Just about anyone can paddle a kayak on Lake Union after a short orientation and have a great time. To paddle safely and confidently in the marine waters of the Pacific Northwest, however, requires considerably more skill and knowledge. Paddlers should know how to re-enter the kayak from the water, have a good grasp of the strokes including bracing, understand and be able to predict tides and currents, and have a basic knowledge of marine weather. For those who wish to venture off shore, competence in surf is essential. The following classes are designed to help the neophyte paddler achieve these goals.

Basic Strokes back to the top

This class is our basic water session for beginners who are just checking out the sport, and want to learn some proper paddling technique. We encourage students to also take the Bracing and Rescue class. Students in this class will practice basic boat handling skills, including an efficient forward stroke, turning strokes, reverse strokes, braces, and moving the boat laterally. The instructors and student volunteers will demonstrate rescue techniques at the end of class, earlier if necessary! This class will prepare you for sheltered paddling in recreational kayaks or sea kayaks. To gain more open water skills, take the fundamentals of Sea Kayaking Class, and the Surf Techniques class.

COST: $70.00

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Fundamentals of Sea Kayaking (FOSK) back to the top

Looking for a great way to enter the world of Sea Kayaking? Paddling the inland waterways of the Pacific Northwest can be fun and safe, providing you have the necessary knowledge and skills. This 4-session class gives you three lake sessions to learn stroke and rescue techniques, a current lecture where you will learn what currents are and how they work in theory, and a daytrip where you get to practice all of the above in real-life situations. You will learn about the boats and related equipment, proper clothing, safety considerations, and resource material. You will learn how to rescue yourself and others, and how to prevent capsizing by using bracing strokes. During the stroke sessions you will learn how to use the paddling strokes for maximum efficiency and stability. For our saltwater outing, we will choose a location where we can practice working with, against, and across currents, in a tightly controlled situation. The emphasis of this class is to build good paddling skills along with good sea-sense. No experience necessary, but be prepared to get wet! This class will prepare you to deal with paddling inland waters in moderate current and wind conditions. Must be at least 18 for the Deception Pass outing, the first 3 lake sessions of the class can be taken by those 16yrs and up.
To upgrade your skills after this class, take the Surf Techniques class or the Whitewater Fever class: both of these will make you more comfortable in rougher water, and improve your boat handlinig skills immensely! The Whitewater Fever includes 2 pool sessions to learn/work on the Eskimo Roll and bracing techniques. See Pictures for some of the fun! Here is a useful handout of things we cover in the class, directions, and other things you should know

FORMAT: Evening Lake Session Wed and Thursday 6:00-8:30pm at NWOC. Lake session/Lecture 9am-1:30 at NWOC on Saturday, all day Sunday outing (leave Seatle 8am, return by 6pm).

COST: $245.00
Kayak Rental: $50.00
Drysuit Rental: $30.00

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FOSK Refresher Class back to the top

Fosk Refresher. This class is for our former Fundamentals of Sea Kayaking, or Total Immersion class students, as a refresher for their kayaking skills. There are sessions offered on the lake, and at Deception Pass- sign up for each individually as your schedule permits.
On the lake, we will review and practice the strokes, bracing, and rescue techniques.
At the Pass, we will practice current maneuvers. Playing in the currents, eddies and whirlpools prepares you for most current challenges you will face. We will practice rescues and towing and other techniques as necessary. It is always better to practice these scenarios before you might actually need them, and knowing them can help you plan better so they might never happen! This outing will be fun, challenging and educational.
Drysuits are mandatory, and we will provide helmets.

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Sea Kayaking or Total Immersion Sea Kayaking, or equivalent with verification. You provide: Warm Paddling clothing (a list will be provided upon registration, along with directions)

COST: Lake Session:$70.00 includes boat, gear and drysuit
Dec Pass:$85.00
Kayak Rental for Dec Pass: $20.00
Drysuit Rental for Dec Pass: $20.00

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Basic Rescue back to the top
Basic Rescue. The Basic Rescue class is a must for the sea kayaker. During the 2-1/2 hour session, the students will be practicing re-entry techniques and some bracing. Both self-rescue and assisted rescue procedures will be covered. Students will be provided drysuits and booties for the lake classes. You should wear synthetic top and long johns, wool, or synthetic sweater (medium to heavyweight, depending on how easily you get cold), synthetic socks under your booties, and if you wear glasses, a retaining strap that is tight enough it won't allow your glasses to go for a dive to the bottom of the lake.

COST: $65.00

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Total Immersion Sea Kayaking 5-Day School back to the top

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Total Immersion Sea Kayaking won't be possible this year. For a comparable class, take the Fundamentals and the Surf Classes. They cover everything as the Total Immersion, plus you get more intensive work in the current. Another way to upgrade your existing paddling skills is the Whitewater Fever and/or the Surf Class.

COST: $695.00, $600 w/ your own equipment

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Surf Techniques for Kayakers back to the top

Where does one go for a little excitement during the hot summer months when the rivers get lazy and Puget Sound becomes glassy? The beautiful Washington Coast, of course. This class is a sure-fired way to learn how to brace, negotiate surf and develop confidence in your paddling skills. And besides that IT'S REALLY FUN! Great for whitewater and sea kayakers alike. We concentrate on lots of bracing practice in the surf zone, where you will learn what it really means to tilt your boat and moon the beach! Once you can handle the waves breaking on you from both sides, you can then move on to going out through the surf zone, and practice coming in between the waves for a dry landing, or surfing the waves in for a more exhilarating and dynamic ride. We will be situated on a gently sloping sand beach, so that any swimmers will find it a simple matter to stand up, collect their gear, and walk in to shore. Students must have taken a FOSK or bracing and rescue class, or their equivalent, prior to this class. The best and most fun way to learn bracing and overall boat control there is. After this class you will be much more comfortable paddling in rough water. To upgrade your skills, take the Whitewater Fever Class to learn the eskimo roll, hone your bracing techniques, and get even better at your boat-handling skills.

FORMAT: Lake session/Pep talk at NWOC 6:30-9pm followed by Saturday and Sunday on the beach. No Beginners! Must know bracing and rescue techniques.

COST: $195.00
Kayak Rental: $80.00
Drysuit Rental: $20.00

See Calendar for dates

Northwest Outdoor Center 2100 Westlake Ave N Ste 1 Seattle, Wa 98109 206-281-9694 mail@nwoc.com