Balance and Bracing


This practical clinic is designed to give you confidence with your bracing skills. You will practice techniques to balance your kayak on edge and use the low brace, high brace, and sculling to prevent a possible capsize. As well, you will learn to scull for support, a skill which can be used to prevent immersion during a partial capsize. Finally, you will learn the balance brace, a method to lay on the surface of the water while remaining seated in your kayak. This bracing technique was used by traditional Inuit kayakers for resting while at sea. You will feel empowered after gaining these skills!

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Please arrive at your course location 10-15 minutes early; after meeting your instructor(s) and classmates, you will learn the following skills:

  • Edging a kayak
  • Low brace
  • High brace
  • Sculling brace
  • Balance brace (optional)
  • Sculling for support

For your safety and enjoyment, we ensure that groups with more than 4 participants are led by two experienced instructors. Our minimum group size is 3 participants and 1 instructor; our maximum group size is 8 participants and 2 instructors.

Full Itinerary – PDF: Itinerary for Balance & Bracing

Equipment List

Please read the following equipment list below carefully, as it indicates what you will need to bring with you on the program. Ocean River Sports stocks many of the items listed. If you need advice or would like to purchase gear, please visit us or check out our online store!

Cotton keeps you cold when it’s wet, and takes a long time to dry. If possible, bring clothing designed for outdoor wear and made from Merino (wool), silk, or synthetic materials, such as polyester, polypropylene, or nylon.

*indicates optional item.

Personal Gear

  • If you wear glasses, an extra pair and retainer strap; if you wear contacts bring an extra pair
  • *Nose plug or diving mask


  • Swimsuit and towel. A merino, silk or synthetic long underwear top can optionally be worn. Underwear can provide additional warmth, even when wet. Females may wish to wear nylon shorts over their swimsuit.
  • Footwear for wearing while paddling (that can get wet); e.g., sport sandals (with heal strap), running shoes, wetsuit booties, or reef shoes with good soles.
  • A change of footwear for wearing before and after paddling, such as a trail running shoe, light hiking shoe, or rubber boots.

Kayak and Paddling Gear:

You will need a sea kayak and paddling gear for your program. You can either rent these from us for an additional fee, or you can provide your own sea kayak and paddling gear if you already own or have access to these.

If you are renting a sea kayak and paddling gear from Ocean River Sports (or if a sea kayak and paddling gear are included in the price of your program), you will be provided with the following items as one complete package:

  • Sea kayak.
  • Paddle.
  • Sprayskirt.
  • PFD (Personal Flotation Device): Canadian Coast Guard approved.
  • Whistle.
  • Hand pump.
  • Throw-line (buoyant heaving line at least 15 meters in length).
  • Paddle float.
  • *Spare paddle (optional)
  • *Sponge (optional): for drying out hatches

If you are providing your own kayak and paddling gear for your program, you must provide the paddling gear listed above, and your sea kayak must meet the following requirements**: (1) is suitable for open sea conditions; (2) has positive buoyancy when capsized; (3) is able to adequately carry gear as required for the program; and (4) has perimeter lines. Please note: recreational kayaks that do not meet the above requirements are not suitable for our programs. If you have questions about the suitability of your kayak, please contact us. If your program takes place in an indoor pool, please ensure your kayak and gear are clean of dirt, sand, and debris.

**Exceptions: (1) whitewater kayaks are permitted on our Rolling clinic; and (2) surf skis or Olympic style kayaks with bulkheads or flotation bags are permitted on our Perfect Your Forward Stroke clinic.


Waiver/Medical Forms

Please review the following form prior to your program. Please sign/initial the form in the presence of your instructor/guide, who will act as your witness.

Ocean River Sports Waiver (PDF)


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We're located in Downtown Victoria, Oak Bay, and Saturna Island.
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