Sea Kayaking Lessons & Classes

All our on water classes are conducted at a ratio of 5 : 1 to create an experience where every student can receive personalized instruction and focused development.

All of our classes are conducted on Fidalgo Island, with the exception of our Introduction to Surf Zone class which is conducted at Crescent Beach at Port Crescent, a 20-minute drive from Port Angeles and our Coastal Clinic and ACA Assessments which are conducted as Hobuck Beach, Neah Bay.

Fidalgo Paddlesports provides all kayaks, paddles and safety equipment.

For a complete course description or questions, please call, send us an email, or connect with us on social media!

Don’t see a class on a day you’re interested in? Interested in a different experience than what we offer? Are you interested in private instruction instead? Let us help you create your own experience!

Introduction to SEA Kayaking

Cost: $115pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Never kayaked before but you’re curious what the fuss is all about? Want to just give it a try and see if it’s right for you? Maybe you just want to get out on the water for a few hours and have fun! Our Introduction to Sea Kayaking class is designed for those who have never paddled before and want to learn a few basics in a nearshore environment and open the doors to all there is to learn about kayaking – or just have fun! By the end of the course, you’ll know a few basics about boat control and strokes, be given the opportunity to try a rescue or two and know the care and considerations of paddlesports in general.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Kayak design, parts and outfitting
  • Hypothermia, cold water shock and dressing for immersion
  • The effects of wind, water, waves and current on a marine environment
  • Forward, reverse, sweep and draw strokes
  • T-rescue
  • Edge awareness and stability

Ages: 16 (with parent or guardian also in attendance) and up

Duration: 4 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Essentials of Coastal Kayaking

Cost: $165pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Our flagship class is designed with one goal in mind: teach you how to kayak with the skill and knowledge to safely and efficiently jumpstart your paddling! No matter your previous experience or familiarity with water, we will teach you the basics plus some to start paddling in nearshore environments with grace and style, rescue yourself and others and open the doors to all there is to learn about kayaking. By the end of the course, you’ll know more than most, be able to control your boat using a variety of strokes and most importantly, you’ll have had fun!

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Decision making and outfitting for kayaking
  • Forward, reverse, sweep, draw and sculling draw strokes
  • T-rescue and paddle float rescue
  • Low brace
  • Edge awareness and stability, hip control and torso movements
  • Launching and landing techniques

Ages: 16 (with parent or guardian also in attendance) and up.

Duration: 7 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Essentials of Coastal Kayaking – Level II

Cost: $165pp

Location: Washington Park, Anacortes

Course Description: Our Essentials of Coastal Kayaking – Level II class is designed for intermediate level kayakers who want to hone in their skills and ability to tackle new and exciting coastal environments. We will focus on maneuvering on edge through currents and waves and how to use static strokes to gracefully carve through water. We will also expand our toolkit of rescues to handle a variety of important incidents and further your technical knowledge in this coastal class off of Burrows Island. By the end of the course, students will be comfortable kayaking in exposed settings with a higher degree of awareness and competency in their paddling ability and the foundational skills to execute coastal trips.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Scoop and unresponsive paddler rescue
  • Contact towing with and without tow strap
  • Edge awareness and performance maneuvers
  • Low and high brace turns
  • Bow rudder, side slip/hanging draw and blending of strokes
  • Sculling brace
  • Creating blade awareness
  • Performative skills in rough water

Ages: 18 and up

Duration: 7 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Essentials of Coastal Kayaking – Level III

Cost: $210pp

Location: Fort Casey Beach at the Port Townsend Ferry, Coupeville

Course Description: Ready to actively explore an open water coastal environment and venture into unprotected and exposed settings? Then this is the course for you! Our goal is to give you the tools needed to be self sufficient and plot a course and navigate understanding the environmental conditions across removed, open water with ship traffic and potential for challenging environmental conditions. We will cover a variety of rescue scenarios under real life conditions and boat maneuverability and stability in conditions difficult to assess. By course end students should feel they can execute a trip greater than a nautical mile from shore with a detailed float plan in place accounting for drift and current, with bearings and fixed/estimated positions.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Float planning and trip plan execution
  • Understanding vessel right of way
  • Plotting a course over a chart and fixing estimated and fixed positions
  • Understanding swell periods and the effects of wave refraction/reflection/diffraction
  • Towing during active rescues
  • Emergency signaling and incident management preparedness.

