This weekend course will teach all of the skills required to get on the water and more. This course is ideal for beginners or lapsed paddlers who need a refresher. Amongst things you will learn are different paddle strokes, how to self-rescue, day trip planning and local trip options. It will be delivered by a certified Paddle Canada instructor.
Lessons will start on the hour - please arrive a bit early. We will start on land and have an opportunity to change into wetsuits before we launch.
To be able to move the kayak efficiently and effectively in all directions, and confidently do a paddle-float re-entry and assisted re-entry*, in calm water.
- experienced kayakers who are rusty
- experienced kayakers who want to learn to be more efficient and avoid injury
There will be a lot of personal feedback, so whatever your level, you will be challenged and learn ways to refine your skills.
The goal is to have every stroke effective, efficient, and safe, so that the kayak moves exactly where you want it to go, quickly, with a minimum amount of effort, and without risking injury or long-term strain. We will focus on body mechanics, to always be in a strong, safe position.
Strokes: forward, reverse, forward sweep, reverse sweep, pivot turn, stopping, pulling draw, sculling draw. Depending on the time and interest, we may start looking at rudder strokes.
Safety skills: wet exit, solo (paddle float) and assisted re-entries. If there's time and interest we may try a cowboy scramble or other rescue skills
Other skills: Introduction to edging and bracing
Trip planning: Intro to risk assessment, assessing the current conditions, marine weather, tides and currents, planning a day paddle, potential hazards, local knowledge of English Bay.
Pass: We want to know that you can be safe on the water, so you will need to demonstrate a basic ability to control your kayak with paddle strokes, be able to do a wet exit, and do a paddle float re-entry. In order to get guest privileges, you need to demonstrate an ability to do an assisted rescue.
If you pass, this lesson will also act as your Club Locarno Kayak Fleet Checkout and you will be free to take out the fleet kayaks and bring a guest.
What to Bring
Wetsuit or Drysuit: A 3mm 3/4 sleeveless wetsuit (farmer john/jane) is ideal for kayaking, with a jacket and insulation layers on top. I prefer getting it in 2 pieces - neoprene pants and a vest, it's more versatile and comfortable. If you have a full body wetsuit, it's fine for the course, but you may find it uncomfortable and too hot for regular paddling. A shorty is not acceptable - not warm enough for our ocean water temperatures. You can rent wetsuits from Jericho Kayak Centre, Mac Sailing, or Windsure. Please book it with them in advance to make sure that they're open and can accommodate you.
Footwear: For warmth, and protection from cuts, scrapes, and blisters. A 3mm neoprene high top bootie with no zipper is ideal, but any neoprene bootie, water shoe, sport sandal, or old runners will do for the course.
Food: The Galley is too slow for our lunch break, so please bring your own food, including on-water snacks. This is a physical course, so it's important to stay fueled and hydrated
Water: Have a bottle that you can bring on the water with you. There is a filtered water dispenser for filling bottles on site.
Sunglasses: Highly recommend having a strap, and either floating sunglasses or a floating strap. Polarized is better. The sea gods of English Bay demand occasional tribute of sunglasses, so avoid bringing expensive designer glasses.
Glasses strap: If you wear prescription glasses, a floating strap is a good investment
Sunscreen: There is no shade on the water, and the sun reflects of the surface, so the sun exposure is much higher than on land. Mineral-based (zinc or titanium oxide) sunscreens are more effective and less damaging to sea life.
Dry Warm Clothes: Expect to be cold when we get off the water. You will appreciate having some dry warm clothes (and possibly a towel) waiting for you.
Phone and Case: When you bring your phone on the water, keep it in a waterproof case.
Gloves: For warmth and to prevent blisters. Fingerless gloves are best
Hat: A wide brim, floating hat with a chin strap is ideal.
The best places to get paddling gear are Coast Outdoors in North Vancouver and Western Canoe and Kayak
- We try to finish on time, but it's not guaranteed, so please don't book anything immediately following the course.
- It can be a physically challenging course, so take care of yourself, and plan to get sufficient rest, sleep, and nutrition on Saturday night.
Cancellation Policy: There is no refund. Cancellation will only be accepted up to 3 days in advance of the course. Prior to 3 days you can register for a difference course.