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.
Our safety-conscious instructors are among the most highly trained and versatile on the coast. They will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. The course comprises a series of modules completed over the course of 4 days. The modules are:
During this module, we’ll teach you various skills to maintain stability and apply finesse to the motion of your kayak:
- Efficient forward paddling techniques
- Edging your kayak
- High bracing
- Sculling for support
- Forward and reverse turning on edge
- Slipstream stroke
- Low telemark and high telemark turns
- Bow rudder and cross-bow rudder strokes
You will learn rolling, the ultimate self-rescue technique. Specifically, you will learn:
- Hip snaps
- Kayak edge control
- Orienting yourself underwater
Kayak Camping Primer:
You will learn basic principles of camping from a kayak, including gear choices, food choices, storage methods, and packing techniques.
In this module, you will learn important navigational skills to help you to navigate in more challenging conditions, including ocean currents, longer crossings, nighttime, and fog:
- Course correction through calculating ferry angles
- Crossing tides and currents
- Orienting using a compass and triangulation
- How to use a compass and chart to plot a course
This module will cover rescue skills in moderate sea conditions. This is an excellent opportunity for you to practice these skills in actual open ocean conditions, under the watchful eye of skilled instructors. Specifically, you will learn the following:
- Paddling skills to efficiently approach capsized paddlers
- Assisted and solo rescue techniques
- Scoop rescues
- Stirrup rescues
- Towing techniques
Paddling in Currents:
Coastal areas such as Vancouver Island have a great deal of strong currents that could be dangerous to paddlers without the right strokes and skills. In this module, you’ll learn to handle currents with confidence! You’ll learn risk management strategies, along with how to enter, exit, traverse and ferry across currents.
- Specifically, you’ll learn the following:
- Risk management strategies
- How to identify current, eddies, and eddy lines
- Techniques for paddling upstream and downstream in current
- Techniques for crossing eddy lines
- Techniques for entering current (‘peeling out’)
- Techniques for exiting current (‘eddying out’)
- Techniques for crossing currents
- How to ferry across currents
Full Itinerary – PDF: Itinerary-for-Sea-Kayaking-Level-2-Skills-2021
- 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 Kayak Camping Gear List entry in the Compass Blog.
For this program, Ocean River Sports provides:
Safety Gear – First aid equipment; VHF Marine Radio; Signalling flares; Large, group tarp; Towline; Helmets; Wetsuit; Paddling jacket.
*If you like, you may 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.
Navigation Equipment: Shared charts of the paddling areas.; Chart 1: Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms; Tide and Current Tables Volume 5: Juan de Fuca Strait & Strait of Georgia: Orienteering compass; Large chart case.
- Medical Forms
Please review the following forms prior to your program. Please sign/initial the forms in the presence of your instructor/guide, who will act as your witness.
Ocean River Medical Form (PDF)