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Sea Kayak Instruction

Our instructional classes are focused on helping kayakers improve and refine their basic skills, and developing new techniques and confidence that will let them expand their boundaries. Whether teaching advanced rescues and Eskimo rolls, or the subtleties of bow rudders and hanging draws, we bring more than 15 years of paddling experience to every class.

Over the past several years we have refined our courses to focus on paddlers whom already have a solid foundation of basic skills. However, if you are new to kayaking, a private instruction session might be most beneficial. We can start with the basics and develop a solid - and safe - progression of training for you.

We teach our classes with as few as two students, so you'll get plenty of individual and customize attention that will help you advance as a paddler.

Course Offerings

We offer a variety of sea kayak instructional courses, each designed to build upon basic skills and expand your kayaking fun and safety. Our courses are designed for kayakers that already have basic paddling skills and rescue equipment. We'll take your basic skills and expand them to give you increased confidence and safety while paddling.
 

We offer the following courses:
 

Tune Up Paddle -- We're offering an evening paddle at least once a month as a chance to get out and paddle for a few hours with without committing to a full day class or private instruction. It's a great opportunity to get some refining tips for a stroke, practice a new Eskimo roll, learn a new rescue or just pick our brains. This is a bring-your-own-kayak and gear event as we find it's best to work on skills in the boat you paddle regularly. With prior coordination however, we can provide a SKUK/NDK sea kayak for you to demo/test paddle.
 

Cost: Free

2015 Dates:

 

Rolling & Recovery Essentials
A secret of many experienced paddlers is that once you know how to roll, you actually use it less often because your braces and other recovery skills get better and you capsize less. This class is designed to develop and practice recovery skills of all kinds, including low braces, high braces, sculling for support and the Eskimo roll. You'll leave with a much higher confidence level - and a smile on your face! The class runs from 8 am to 2 pm and involves plenty of time on (and in) the water. Get a good night's rest the night before because this is a very active class.
 

Prerequisites: Experience with self and assisted rescues

Limited to 4 students.

Duration: full day

Cost: $125

2015 Dates:


 

Surf Zone Strategies -- Coastal paddling along Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina provides some of the best kayaking on the Atlantic. You can paddle with dolphins,enjoy the beautiful sunrise and reach secluded beaches where you may not see another human footprint for miles. One of the challenges of coastal kayaking is launching and landing through the surf.
 

Our Surf Zone Strategies class will help you safely navigate the breakers, with an emphasis on understanding how sea kayaks interact with surf and breaking waves. We cover the dynamics of the surf zone, launching through the waves, landing in control, bracing in breaking waves and wave positioning.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes, braces and rescues. Experience with self and assisted rescues. Eskimo roll is helpful, but not required.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, spray skirt, paddle, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment, plus a helmet designed for water sports. We recommend bringing a sack lunch.

Duration: full day

Cost: $135

2015 Dates:

 

Sea Kayak Surfing -- Surfing a sea kayak is a fun and exciting way to expand your enjoyment of the sport. Our Sea Kayak Surfing class will help you expand your skills and confidence so you can get out and catch waves safely. We'll cover wave development and selection, surf etiquette, tides, currents and bottom conditions, wave positioning and surf styles.

This is a dynamic class recommended for students with solid flatwater paddling skills.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes, braces and rescues. Experience with self and assisted rescues. Eskimo roll is preferred.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, paddle, spray skirt, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment, plus a helmet designed for water sports. We recommend bringing a sack lunch.

Duration: full day

Cost: $135

2015 Dates:

 

Strokes Refinement -- Take your kayaking skills to the next level with our strokes refinement class. We'll take your basic kayaking skills and help you take them up several notches with fine tuning and advanced strokes. Improve your sculling draw, learn how edging your boat assists with turns and discover the usefulness of bow rudders, hanging draws (slide slip) and stern rudders. This course is taught in calm to moderate conditions and will also cover the effects of wind and waves on kayak maneuvering.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes, braces and rescues. Experience with self and assisted rescues.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, paddle, spray skirt, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment.

