Advanced Beginner Courses

  • Advanced Boat Control Master Class
  • Alcatraz & San Francisco Bay Journey
    • Bracing & Rolling 101
    • Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning
      • Combat Rolling
        • Forward Stroke 201
          • Fun, Balance, Games & Rolling
            • Incident Management
              • Kayak Fishing 101
                • Rock Gardening 101
                  • Standup Paddling for Sea Kayakers
                    • Surfski Paddling
                    • Tides & Currents 101

Intermediate Courses

  • Advanced Boat Control Master Class
    • Alcatraz & San Francisco Bay Journey
      • Bracing & Rolling 101
        • Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning
          • Combat Rolling
            • Forward Stroke 201
              • Fun, Balance, Games & Rolling
              • Incident Management
              • Kayak Fishing 101
                • Marin Headlands Coastal Journey
                • Rock Gardening 101
                  • Rock Gardening Skills & Safety
                  • Rough Water Skills & Safety
                  • Sea Leader Training (2 days)
                  • Sea Kayak Sailing
                  • Sea Kayak Surfing
                  • Standup Paddling for Sea Kayakers
                  • Surf Kayaking
                  • Surfski Paddling
                  • Tidal Race Paddling
                  • Tides & Currents 101

Advanced Intermediate Courses

  • ACA Level 5 ICW (pre-requisites)
  • Advanced Boat Control Master Class
    • Alcatraz & San Francisco Bay Journey
      • BCU 4 Star Assessment (pre-requisites)
        • Bracing & Rolling 101
          • Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning
            • Combat Rolling
              • Forward Stroke 201
                • Fun, Balance, Games & Rolling
                  • Incident Management
                  • Kayak Fishing 101
                    • Marin Headlands Coastal Journey
                      • Rock Gardening Skills & Safety
                      • Rock Gardening Advanced Play
                      • Rock Gardening Whitewater Kayaks
                        • Rough Water Skills & Safety
                          • Sea Kayak Sailing
                            • Sea Kayak Surfing
                              • Sea Leader Training (2 days)
                                • Standup Paddling for Sea Kayakers
                                  • Surf Kayaking
                                    • Surfski Paddling
                                    • Tidal Race Paddling

ACA Level 5 Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayaking ICW (Instructor Certification Workshop)

Pre-Requisites

To be eligible for Level 5: Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor Certification, an individual must be a currently certified Level 4: Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor in good standing for a minimum of 2 years.  The primary difference between L5 AOWCK and L4 OWCK is the L4 OWCK Instructor has to be personally proficient in rough water but is not expected nor certified to teach and manage a group in those conditions. The L5 AOWCK Instructor must be more experienced and have the necessary training to conduct the approved ACA courses that fall within their certification.

Advanced Boat Control Master Class

Skill Levels:  Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

This class is for paddlers who want to take their paddling skills up a notch or two. You should be confident in a range of steering strokes and be able to edge your kayak in waves or moving water. We will take these skills to the next level by working on combining strokes and using these sequences in challenging conditions under the watchful eye of some of the best instructors on the planet.

Alcatraz & San Francisco Bay Journey 

Skill Levels:  Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

With a goal of reaching Alcatraz which is by no means guaranteed, the real objective of the day is to learn about how to plan a day trip on a large body of open water and then execute that plan. With the potential for stunning views and many teachable moments along the way, topics could include practical navigation, tides & currents, dealing with boat traffic, group management, rescues, towing, directional control in wind and more. Paddlers should be prepared to paddle 8-12 miles at a moderate pace during the day.  This class is not intended for complete novices. Bring your normal paddling kit for a full day on the water.

BCU 4 Star Sea Leader Assessment (2days)

Skill Levels:  Advanced Intermediate, Pre-Requisites

 

Bracing & Rolling 101

Skill Levels:  Advanced Beginner, IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

This class is for paddlers who already have a solid grasp of basic steering strokes and be able to edge and brace your kayak on flat water. You should also have at least the foundation of an eskimo roll. We’ll take your edging and bracing skills learnt on flat, still water out into wind, waves and current and discover how effective they are and how they might need to be modified for the real world. In the afternoon we will also review your roll and see what needs to be done to make it a reliable skill. You should bring an open mind and be ready to learn by self discovery. You should be dressed for immersion! Greenland or Euro paddles are welcome!

Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediate, Advanced Intermediate

This land-based course is a full immersion navigation course that will cover a ton of navigation concepts, techniques & strategies.  It is perfect for those paddlers carrying out coastal journeys including up to 2 nautical miles offshore, in areas of tidal movement and winds of up to force 4 and is suitable for those seeking their 4 Star Sea Leader award.  This course is designed to compliment the areas covered in the BCU 4 Star Leadership Training and also serves as a fantastic stand-alone course for those not in the BCU system.  Read through the official BCU syllabus here.  Please note this course is land-based.  Participants do not need to be BCU members to take this course.  If BCU participants want credit for this course, they must pay an additional small fee to the BCU.

Combat Rolling

Skill Levels:  Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

This class is for paddlers who already have a reasonably reliable eskimo roll in calm conditions. We will review your technique, make any necessary modifications then take you out into wind, waves and current and discover how effective it is and how it might need to be further modified for the real world. You should bring an open mind and be ready to learn by self discovery. You should be dressed for immersion! Greenland or Euro paddles are welcome!

Forward Stroke 201

Skill Levels:  Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

This class will help you refine your forward stroke with the aim of becoming more efficient and delivering power without wasting energy, thus giving you more control and greater enjoyment of your paddling.  Be prepared to be challenged on how and why you paddle the way you do. Video may be used to analyze your stroke. You will learn new drills to take away to help develop your technique into the future. This class will be conducted on flat water at Horseshoe Cove.

Fun, Balance, Games & Rolling

Skill Levels:  Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

This class is for paddlers who want to have fun whilst learning. You will be put through a series of tasks to improve balance, rescue skills, bracing and rolling. You will learn about boat handling dynamics and the differences that different hull designs have on boat handling and stability. During the day you will get personalized coaching on your kayak roll from Helen Wilson, who is one of the most acclaimed coaches in this specialism. Most important will be to just have FUN and be PLAYFUL while becoming more knowledgeable and better skilled. You should be dressed for immersion! Greenland or Euro paddles are welcome!

Incident Management

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

This is the class to prepare you for the unknown. We’ll look at common mishaps that occur when paddling in a group and how to handle them before they spiral out of control.  We’ll look at useful gear and necessary “hard” skills like rescues and towing.  As important, we’ll also look at how good risk assessments and proper planning can help us avoid problems. You should already have solid self and assisted rescue  skills and you will put these skills into practice during some true-to-life scenarios in realistic conditions.  Coaches will set up a number of scenarios for you to manage ranging from multi-boat rescues to hurt or sick paddlers, broken equipment, getting lost, becoming storm-bound and more.  If you can think of it, the coaches can instruct you how to deal with it.  The lessons from this class will stick with you for your entire paddling career.  Participants should be dressed for potentially prolonged immersion in cold (54F) water and should be ready for all conditions with appropriate kit.  This course may cover up to 6 miles.

Kayak Fishing 101

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

Have you ever wanted to make a journey by sea kayak and live off the fish you catch? This class is for you! Learn about the special techniques, tactics and equipment that could turn that dream into a reality! Kayak Fishing Pro’s will answer all your questions, show you what to do and you can even try out a specialist fishing kayak. We will discuss how to modify your equipment for use with a regular touring kayak and look at crabbing and free-diving by kayak. We will even show you what to do with that fish or crab once you have caught it!

Marin Headlands Coastal Journey

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

A practical application of intermediate skills.  This day trip will go well beyond sightseeing and incorporate multiple mini-lessons throughout the day.  Depending on conditions, the trip may be on the open coast outside of the Golden Gate or stay within San Francisco Bay. Coaches will use the landscape and features to introduce and develop coastal touring techniques including risk assessment, dealing with wind and current, navigation, paddling within the rocks, rescues and potentially surf.  Paddlers should be prepared for 10-15 miles of paddling in swell up to 4 feet and wind up to 15 knots. Bring your normal paddling kit.

