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Basic Kayak Skills (Paddle Canada)


This inspiring course will introduce you to the skills and knowledge you need to safely start kayaking. It is suitable for new paddlers on their path through a nationally accredited curriculum; or for paddlers who already have some experience, but are looking for some formal instruction. You will learn basic paddling skills, including forward and reverse paddling, drawing your kayak sideways, and edging (intentionally leaning your kayak). As well, you’ll have the opportunity to experience what it feels like to capsize in a kayak, how to be rescued by another kayaker, and how to rescue a paddling partner who has capsized. Finally, we’ll discuss useful information to round out your understanding of kayaking, including aspects of boat design, safety equipment, and proper clothing. This course teaches you the necessary components for Paddle Canada Basic Kayak Skills Certification within the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Program.

Equipment List

Please read the equipment list below carefully, as it indicates what Ocean River Sport will provide you on this overnight program in moderate sea conditions. A link to the comprehensive equipment list follows; please refer to it for a list of all items we recommend to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. Ocean River Sports stocks many of the items listed. If you need advice or would like to purchase gear, please check out our online store and read our Kayaking Gear List entry in the Compass Blog.

For this program, Ocean River Sports provides:
Wetsuit; Paddling jacket; First Aid Equipment; Kayak and Paddling Gear Rental (if desired)

*If you like, you may also wish to provide your own wetsuit and paddling jacket or drysuit. If you are providing your own, please ensure that it is comfortable for paddling for extended periods and will keep you warm during immersion.


To read all of our reviews, click on the Trip Advisor logo below! TA_550x370

We took a one day basic certification kayak training class with Ocean River this weekend. The kayaks were good and they provided pfds and wetsuits for everyone. We learned about safety rules and what to consider when purchasing gear. We learned a number of different strokes, how to get out of the kayak underwater and how to perform a rescue. Our instructors Jeanette and Gary were great. They explained very clearly, kept the class moving but also accomodated things for people who had physical limitations. They are very professional and they take certification seriously. Physically, it is a challenging day so you need to be well rested and bring a good picnic lunch. Wear warm synthetic or wool clothing, not cotton, and water shoes. Pack a change of clothing and a towel. Bring ear plugs, swim goggles and a nose plug if you think they will help when doing the underwater exit. Most people have concerns about the exit, but we learned step by step, in shallow water, with one on one attention from our instructors. It was completely fine. We would recommend this course and we plan to do the next level.

– JanetKat

Lee and Jeanette were fabulous instructors! Very professional, efficient (brought extra gear for everyone! Offered advice on the gear we owned, and offered rich suggestions for future safety and comfort!) They made the day lots of fun, including capsizing and rescues! We learned a lot!!! Thank you!

-Neil & Cheryl Turner

Peter & I took the intro course for kayaking at Thetis last Saturday & had a very good experience. Gary is an excellent instructor! He was calm, confident, & very thorough. We never felt rushed or pushed to do anything we did not feel comfortable doing. There was a good mix & pace of information, history, instruction & practice time for each stroke or rescue technique. The group was small so we each had some individual attention.
I have already raved about this course to several friends & recommend it to any beginners. Even though we are both experienced boaters since childhood (canoes, sailing dinghies & bigger boats) kayaking is new to us. We will both feel more confident on the water in our kayaks with the information & techniques we learned last weekend

Had a wonderful experience. The instructors were very helpful and taught a lot of useful tools! Highly recommend ocean river sports!

-Ashley A

About Ocean River

Located in Victoria, British Columbia on beautiful Vancouver Island, Ocean River is one of the premier speciality kayak and adventure companies in North America. Brian Henry, the founder & current owner, has been running Ocean River since 1981, and Ocean River continues to be recognised as one of the most significant outdoor/paddlesports instructional & tours provider in North America.

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