Duration: full day

Cost: $115

2015 Dates: Please call

 

Open Water Paddling, Navigation & Rescues -- There's a big difference between padding in calm, protected waters and challenging waters like the Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. Our full-day open water course will let you practice your strokes, maneuvers, rescues and navigation in coastal, open water settings.

We have found this course is great for people who have solid "flat water" skills but haven't tried a rescue where wind, waves and currents start pushing the boats around. It can be very disconcerting to exit your kayak when you're several hundred yards off the coast. Practicing your skills and learning new ones under the guidance of qualified, capable instructors will increase your confidence and paddling safety.

In addition to open water sessions, we'll cover basic chart reading and navigation techniques, tide chart interpretation and use, weather radio use, marine and shipping hazards and group management in open water conditions.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes, braces and rescues. Experience with self and assisted rescues. Eskimo roll is helpful, but not required.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, paddle, spray skirt, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment, signal devices (mirror or flares), plus a helmet designed for water sports. We recommend bringing a sack lunch.

Duration: full day

Cost: $135

2015 Dates:

 

Rescues and Towing -- Learn a variety of solo and assisted rescues and towing techniques that will help you respond in a rescue situation. Learn how and when to use each type of rescue, the pros and cons, and what to expect in real-world situations.

Topics include rafted tows, in-line tows, contact towing, T-Rescues, towing/carrying a paddler, solo rescues (cowboy scramble, burrito roll, re-enter & roll, etc.) and more. This class is great for club trip organizers and leaders, aspiring instructors and instructor candidates, guides and others who wish to improve their on-water capabilities and confidence.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic to intermediate strokes.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, paddle, spray skirt, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment. We will provide tow rigs if needed. We recommend bringing a sack lunch.

Duration: full day

Cost: $125

2015 Dates: Please call

 

Intermediate Paddling Skills -- This is an on-water workshop that will have you in and out of your kayak working on balance, movement, body and boat control, and blade placement. We spend time helping you understand the relationship between your boat, what's happening with your body (positioning, muscle groups, etc.) and your paddle.

We'll cover edging, leaning (and the differences between them), and support strokes, too. You'll end the day tired, but with a much higher level of confidence about what you can do with your kayak, and comfortable with having pushed the envelope of your skills.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes. Ability to perform self and assisted rescues. Enthusiasm for trying new things and an open mind.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, spray skirt, paddle, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment. We recommend bringing a sack lunch.

Duration: full day

Cost: $125

2015 Dates: Please call

 

Eskimo Roll & Bracing Workshop -- The Eskimo roll is the ultimate self rescue -- you recover from a capsize without even exiting the boat! It's a great rescue, and tons of fun, with many variations. We'll work with you to develop or improve the core foundation of the Eskimo roll, and then apply your new skills to righting the boat during the roll. This workshop is conducted year-round, either in a heated, indoor pool or nearby calm waters.

This workshop is limited to four students so you'll get plenty of one-on-one attention. You'll learn in YOUR boat. It's a great opportunity to improve your roll, work on an off-side roll or just play & experiment a bit.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes, braces and rescues. Experience with self and assisted rescues.
 

Equipment required: Sea kayak, spray skirt, paddle, PFD

Duration: 3 hours

Cost: $95

2015 Dates: Please call

 

Introduction to Expedition Kayaking -- Join us for an overnight kayak camping trip on one of Virginia's barrier islands as the perfect introduction to expedition kayaking and kayak camping.  This is more than a guided camping trip -- it's two days of skill development and instruction as well.  We'll spend time discussing packing and loading your kayak for the best trim, pre-launch navigation (we provide laminated chart sections for each paddler), the effect of wind and tides, weather reading and prediction, and escape routes.  Once we have the kayaks loaded we'll launch and paddle in protected bays, open water and open ocean surrounding the barrier islands, with some rough water practice in loaded boats.  Toward the end of the first day we'll navigate to an island and find a suitable camp site.  It's a great opportunity to feel how a loaded kayak behaves in open water and moderate surf conditions. camp site?

