Two guys gather up to talk while in their whitewater kayaks on a river.
Location: Medway River, Nova Scotia. Photo credit: Karl Vollmer

Flatwater River Kayak Skills

Discipline: River Kayaking Stream: Skills Development

Flatwater Kayaking Skills introduces paddling a river kayak on a calm lake, class 0 water. Rescue techniques at this level incorporate the use of a paddling partner and it is essential for all Introduction to Kayaking certified paddlers to travel on the water with others who have been trained in the techniques of assisted rescues.


Upon completion of the course, participants should understand basic paddle strokes, general flatwater safety and be able to paddle as part of a group in flatwater.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

A minimum of 8 hours of instruction or approximately 1 day.

Course Water Class

This course runs in Class-0 conditions which are described as:

Non-challenging protected waters with limited wind effect, little or no current, easy landings, and ready access to land-based assistance. Wind and sea state is calm to rippled (<15km/h or 8 knots).

Learn more about our water classification system.

Course Topics

Safety Skills
  • Wet exit
  • Rafting
  • Lifting and carrying a kayak
  • Self-rescue
  • Assisted rescue
Paddling Skills
  • Edging
  • Balance and posture
  • Forward and reverse strokes
  • Sweep stroke
  • Draw stroke
Theory and Knowledge
  • River hazards and river reading
  • Boat design and outfitting and equipment
  • Clothing
  • Safety equipment
  • Trip planning
Course Prerequisites
  • Skills Certification
    • None
  • Paddling Equipment
    • The kayak must have sufficient buoyancy, float bag/bulkhead, to float after a wet exit.
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