Ages: 18 and up

Duration: This is a two-day class. 8 hours each day. All equipment provided.

Prerequisites: Essentials of Coastal Kayaking OR a comparable skill set. Give us a call to find out if this is a class right for you!

Book Now

Rescues and Recoveries

Cost: $125pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Our Rescues and Recoveries class is designed for those who want to gain confidence in their ability to take care of themselves and others while kayaking. Working with one of our skilled instructors, students will be coached on and be given ample time to practice and refine the rescues and recoveries all kayakers should know. By the end of the course, students will have the knowledge to handle a variety of incidents and situations on the water that kayakers are likely to encounter and essential to any kayaking experience, regardless of environment or distance from shore. These are the essential rescues to stay safe on water.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • T-rescue and paddlefloat rescue with heel hook and stirrup variations
  • Assisted swimmer rescues
  • Towing using a tow belt, inline and V
  • Contact towing
  • Incident management
  • Judgement and decision making

Ages: 16 (with parent or guardian also in attendance) and up

Duration: 5 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Advanced Rescues and Recoveries

Cost: $125pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Our Advanced Rescues and Recoveries class is designed for kayakers who want to gain confidence in their ability to take care of themselves and others with an enriched toolkit of safety that go beyond the basics. Working with one of our skilled instructors in the waters surrounding Deception Pass, students will be given ample time to practice and refine advanced rescues and recoveries in an open water coastal setting in the presence of current and waves and the conditions real life rescues happen in. By the end of the course, students will have the knowledge to handle a variety of incidents and situations on the water.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Scoop rescue
  • Unresponsive paddler/Hand-of-God rescue
  • Assisted swimmer rescues
  • Scramble
  • Contact towing with and without a tow strap
  • “Bow” aka Eskimo rescue
  • Curl rescue

Ages: 18 and up.

Duration: 5 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Rough Water Skills and Tidal Currents

Cost: $150pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Reading water. Navigating through eddylines, boils, currents and waves. Kayaking in tidal currents. Gaining confidence to paddle in lumpy water, waves and current with boat control and finesse. We’ll head into Canoe Pass by Deception Pass and be presented with a river of water which we’ll use to learn how to catch small dynamic eddies, link movements, set ferry angles and the skill of paddling upstream. You’ll receive focused attention and tailored coaching to help you develop your skill in rough water with grace and style. Participants will leave having an appreciation for moving water and a pathway to improvement after class, with the kayaking techniques at their disposal to handle diverse and confusing water.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • The basic dynamics of tidal currents (current speeds, eddies, flow direction)  
  • How to navigate in current  
  • How to control a kayak in current: cross eddy lines, ferry across current, and surf in tide rips
  • Low and high brace turns
  • Peeling in and out of the eddyline
  • Reading water and judgement and decision making

Ages: 18 and up.

Duration: 6 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Strokes, Balance and Maneuvers Workshop

Cost: $150pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Maybe the most fun kayaking class we offer, and also one of the most informative! We will focus heavily on edge management and the blending of strokes and have a seriously good time learning how to make your kayak perform with style through a mix of balance games, stroke development, maneuverability exercises and individual coaching. A large portion of this class will also explore how water pressure creates proficient movement when applied across concave/convex edging. There will even be a video analysis of your strokes to leave you with individual take-a-ways to practice post class. One of the biggest barriers to kayaking for all levels is feeling stable and in control of your kayak in a range of conditions. By the end of this course, participants will feel that they can take their kayaking to the next level with a higher degree of stability and attentiveness to their strokes and maneuvers.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • 6 degrees of freedom (movement of a kayak in a 3 dimensional space)
  • Boat design and stability 
  • Balance and maneuverability exercises
  • Blending of strokes 
  • Opportunity for one-on-one coaching
  • Intuitive movements
  • Individual video analysis of strokes and maneuvers

Ages: 18 and up.

Duration: 6 hours. All equipment provided.