Rock Gardening 101

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediate

If you are new to coastal paddling and want to develop the skills needed to start playing amongst the rocks then this class is for you. You will need solid fundamental skills such as sweep strokes, the ability to edge your kayak and a low brace. You will learn how to use these strokes and others in the dynamic environment of a rock garden. You will learn about judgment and timing and where to go and what to avoid. Plastic kayaks are recommended. Helmets are mandatory. You will be working on the many rock features found inside of the Golden Gate.

Rock Gardening Skills & Safety

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

In this class students will work on the skills needed to maneuver amongst the rocks safely with style and grace.  You will discuss and practice various rescue techniques unique to the potentially dangerous environment of the rock garden, including the use of contact, short and long tows, self rescues and emergency landings. You will learn signaling methods and how to manage a group to prevent dangerous incidents from developing. Students should have a solid understanding and ability to perform rescues in flat water and be willing to try them in this dynamic moving water environment. Helmets are mandatory and plastic kayaks are strongly recommended. Paddlers should be in good physical condition and be dressed and ready to swim. This class is essential for those that play amongst the rocks on the open coast.

Rock Gardening Advanced Play

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

This class is for advanced intermediate paddlers who have plenty of experience in coastal conditions, including the surf zone, as well as a reliable combat roll. Solid paddling skills are needed – strokes, braces, rescues.  Coaches will encourage students to move beyond their comfort zone whilst using good judgment.  Whilst the focus will be on play, coaches will be ready and willing to teach specific rock gardening skills such as the pour-over, paddling through arches, exploring caves, etc whilst working on timing and appropriate stroke sequences, communication, and group dynamics.  Plastic kayaks are highly recommended.  Helmets are mandatory. Participants should ideally have previously taken a Rock Garden Skills and Safety Class and should be in good physical condition as this will be a strenuous class.

Rock Gardening Whitewater Kayaks

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

This course was created out of student requests for it and reflects a recent increase in the popularity of using whitewater kayaks in rock gardens. This course is for advanced paddlers who have plenty of experience in coastal conditions, including the surf zone and rock gardens who have a reliable combat roll.  Solid paddling skills are needed – strokes, braces, rescues.  Coaches will encourage students to move beyond their comfort zone whilst using good judgement, paying particular attention to safety issues relating to the use of whitewater kayaks in ocean rock gardens.  They will teach specific rock gardening skills such as the pour-over, paddling through arches, exploring caves, etc whilst working on timing and appropriate stroke sequences, communication, and group dynamics.  Plastic whitewater kayaks will be made available as required.  Helmets are mandatory.  Participants should be in good physical condition as this will be a strenuous class.

Rough Water Skills & Safety 

Skill Levels:  Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

Rough Water Skills & Safety will have you learning and fine-tuning your boat control and rescue techniques in real-world conditions.  This course will start with a review of your strokes and rescues in calm conditions to make sure that they are effective & efficient.  We'll then look at how they could be improved & modified in wind and waves. We'll move into dynamic water to put these new skills to the test! If time allows we will also be able to look at more complicated rescue scenarios. Be sure to bring a tow belt and helmet!

Sea Kayak Sailing

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

Sailing a sea kayak ranges from simply helpful to downright exhilarating. In Australia, kayak sails are viewed as safety features. They provide auxiliary power and increased visibility. They are popular in Watertribe races of the eastern US. And the original recreational sea kayak, the Rob Roy, had a sail on it.  In the Kayak Sailing class, learn to raise and lower the sail, stow it efficiently, and use it to sail across the wind, paddle-sail up to 45-degrees upwind, and of course fly downwind. Catching wind-waves suddenly becomes easy! Practice a roll with a sail, and learn to modify a quick capsize recovery.  Bow rudders, stern rudders, edging, trim—all the techniques you’d apply intelligently when working with the wind instead of fighting it—all those strokes become clearer with the momentum of the sail. It is an amazing tool for understanding how to effectively apply strokes in wind.  Sails are provided for the course.  Suction cup mounts will be used to temporarily rig the sail to your composite kayak.

