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Rough-Water Skills Trips

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Our Rough-Water Skills Series is all about confidence in turbulent conditions. From the extreme currents of Woods Hole Paddle in realistic ocean conditions under the watchful eye of our guides during our Rough-Water Skills series. to the chaos of the surf zone and the excitement of a rock garden, these trips will give the experienced paddler the skills they need to be comfortable in any situation.

The Rough-Water Skills series of four separate trips is designed to prepare paddlers for their own ocean adventures. Experience the fun and excitement of learning to handle your kayak in realistic conditions with an expert guide alongside.

Our Rough-Water Skills series is a critical part of our
Recommended Progression for Aspiring Sea Kayakers.

Introduction to Rough Water

The New England coast, with its multitude of tidal rivers and bays, has no shortage of current. During this full-day trip, you’ll practice handling your boat in moderate current, where waves and eddylines will force you to use your bracing and rescue skills.

We will travel to Cohasset Harbor, where we will find ocean waves (weather permitting) and a tidal rip with moderate current (see video above), introducing you to conditions commonly encountered on the ocean. Our guides will help you test your limits while taking advantage of situations that are within your capabilities. We will cover a broad spectrum of topics including refining the forward stroke and practicing boat lean, bracing, ferrying, and re-entries.

Realistic Conditions

If you haven’t practiced rescues in the conditions of the day, you shouldn’t paddle in those conditions. The prudent paddler learns and improves by experiencing realistic ocean conditions with a veteran guide alongside. Our Rough-Water Skills Clinics provide an environment in which to test your limits.

This trip is designed for those who have taken our Introduction to Kayaking and Ocean Skills. Paddlers should be able to perform assisted rescues and paddle 6 miles over the course of the day.

Advanced Rough-Water Skills

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Come with us to beautiful Woods Hole on Cape Cod to play in some of the strongest tidal currents in New England. The turbulent conditions Paddle in very challenging ocean conditions in Woods Hole during our Advanced Rough-Water Skills. found here provide the opportunity to both test and refine your boat handling skills.

During this clinic students will have the opportunity to work on boat lean, ferrying, eddy turns, bracing, and rescues in challenging conditions of wind, waves, and strong current. The emphasis will be on capsize prevention and recovery. Our experienced instructors will help you improve your kayaking skills and learn your capabilities.

Advanced Rough-Water Skills requires previous ocean paddling instruction in current (like our Intro. to Rough-Water Skills) including the ability to perform re-entries, boat leans, braces, ferrying, catching eddies, and paddle at least 10 miles.

Surf Launching & Landing

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Eventually, all sea kayakers will encounter waves and surf during an outing. Wouldn’t it be nice to face these adverse conditions with confidence? Experience the ultimate in confidence when you conquer the surf zone. Our Launching & Landing in Surf will help! A few simple techniques, along with a lot of practice in realistic conditions, will allow you to reliably launch and land in surf.

Surf Launching & Landing covers these techniques and provides for ample practice time under the watchful eye of an expert guide. Most importantly, the bracing skills you learn and practice in the surf zone will improve your stability and decrease your risk of capsize under whatever conditions Mother Nature throws at you.

In addition to sea kayakers, Surf Launching & Landing is a perfect introduction for those who focus on kayak surfing, as we cover surf etiquette and the proper outfitting of a kayak for surf work. Plus, you spend a wonderful day along the Massachusetts coast.

In The Surf

Once you feel confident in the surf zone, you feel more confident everywhere. The bracing and capsize-prevention skills learned there enhance your stability no matter where you paddle. Our expert guides will help you gain that confidence.

Surf Launching & Landing requires previous ocean paddling instruction in turbulence (like our Intro. to Rough-Water Skills), including knowledge of bracing, assisted-rescue techniques, and handling a kayak in current. The sand spit at the mouth of the North River in Scituate is our primary destination, but if conditions require we may travel to Rhode Island or New Hampshire to find good surf.

To ensure that each student receives highly personalized attention, this trip is limited to a student-to-instructor ratio of 4:1.

Playing in Surf

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Once you’ve experienced the joy of paddling in surf, why not dive in headfirst? Playing in Surf is a full-day trip for the sole purpose of surfing in whitewater/surf kayaks. While the primary goal of Surf Launching & Landing is controlled launchings and landings, Playing in Surf is for those who want to ride waves for fun.