Book Now

Introduction to surf zone

Cost: $250pp

Location: Crescent Beach, Port Angeles

Course Description: Ready to take your kayaking to the next level? Ever wanted to take your kayak out onto the waves and enjoy an afternoon surfing? In our Introduction to Surf Zone, participants will learn the fundamentals of enjoying and staying aware in the surf zone, reading water, understanding wave dynamics and formation, beach morphology and the technical expertise to take your kayak into new and adventurous places. You’ll get to surf a lot of waves and have fun! Additional details will be provided upon registration, or call beforehand for the logistical details. This course happens at Crescent Beach outside of Port Angeles.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Surf zone dynamics, etiquette, and hazards  
  • Group communication and safety in surf  
  • How to swim in surf  
  • How to brace in breaking waves  
  • Launching and landing techniques  
  • Basic boat control and positioning on the wave

Ages: 18 and up.

Duration: This is a two-day class. 8 hours each day. All equipment provided. Course dates are October 13th-14th.

Prerequisites: Essentials of Coastal Kayaking OR a comparable skill set. Give us a call to find out if this is a class right for you!

Book Now

Introduction to sea kayak camping

Cost: $250pp

Location: This course begins and ends at Cornet Bay, Deception Pass State Park. This course is conducted at Hope Island State Park.

Course Description: Let’s go camping! So many beautiful islands and so many opportunities to explore the hidden pockets and removed coastlines of the Salish Sea by kayak. In this overnight sea kayak camping class, we’ll give you a real education on how to plan your next overnight trip, where to stay, how to prepare and leave you with the knowledge to execute your own overnight adventures.

On the first day we’ll spend the morning reviewing basic kayak safety education to make sure everyone is prepared to journey to our destination, followed by preparing your boat and gear for our journey. That afternoon we’ll venture out of the harbor to our destination a few short miles away where we’ll make camp. By the time we return the next day you’ll have a range of knowledge to prepare you for your own adventures and how to stay safe in the outdoors and on water.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Selecting the appropriate gear for overnight kayak camping
  • Packing a kayak for overnight trips
  • Campsite selection and considerations
  • Backcountry meal preparation and cooking
  • Kayak camping overview and trip planning in the San Juans
  • Basic kayak education including strokes, maneuvers and safety

Fidalgo Paddlesports provides all gear including kayaks, paddles, PFD’s, safety equipment, tents (upon request), food, stoves and other related camping equipment. We DO NOT PROVIDE sleeping bags or ground pads due to Covid 19, and these you will need to provide yourself. We are happy to provide recommendations for these items, and please see our Getting Ready for your Class page to help you prepare.

Ages: 18 and up.

Course Duration: 2 days.

Book Now

Expeditionary Skills Multi-Day

Cost: $475pp

Location: This course begins and ends at Seafarers Memorial Park at Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes.

Course Description: If you want to learn to sea kayak, spend four days sleeping under the stars and get the skills to launch your own trips, then this is the one for you! This 5-day, 4-night expeditionary class is a mix of our Essentials of Coastal Kayaking, Essentials of Coastal Kayaking Level II, Strokes, Balance & Maneuvers Workshop, Rescues and Recoveries, Advanced Rescues and Recoveries, Sea Kayak Navigation, Introduction to Sea Kayak Camping classes and so much more! You are going to get a real education and cover all the skills in the above classes.

Islands we plan to visit: Fidalgo, Guemes, Saddlebag, Dot, Huckleberry, Jack, Vendovi, Eliza, Lummi, Sinclair & Cypress. 11 islands!

Our sample itinerary:

Day 1: Never been in a kayak before? Not a problem as this class is meant for all! On the first day we’ll start with the basics such as layering and parts of a kayak, outfitting and hypothermia, launching and landing, basic boat control and strokes and maneuvers. After a lunch we’ll start packing and load our boats, discuss our route and head out of harbor to our first nights camp on Saddlebag Island. That night at camp we’ll start discussing and continue every evening discussions on a different facet of backcountry camping in a wilderness context.

Day 2: After a morning of skills learning and rescue practice we’ll pack our kayaks it’s off to Vendovi Island where we’ll have an opportunity to explore an island dedicated as a nature preserve before heading off to Lummi Island, our home for the next two nights. This will be a full day of kayaking with strokes development throughout.

Day 3: A day of learning, rescue practice, skills development and a day tour around Eliza Island.

Day 4: It’s off to Cypress Island by way of Sinclair Island where students will plan and execute the day using their new sea kayak navigation, tides and currents and leadership skills

Day 5: We’ll cross over to the west side of Guemes Island and enjoy our last day as we paddle along the Anacortes waterfront back to Seafarers Memorial Park.