Each paddler will carry their personal gear, and food and water.  The location allows for primitive camping, with no defined sites or facilities, but plenty of soft sand.  Depending on the experience level of participants, we may schedule a pre-trip planning session for one evening a week before the trip to cover what to bring, and what not to bring. We'll also provide a checklist in advance of the outing.

The second day will feature more navigation practice, along with open water paddling skills development. There will also be plenty of time to work on individual paddling skills, as well as rolling and bracing.  We'll end the day arriving at the take out.  Note, a variation of this trip has us starting at one launch point and ending at another, some miles away, and includes shuttle to your vehicle.  Paddle distances will be approximately 20-22 miles over two days.

Prerequisites: Solid foundation in basic strokes, braces and rescues. Experience with self and assisted rescues. Eskimo roll is helpful, but not required.

Equipment required: Sea kayak, spray skirt, paddle, PFD, standard safety and rescue equipment, signal devices (mirror or flares) plus a helmet designed for water sports. We recommend bringing a sack lunch for the first day.  You'll also need camping gear, including a tent (shared tent space may be available), sleeping bag, on and off-water clothing, "camp food" and cooking gear and drinking water. Note: we can assist with cooking gear.
Cost: $195 (2 day, 1 night); $235 (3 day, 2 night) 
2015 Dates: Please call to discuss dates and options for this unique event


Private Instruction -- In addition to our regular classes and trips we often have many clients who prefer one-on-one, custom instruction. We offer private instruction year round in indoor and outdoor settings. We'll help you identify the skills you want to develop and work with you in a comfortable, fun setting. We can even bring the training to you, weekday eves or weekends.

Cost: $35/hr with 2 hr minimum / $85 half-day (3 hr) / $150 full-day (6 hr)

 

Instructor Training -- We provide American Canoe Association (ACA) instructor training and certifications up to Level 3, Coastal Kayaking. The instructor certification process is generally divided into two muti-day phases, the Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and the Instructor Certification Exam (ICE).
 

If you are interested in becoming an ACA certified instructor, we encourage you to read the ACA's instructor criteria (pdf format) or the FAQs about instructor certification.
 

ACA L1-L3 Instructor Development Workshop (IDW): The IDW is a three-day workshop for aspiring ACA-certified kayaking instructors with a strong emphasis on developing effective teaching skills and improving paddling skills.  Participants are assigned lesson topics in advance of the workshop and come prepared to "teach" their lessons to the other participants. There are on-water and off-water teaching sessions, with critiques after each "lesson" help the aspiring instructor improve either the information covered or their presentation skills.


There are also on-water practical exercises & scenarios - towing, rescues, etc., along with sessions on modeling strokes followed by a video taping session for subsequent stroke analysis.

Cost: $300

2015 Dates:
 

ACA L1-L3 Instructor Certification Exam (ICE): The ICE is a two-day practical examination of teaching and paddling skills, separated by a few weeks to give aspiring instructors time to tune-up any paddling and teaching skills before the exam.  Successful candidates can attain certification as an ACA Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 Coastal Kayak instructor.

Cost: $250

2015 Dates: 

 

Courses Available:

Customized, Private Instruction:

Let us work with you or your paddling group to improve your skills in a flexible, on-water session that is customized to your unique needs and areas where you want to advance.

Do you want to improve your roll, practice rolling in the surf zone, learn towing and rescues? We can develop a custom class, just for you! Weekends and weeknight sessions are available!

Call 757-439-3179 or contact us for more information.

"Success! I rolled the kayak! I liked how Tom and Ed altered their pace and teaching style according to individual personality, comfort level, etc. "

--Dorrie, Virginia Beach

"The intructors' knowledge and energy were top-shelf. You guys rock!"

-- Rick, Williamsburg, VA

"I want to thank both Ed and Tom for their time and instruction. They remained positive in every aspect of their training, offering support and encouragement throughout."

-- John, Virginia

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