Sea Kayak Surfing

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

Join coaches and classmates in the search for the perfect wave.  Paddlers in this class should have solid paddling skills – strokes, braces, rescues and some experience in the surf zone. Coaches will encourage students to move beyond their comfort zone whilst using good judgement.  We'll cover surfing basics like etiquette, timing and wave selection then move onto more advanced maneuvers like turning & back surfing allowing plenty of time to play!  Helmets are mandatory. Participants should be in good physical condition as this will be a strenuous class.  The location of this class will be determined by swell conditions.  Transportation to and from the class location will be provided.

Sea Leadership Training (2 days)

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate, Pre-requisites required.

Pre-Requisites:  Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning (offered Friday)

The Sea Leader course is designed to teach solid seamanship in moderate** coastal conditions for both individuals and group leaders.  The intent of this course is to cover cockpit navigation, decision-making, incident management, leadership, group management, and more in real paddling conditions.  It is highly recommended that participants complete a navigation course, or are comfortable with navigation, before taking this 2-day course.  We will use the extensive BCU 4-Star Sea Leader training guidelines (read the official BCU 4-Star training guidance notes here).  You do not need to be in the BCU system to take this course, but for those seeking official 4-Star Sea Leader training, this will count IF you meet the pre-requisite and training requirements, and pay the nominal Leader Registration fee.

**Successful performance at the BCU 4 star level indicates that a candidate has the personal skill level and leadership ability required to lead a small group paddlers on short journeys in moderate tidal water and surf environments with winds not exceeding force 4. Candidates should competently perform practical skills in force 4/5 winds, sea state 4, and be capable of paddling 15-20 miles/day in moderate conditions.

Standup Paddling for Sea Kayakers

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

This is the perfect environment to try standup paddling for the first time or to increase your skill if you've already tried it.   We'll approach this single-bladed technique using your existing sea kayaking skills.  We'll cover basic & advanced strokes, maneuvers and balance technique.  We'll also get into rescue & towing technique and apply more of our sea kayaking concepts into standup paddling.  If time & skill level allows, we'll venture onto SF Bay and get into some bumpy water to test board control & balance.  Equipment will be provided for those that need it.  

Surf Kayaking

Skill Levels:  IntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

Join competitive surf kayaking coaches for an introduction to surfing in surf kayaks and whitewater kayaks designed to carve and perform. Participants in this class should have solid paddling skills, including a reliable combat roll in surf. You should be familiar with and comfortable in the surf zone either in sea kayaks or whitewater kayaks.  Coaches will demonstrate and coach you in techniques such as the take-off, bottom turn, cut backs and re-entries.  Helmets are mandatory. Participants should be in good physical condition as this will be a strenuous class.  The location of this class will be determined by swell conditions.  Transportation to and from the class location will be provided.

Surfski Paddling

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced Intermediate

Are you curious about surf ski paddling? Surf skis are fast and efficient sit-on-top kayaks designed for racing or fitness paddling. This course will provide a full introduction to surf skis, wing paddles, and self-rescues in Horseshoe Cove.  We'll cover the technique & theory behind this type of craft and have fun doing it.  Dependent on conditions we may then take the skis out on the Bay to experience the speed and excitement of downwind surfing. The goal is to cover the basics of surf ski paddling and get you excited about this type of fitness paddling.

Tidal Race Paddling

Skill Levels:  Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate

This course starts by reviewing the skills needed for paddling in a tidal race environment. We then apply these skills into the dynamic environment of a tidal race. Learn how to best enter and exit a race, surf waves, perform rescues, and successfully move yourself around in a tidal race environment.  Be sure to bring a helmet!

Tides & Currents 101

Skill Levels:  Advanced BeginnerIntermediate

This class is meant to introduce paddlers to tides and tidal currents in the perfect training environment of San Francisco Bay. The class will expand on tidal predictions, heights, speeds, corrections and other factors that regularly present themselves.  Students will learn how to best plan and use tides and currents to their advantage. Time will be spent practicing skills such as crossing an eddy line and ferry gliding in small local tidal races with a focus on building confidence and developing good technique.  Students in this class should have well-developed foundation skills and a willingness to learn.