Please be aware this is not a tour, nor a catered adventure. This is a class where you will be cooking your own food, paddling your own kayak, setting up your own camp and all the rest! We want to give you a full, complete and cumulative skill set under the supervision of a knowledgable instructor to become a self-sufficient and capable kayaker, confident in executing your own expeditions! This class is to coach you in those skills to that end. Please reach out to discuss if this class is right for you.

Fidalgo Paddlesports provides all gear including kayaks, paddles, PFD’s, safety equipment, tents (upon request), food, stoves and other related camping equipment. We DO NOT PROVIDE sleeping bags or ground pads due to Covid 19, and these you will need to provide yourself. We are happy to provide recommendations for these items, and please see our Getting Ready for Your Class page to help you prepare.

Prerequisites: None, although some familiarity with kayaking is helpful.

Ages: 18 and up.

Course Duration: 5 days.

Book Now

Coastal Clinic

Cost: $300pp

Location: Hobuck Beach, Neah Bay

Course Description: A continuation of our popular Introduction to Surf Zone class, this clinic specifically focused on coastal kayaking blends a mix of skills training, leadership, scenarios and rough water paddling. We will spend time within the surf zone building competency and refining techniques surfing waves before heading up the coast into more removed waters. We will work on reading water, identify features for play, refine our judgement for near shore coastal exploration and progressively build a skill set for coastal exploration with an emphasis on safety.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Transitioning through rock gardens, identifying safe zones, transition zones and hazards
  • Swimming using a paddle while towing kayak
  • Practice using the “Outside” call
  • Sequence and spacing throughout dynamic water and in waves
  • Rescue scenarios in coastal features (dislocated shoulder, unconscious swimmer, etc.)
  • Coastal rescues and emergency signaling
  • Surf Zone kayak surfing techniques

Prerequisites: Please give us a call to find out if this is a class right for you!

Ages: 18 and up.

Duration: This is a three-day class. 7 hours each day. Equipment provided upon request.

Book Now

Sea Kayak Navigation

Cost: $125pp

Location: Bayview State Park

Course Description: The ultimate kayak navigation workshop! We’ll start with the bare basics: how tides and currents form, the effects of wind and weather on the marine environment and how to read a nautical chart. From there we’ll expand to understanding how to use and decipher the many resources available to us as kayakers when planning a trip. After we have a firm foundation we’ll gradually get more complicated as we start plotting courses and planning trips using a compass, a parallel ruler and dividers accounting for the effects of drift. We’ll cover a range of terminology, be able to find your fixed and estimated positions on the open water and most importantly impart the judgement necessary to plan a variety of trips and outings in your local waterways like an expert. Because after this workshop you’ll feel like one!

This is a land based class.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Understanding the formation and effects of tides and currents
  • Reading nautical charts and topographic maps
  • Latitude and Longitude/UTM’s
  • Difference between course, bearing and heading
  • Setting a Vector Solution and planning for crossing more than/less than an hour
  • Plotting courses using parallel rulers and dividers
  • Using a land based compass to take a field to map/map to field bearing and triangulate

Prerequisites: None

Ages: 18 and up.

Course Duration: 6 hours

Book Now

Incident Management

Cost: $165pp

Location: Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park

Course Description: Sometimes incidents happen on the water. Sometimes those incidents can be foreseen, sometimes not. Whether you’ve responded to the worst case scenario or not, arm yourself with knowledge to prepare yourself to handle whatever might arise, because one day it will.

In this land and water based class we’ll cover a range of topics such as how group dynamics and poor decision making play a part in the formation of incidents and how the leaders of a group through their judgement create most paddling incidents. We’ll analyze real life incidents, gleaning valuable insights into the series of compounding errors which created an incident. We’ll cover liability, the importance of float plans and take a look at incident statistics from years past in paddlesports.

In the afternoon, we’ll head out onto the water to practice rescues and recoveries, which will culminate in a real life water based scenario.

A sampling of the course content includes:

  • Hierarchy of competence
  • Risk modeling
  • Small group incident analysis
  • Creating an incident action plan
  • Rescues and recoveries
  • Situational awareness

Ages: 18 and up.

Course Duration: 8 hours

Book Now

Our refund policy, personal kayak/SUP policy, Essential Eligibility Criteria and more can be found here.