Kayaking skill level guide

1. Use this guide by clicking on the level tabs above. ↑

2. Find the tab that describes your level best.

3. Match your level with the courses available below. ↓

Previous experience required:

None, start here if you haven't been in a kayak before or only a few times. We will endeavour to find the most *sheltered water* possible.

 

Sheltered Water as defined by British Canoeing:

Areas of open water (e.g. lakes and lochs) where the paddlers are no more than 200 metres offshore and the wind strength does not exceed Beaufort force 3, avoiding the group from being swept/blown out of the safe working area. Slow-moving estuaries (less than 0.5 Knots)

Small enclosed bays, enclosed harbours where there is minimal possibility of being blown offshore, defined beaches with easy places to land throughout, no tide races, overfalls or surf.

 

Previous experience required:

For our level 2 courses, you should have a small amount of previous kayak/watersport experience or at least be fairly water confident. We stay mostly in *sheltered water* but will look to start developing your confidence in small waves and light winds.

 

Sheltered Water as defined by British Canoeing:

Areas of open water (e.g. lakes and lochs) where the paddlers are no more than 200 metres offshore and the wind strength does not exceed Beaufort force 3, avoiding the group from being swept/blown out of the safe working area. Slow-moving estuaries (less than 0.5 Knots)

Small enclosed bays, enclosed harbours where there is minimal possibility of being blown offshore, defined beaches with easy places to land throughout, no tide races, overfalls or surf.

Previous experience required:

For our level 3 courses, you should have a fair amount of experience in a kayak in *sheltered water* - whether it be in a Sit-on-Top, sea kayak or other. At this level, we start to guide you out of *sheltered water* and spend some time in areas of *moderate water* conditions.

Level 3 courses are often pitched at paddlers looking to obtain their British Canoeing Sea Kayak Award.

 

Sheltered Water as defined by British Canoeing:

Areas of open water (e.g. lakes and lochs) where the paddlers are no more than 200 metres offshore and the wind strength does not exceed Beaufort force 3, avoiding the group from being swept/blown out of the safe working area. Slow-moving estuaries (less than 0.5 Knots)

Small enclosed bays, enclosed harbours where there is minimal possibility of being blown offshore, defined beaches with easy places to land throughout, no tide races, overfalls or surf.

Moderate Water as defined by British Canoeing:

A stretch of coastline with some areas where it is not easy to land but there will always be straightforward land points a maximum of two nautical miles apart. Crossings not exceeding two nautical miles. Up to 2 Knots of tide (but not involving tide race or overfalls). Wind strengths do not exceed Beaufort force 4. Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 metre, trough to crest height).

Previous experience required:

For our level 4 courses, you should have plenty of sea kayak experience, be very comfortable with the use of a spray-skirt and be comfortable with being rescued in flat water.

Level 4 courses are often pitched at paddlers looking to obtain their British Canoeing Coastal Sea Kayak Award and aspirant British Canoeing Sea Kayak Leaders.

At this level, we generally aim to be in sustained *moderate* sea conditions with the possibility of venturing into some low level *advanced* conditions such as gentle tide races and overfalls.

 

Moderate Water as defined by British Canoeing:

A stretch of coastline with some areas where it is not easy to land but there will always be straightforward land points a maximum of two nautical miles apart. Crossings not exceeding two nautical miles. Up to 2 Knots of tide (but not involving tide race or overfalls). Wind strengths do not exceed Beaufort force 4. Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 metre, trough to crest height).

Advanced Water as defined by British Canoeing:

Any journey on the sea where tidal races, overfalls or open crossings may be encountered and which cannot be avoided; sections of coastline where landings may not be possible or are difficult; sea state 4 and winds above Beaufort force 4; launching and landing through surf (up to 1.5 metres trough to crest height).

Previous experience required:

For our level 5 courses, you should have plenty of sea kayak specific experience in *moderate* sea conditions. You should be comfortable with being rescued in *moderate* sea conditions and an ability to roll is desirable.

Level 5 courses are often pitched at paddlers looking to obtain their British Canoeing Advanced Sea Kayak Award and aspirant British Canoeing Advanced Sea Kayak Leaders.

At this level, we are seeking out *advanced* sea conditions, tidal rapids and/or exposed swell.

 

Moderate Water as defined by British Canoeing:

A stretch of coastline with some areas where it is not easy to land but there will always be straightforward land points a maximum of two nautical miles apart. Crossings not exceeding two nautical miles. Up to 2 Knots of tide (but not involving tide race or overfalls). Wind strengths do not exceed Beaufort force 4. Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 metre, trough to crest height).

Advanced Water as defined by British Canoeing:

Any journey on the sea where tidal races, overfalls or open crossings may be encountered and which cannot be avoided; sections of coastline where landings may not be possible or are difficult; sea state 4 and winds above Beaufort force 4; launching and landing through surf (up to 1.5 metres trough to crest height).

 

Ian Jennings - Chief Sea Kayak Coach

What’s your Sea kayaking skill level?

R

Use this guide by clicking on the level tabs.

R

Book your course via the all courses above.

R

Learn at Sea Kayak Academy

R

Leave a better paddler.

Discover Your Sea Kayaking Skill Level

At Sea Kayak Academy, we understand that every sea kayaker has a unique set of skills and comfort levels on the water. That’s why we’ve introduced our exclusive Kayaking skill level Assessment page, designed to help you tailor your sea kayaking experience with us.

Why It Matters

Choosing the right sea kayaking course is crucial for a safe, enjoyable, and skill-enhancing adventure. Our Skill Level guide empowers you to assess your proficiency and familiarity with kayaking, ensuring that you embark on a journey that perfectly aligns with your abilities. Whether you’re a novice seeking the basics or an experienced paddler aiming to refine advanced techniques, this assessment will guide you to the most suitable course.

How It Works

Navigate through our easy-to-use Kayaking skill level assessment box above, where you’ll find a series of statements designed to gauge your sea kayaking expertise. From sheltered water paddling to advanced water, our levels cover a spectrum of abilities. The results will provide valuable insights, helping you make an informed decision when selecting the ideal course at Sea Kayak Academy.

The Benefits

  1. Personalized Experience: Tailor your sea kayaking adventure to match your skill level, ensuring you get the most out of your time on the water.
  2. Safety First: Selecting the appropriate course enhances safety, allowing you to confidently navigate the sea with the right knowledge and skills.
  3. Skill Progression: Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, our courses are structured to facilitate continuous skill development, ensuring a rewarding experience every time.

Ready to Begin Your Sea Kayaking Journey?

Take the Skill Level Assessment now and embark on a personalized adventure with Sea Kayak Academy. Your perfect paddling experience starts here!

Join us!

To progress your sea kayaking