Sea Kayaking 111, Paddling Strokes and Rescue Techniques
Paddle Strokes and Rescue Techniques
The more you know when you start this course the further we'll take you, and the less you know, the fewer bad habits you'll have to break -- which means your learning curve will be faster than the more experienced students. Either way there's no-one too advanced for this lesson because we teach strokes and rescues from a practical point of view you won't get anywhere else, and the class size is kept small so we can challenge each student to their individual level.
Build confidence and self-reliance by learning the boat handling and safety skills needed to deal with the winds, waves, currents, and capsizes that are part of sea kayaking. This kayak lesson is no superficial introductory class -- you get two full days of on-the-water instruction including learning to roll, and no other paddle strokes class integrates rolling yet without it you won't get far in bracing, edging, steering, turning or even forward paddling. No time is wasted sitting indoors theorizing, we include free use of dry suits so you can learn outdoors in the environment you want to kayak in. This course is offered both on weekends and as the first two days of our Five-Day Training Camps.
Although this course is open to fit beginners, the level of training goes so far beyond other paddle stroke courses that it also makes a great lesson for intermediates. Even if you've been kayaking for years and have taken lots of other classes, you'll still be amazed at how much more you can learn in this course; no-one has ever been too highly skilled to benefit from this course because the more you know at the start the more we'll teach you. We guarantee that anyone who completes this course will feel it was well worth while or they will get their money back.
In this course you will learn how to perform all the paddle skills (bracing strokes, seven ways to steer in side winds without slowing yourself down, etc.) necessary to competently paddle a sea kayak without the risky limitations of relying on a mechanical rudder for steering or the kayak's stability for balance. We teach feathered, unfeathered, and Greenland style paddling technique - you choose. You will practice: wet-exits, group and self-rescues, towing swimmers and kayaks, and the Eskimo roll (last year over 90% of students who took this course learned to roll in sea kayaks, and virtually all who tried it succeeded at rolling with the help of a paddle float as a training aid.) Everyone benefits by going through our steps leading up to rolling...it improves bracing, steering, and forward paddling. Other topics include ways to improve the speed and efficiency of your forward stroke, preventing tendinitis in the wrists and shoulders, preventing shoulder dislocations, improve your kayak's comfort and functional fit, and equipment tips that can save you many times the cost of this lesson.
Today's skilled kayakers know that wearing a dry suit speeds up the learning curve and makes learning more fun by allowing you to get in the water without getting cold and wet. The Kayak Academy is the only kayak school that gives you this advantage by providing free use of drysuits in our kayak lessons. You'll also benefit from the first hand experience of learning how to put on a dry suit and wear it while swimming and paddling. Even if you already have your own drysuit, this approach means you won't be held back by other students who don't have a dry suit, and that is the reality of classes anywhere else. These are just a few of the reasons why students learn so much more in our lessons.
To take this course, you must be comfortable with putting your head under water and be able to swim the crawl stroke and breast stroke without a buoyancy aid -- you do not, however, need to be an expert swimmer (Yes we wear PFD's [life jackets] while on the water, but you still need to be a swimmer.) You should be able to lunge out of a pool without the aid of a ladder; this requirement is critical because it is very similar to what one does to re-enter their kayak after a capsize; without this ability any form of sea kayaking is dangerous, and we will not be able to allow you to continue with your lesson (we do not offer a refund for those who fail this exercise...if you are in doubt, go to a swimming pool or lake with a low dock or raft and test yourself before signing up). The better your health and fitness the more you'll get out this course and the more fun you will have; if fitness is a concern for you (i.e. weight, flexibility, back or shoulder problems), discuss your limits with us before signing up. Minimum age--eighteen (no minimum for private lessons).
After completing this course, beginning students generally feel comfortable paddling as a group in sheltered waters or going on intermediate trips provided they are led by an experienced sea kayaker (see our "Adventurous Journeys"). However, this course alone will not prepare you to lead your own trips in exposed or tidal waters; to learn these skills and gain open water paddling experience, continue your education by going on a Kayak Academy Open Water Training Camp or Adventurous Journey. Anyone who has successfully completed the Paddling Strokes & Rescue Techniques course will be eligible to advance to a Open Water Training Camp course.
Instructor: George Gronseth
Location: Tibbett's Beach, Lake Sammamish State Park (map)
Duration: 2 days (8am - 4:30pm both days)
Class Size: Typically 5 (If more than 5 students, we will add a second staff instructor and then 8 students is maximum)
Tuition: $446 (includes handouts and free use of dry suit, booties, and scull cap)
Kayak Rental: $35.00/day plus tax, delivered to the lesson. Make Rental Reservation (Includes kayak, spray-skirt, PFD, bilge pump, paddle-float, and paddle)
Parking: A Washington State Discover Pass ($30/yr.) or $10 Day Use Fee is required to drive into the State Park. Passes may be purchased from machine at park entrance or on-line at:Buy Discover Pass On-line
Please print out our Liability Release Form and bring it to the class.
Please read our Cancellation/Reschedule Policy