Playing in Surf introduces paddlers to surf kayak technique with an emphasis on fun. Your instructor will expose you to the essentials of surf kayaking, including strokes, surf etiquette, surf zone safety, self/assisted rescues, and ocean safety considerations. Experience the inherent enjoyment and reward of paddling in the surf zone!

Playing in Surf requires previous surf paddling instruction (like our Surf Launching & Landing) and skills, including command of bracing, assisted-rescue techniques, and basic handling of a kayak in surf. A reliable roll, while not required, is recommended.

To ensure that each student receives highly personalized attention, this trip is limited to a student-to-instructor ratio of 4:1.

Introduction to Rough Water meets at our Paddle Shop in Waltham and travels by van to the destination. We plan to return to Waltham approximately 9 hours after the trip departs. $139 includes full-day trip with expert guiding (max. 5:1 student:instructor ratio) using your own boat. $155 with a composite or plastic sea kayak (model depends on availability). Pre-Requisites & Requirements: Before signing up, you must have:
  • Formal instruction in bracing and rescue skills on the ocean, like our Ocean Skills Trip or equivalent.
  • Previous practice of a wet exit, where you flipped a kayak, removed the sprayskirt, and exited the kayak while underwater.
  • Previous practice of an assisted rescue, where you wet-exited the kayak in deep water and were rescued by another kayaker.
  • Ability to paddle 6 miles in an outing.

view schedule/book now

Advanced Rough-Water Skills Full-Day Trip meets at our Paddle Shop in Waltham and travels by van to the destination. We plan to return to Waltham approximately 9 hours after the trip departs. $139 includes full-day trip with expert guiding (max. 5:1 student:instructor ratio) using your own boat. $155 with a composite or plastic sea kayak (model depends on availability). Pre-Requisites & Requirements: Before signing up, you must have:
  • Formal ocean paddling instruction in turbulent conditions, like our Intro. to Rough-Water Skills Trip or equivalent.
  • Previous practice of a wet exit, where you flipped a kayak, removed the sprayskirt, and exited the kayak while underwater.
  • Previous practice of an assisted rescue, where you wet-exited the kayak in deep water and were rescued by another kayaker.
  • Skills to paddle in challenging conditions of 10-15 knot winds and 2-3 foot waves and the Ability to paddle 10 miles in an outing.

view schedule/book now

Surf Launching & Landing Full-Day Trip meets at our Paddle Shop in Waltham and travels by van to the destination. We plan to return to Waltham approximately 9 hours after the trip departs. $175 includes full-day trip with expert guiding (max. 4:1 student:instructor ratio) and complimentary use of a composite or plastic sea kayak (model depends on availability). Sorry, no discounts are available with your own boat. Pre-Requisites & Requirements: Before signing up, you must have:
  • Formal ocean paddling instruction in turbulent conditions, like our Intro. to Rough-Water Skills or equivalent.
  • Previous practice of a wet exit, where you flipped a kayak, removed the sprayskirt, and exited the kayak while underwater.
  • Previous practice of an assisted rescue, where you wet-exited the kayak in deep water and were rescued by another kayaker.
  • Skills to paddle in challenging conditions of 10-15 knot winds and 2-3 foot waves and Ability to paddle 10 miles in an outing.

view schedule/book now

Playing in Surf Full-Day Trip meets at our Paddle Shop in Waltham and travels by van to the destination. We plan to return to Waltham approximately 9 hours after the trip departs. $175 includes full-day trip with expert guiding (maximum 4:1 student:instructor ratio) and complimentary use of a composite or plastic sea kayak (model depends on availability). Sorry, no discounts are available with your own boat. Pre-Requisites & Requirements: Before signing up, you must have:
  • Formal paddling instruction in surf, like our Surf Launching & Landing or equivalent.
  • Previous practice of a wet exit, where you flipped a kayak, removed the sprayskirt, and exited the kayak while underwater.
  • Previous practice of an assisted rescue, where you wet-exited the kayak in deep water and were rescued by another kayaker.
  • A reliable roll is recommended, as it will increase your enjoyment and decrease your boat-bailing time.

view schedule/book now

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