Revised 4/8/14

Kayaking Instruction

Why learn to paddle with Uncommon Adventures?

  • Uncommon Adventures’ Staff are either certified by the American Canoe Association or the British Canoe Union, or both.
  • They have been teaching paddlesports for over 20 years.
  • Their instructors are frequent instructors and presenters at Kayak Symposia throughout N. America.
  • They have been chosen by Northwestern Michigan College for all of their kayak skills courses.
  • We offer a regular schedule of classes here in NW Michigan.
  • For group instructional settings we are happy to come to your location and can bring everything you may need.
  • Call us toll free at 866-882-5525 or e-mail for schedule information.

We also invite you to stop in at our retail partners: Backcountry Outfitters on Front Street in Traverse City (ph. 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 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.

InstructionInstruction on our tours: The best way to develop good paddling habits and technique is by repeating them.  What better way than to have a certified instructor at your disposal over a number of days?  That is the advantage of a multi-day 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 Instructional menu:

Basic Coastal Kayaking

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

InstructionDuring this three hour session you will learn good techniques for fundamental strokes:  forward, backward and stop.  You will also learn to stabilize with a solid low brace and turning with sweep strokes.

The final part of the class will be spent working on “wet exits” and group rescue practice, including a variety of methods of T-Rescue.  In addition to the on-water portions of the class you will also receive detailed instruction of kayak safety, proper dressing for paddling and equipment fit and selection.

Coastal Kayaking II

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

Step 2 on your path to better paddling skills. After an initial skills assessment, 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.

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 going for you, then you already know the parts of a sweep or screw roll. During this session, you will work one-on-one with a coach in the water for support to put the pieces together for a successful roll. You 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!

Wilderness First Aid

Dates and Costs 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.

$550/person for instruction, 5 nights luxury camping (ie, hot showers) breakfasts, use of outdoor kitchen and a couple of dinners.

ACA Instructor Certification

Uncomon Adventures sponsors various Instructor Training workshops, working with the American Canoe Association and the British Canoe Union. Please see details here. This year (2013) we are offering a special ACA Instructor Certification Workshop in Roatan, Honduras!