Kayak Instruction

Kayak Instruction
Mar 03
Mar 09

Canoecopia in Madison, WI

March 9, 2018 - March 11, 2018
Jun 02

Learn-to-Kayak Retreat Weekend

June 2, 2018 - June 4, 2018
Benzonia MI
Jul 28

Learn-to-Kayak Retreat Weekend

July 28, 2018 - July 30, 2018
Benzonia MI

Why Learn to Sea Kayak with Uncommon Adventures?

  • Uncommon Adventures Staff are certified in coastal kayaking by the American Canoe Association (ACA), the British Canoe Union (BCU), or both.
  • We have been teaching paddlesports and sea kayaking for over 30 years.
  • We have presented at over 140 kayak symposia throughout North America.
  • Our approach is low-key and multi-disciplinary to match your learning style.
  • We offer ACA certified Kayak Skills Training as well as Kayak Instructor Training courses.
  • We offer regular workshops here in Northwest Michigan or we can come to your location fully equipt!
  • Call us toll free at 231-882-5525 or e-mail for schedule information.

We also invite you to stop in at our retail partners: Backcountry North in Traverse City: 231-946-1339 or Crystal Lake Adventure Sports in downtown Beulah 231-882-2527. We encourage you to shop these specialty shops for their knowledge base and amazing service….something you just won’t find in big box stores.

Kayak Skills Classes

Is your life worth $100? Spending less than that could save it. Cheap insurance.  Uncommon Adventures offers a variety of regularly scheduled sea kayak classes and weekend workshops to aid in your kayak skills development.  Our primary emphasis is to help you have more fun in the water while moving you up the learning curve more quickly.  Naturally, this also has the added advantage of learning fundamental kayak safety…we like repeat business, so teaching you the fundamentals of recoveries and rescues are part of the very first lesson.

Kayak Instruction on our Trips

The best way to develop good sea kayaking skills and technique is by repeating them. What better way than to have a certified kayak instructor at your disposal over a number of days?  That is the advantage of a multi-day kayaking tour. When you return you’ll have learned all sorts of kayak skills, but also weather reading, handling winds, some fundamental navigation, maybe a few new stars, bird calls, tall tales and new tricks for turning out gourmet edibles in the backcountry.  You will also have made some new friends who enjoy the same activities as you.


Kayak Instructional Menu

These classes are scheduled as time permits for groups of 2-10.

Fundamentals of Coastal Kayaking

Student to instructor ratio: 5:1 maximum —  $90/person
Beginning with “land school”, you’ll learn a bit about what kayaks work best for what conditions, choosing gear, boat fit, dressing for paddling, kayak and paddle design, carrying and loading kayaks… before we even leave the beach! Next you will learn good techniques for fundamental kayaking strokes:  forward, backward and stop.  You will also learn to stabilize your kayak with a solid low brace and turning with sweep strokes. The final part of the kayaking class will be spent working on “wet exits” and group rescue practice, including a variety of methods of T-Rescue.

Fundamentals of Coastal Kayaking II

Student to instructor ratio: 5:1 max. —  $90/person
Step 2 on your path to better paddling skills. After an initial assessment of your kayaking skills, you will learn stroke enhancements that will help you turn better and travel forward with less energy expended. After a stroke tune-up, we’ll introduce you to the high brace, which can help you further avoid those nasty immersions. Eskimo bow rescues, non-roll solo rescues (paddle rescue float, etc.) and the components of a successful Eskimo roll will then be covered during the “wet” session. You’ll also be introduced to “risk management” as it relates to sea kayaking in the places you plan to play.

The Eskimo Roll

Student to instructor ratio: 3:1 — $50/hour, 2 hour minimum
If you can do a sweep stroke, a hip snap and have a reasonable high brace, then you already know the parts of a sweep or screw roll. During this session, you will work one-on-one with a kayak instructor / coach in the water for support to put the pieces together for a successful roll. You’ll actively assist in the coaching process of others so you can see what works and what doesn’t.

Rough Water and Surf Skills

Fall brings lumpy water and winds to your region while the water still retains summer’s warmth.  Each year we host a unique retreat to work on skills in conditions with the skilled support of coaches. Check out our Sleeping Bear Storm Gathering.

Kayak B&B Skills Weekends

Several weekends throughout the summer, we offer a sea kayak instruction retreat in the great lakes area where you can test out lots of gear and get a complete Coastal Kayak Fundamentals course from the comfort of our N. Michigan location – including lodging and terrific meals.  Its a great way to try a new sport or tune up existing kayaking skills to prepare for a trip. Its also how we get to know new clients and build groups for dream trips to places like Alaska, Greenland and Iceland!

ACA Kayaking Skills Courses

Link to ACA kayak skills course outlines: http://www.americancanoe.org/?Courses_Kayak

What does an ACA skills assessment do for you? Fundamentally, it will help you make better decisions about what is and isn’t safe for you to do given your skillset. It also helps you meet prerequisites for ACA Instructor courses and provide you with proof of training and skills should you decide you’d like to do an independent rental at an exciting paddling destination! These assessments are recognized throughout N. America and in Europe with training centers in Denmark and Germany. Throughout our year, we host a number of Level 3 and Level 4 Skills Training and Assessments. In summer, we host them in a comfortable lodge based setting at our NW Michigan base.  Spring, fall and winter you will find options offered on the Georgia Coast as well as the Florida Keys. Here is our current kayak instruction schedule.

ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification

Requirements from the ACA website: http://www.americancanoe.org/?page=Become_an_Instructor

ACA Level 1-2: As as ACA Instructor Trainer resource, we offer a number of Instructor courses. A Level 1-2 Instructor Certification Workshop can be completed in 3 days and can be a very efficient way to gain certification to teach in calm, near-shore environs. We offer them at our base in NW Michigan or we can come to your site to offer custom programs for four or more participants. We can even provide full kayak outfitting.

A level 3 or 4 Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) is required to prepare for a separate Instructor Certification Exam (ICE) for those interested in teaching more advanced skills in a more open water situation. We heartily recommend taking an IDW some time before taking your ICE to give yourself time to sharpen your skills. These courses require skills assessments prior to enrollment.

ACA Trip Leader Training: Levels 2-4

Perhaps you’d like to work as a kayak day trip leader during the summer, rather than teach. The ACA trip leader training and assessment may be just the ticket. This two day course can really go a long way toward helping you facilitate safe and fun trips for clients as well be a worthwhile staff training exercise for camps, scout groups or rental operations.

Paddlesport Training For Waterfront Staff (Canoe, Kayak SUP)

Whether you are an outfitter training new staff or a camp or a livery, we can provide professional training and support. We have assembled a fine cadre of ACA Instructor Trainers in Canoe, Kayak and Stand up Paddleboard that can build a comprehensive paddlesport staff training program for your waterfront. We come to your location and can help you build your staff competency levels to be certified ACA Level one canoe and kayak instructors in this three day workshop.