A group of friends kayaking in the Toronto Islands.
Location: Toronto Islands, Toronto, Ontario. Photo credit: David Johnston

Basic Kayak Skills

Discipline: Sea Kayaking Stream: Skills Development

This is the primary starting point of the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak skills progression. With a focus on foundation skills and knowledge, Basic Kayak Skills inspires students to go out on short paddling excursions in class-0 or calm and sheltered waters.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to confidently paddle in calm, sheltered waters in the company of peers with similar abilities.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

8 hours of instruction (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

Re-entry Skills
  • Wet exit
  • Assisted re-entries
Paddling Skills
  • Lifting and carrying a kayak
  • Launching and landing
  • Emptying the kayak
  • Forward and reverse strokes
  • Stopping
  • Forward and reverse sweep strokes
  • Pivots
  • Draw stroke
  • Low brace
  • Edging
Knowledge
  • Kayak part names and outfitting
  • Paddling and safety equipment
  • Injury prevention
  • Sun sense
  • Transport Canada collision regulations
  • Navigation
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Impact of kayakers on the environment
Course Prerequisites
  • None
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