Revised 5/5/14

Sea Kayak Skills Instruction

Why Learn to Sea Kayak with Uncommon Adventures?

  • Uncommon Adventures Staffare 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.
  • Our sea kayak instructors are frequent trainers and presenters at 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 a regular schedule of classes here in Northwest Michigan. We are happy to come to your location and can bring everything you may need for groups.
  • 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

InstructionCan spending $75 save your life?  It could.  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.

InstructionKayak 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.

Unless otherwise noted, our workshops prices include; lodging, meals, tuition, and all course materials. Our instructors are certified either by the American Canoe Association (ACA) or the British Canoe Union (BCU) or both.

Our Kayak Instructional Menu

We offer these courses most Saturdays throughout the season and on Thursday evenings throughout the summer months.

Fundamentals of Coastal Kayaking I

Student to instructor ratio: 5:1 maximum —  $75/person
InstructionBeginning 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. —  $75/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 — $75/person
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.

The Surf Zone

Student to instructor ratio: 4:1 — $75/person
This is rock n' roll in a kayak. For students with reasonable bracing skills, the surf zone is a playground. Emphasis will be on having a blast while learning surf launches and landings, wave riding etiquette, bracing, side surfing and carving. That ought to be enough to fill your helmet. Yahoo!

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 and Iceland!

Wilderness Advanced First Aid

Dates TBA
In the backcountry, the extra time it takes to get to medical care can make small problmes into big ones. Learn how to recognize and prevent medical emergencies, and ways to cope with illness and injury in the wilderness. $600/person for instruction, 5 nights luxury camping (ie, hot showers) breakfasts, use of outdoor kitchen and a couple of dinners.

ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification

Uncommon Adventures sponsors various Coastal Kayak Instructor Training workshops in Northweast Michigan, working with the American Canoe Association and the British Canoe Union. We are available to travel to your locations for certified instructor training workshops, whether you are a governmental entity or a camp with an active waterfront. 

Camp Paddlesport Training (Canoe, Kayak SUP)

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 two day workshop.