Welcome to – Paddle NL Skills School 2024!

Whether you are a ‘self taught’ paddler, or a newbie, our Skills School courses are designed to help you build a foundation of skills and knowledge to help you to enjoy your future paddling adventures.

Building and enhancing competence in paddling skills will help you to relax and enjoy the incredible freedom that the ponds, lakes and coastlines have to offer. Learn skills needed to paddle more efficient, practice rescues, learn proper paddling strokes and how to communicate with a paddling partner!

Late May – early June is the one time of year that Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador offers a Paddle Canada sanctioned Skills School to the general public and to Paddle NL members.

Paddle NL does not own any paddling equipment and must rely on the support of the City of St. John’s Outdoor Recreational Department to run these courses. This is how we are able to offer these courses and not require people to supply or rent the necessary equipment for any of the courses.

Canoeing Courses

People in a Tandem Canoe on a pond.

The Introduction to Tandem Lake Canoeing course introduces beginner tandem paddlers how to paddle with a partner in calm sheltered waters. The successful candidate is considered a beginner tandem lake canoeist, capable of performing basic land and water-based rescues. Rescue techniques at this level teach self, as well as assisted rescues.

The Intermediate Tandem Lake Canoeing course expands of the paddlers canoe experience through skill refinement, additional skill development and awareness of environmental hazards. Participants will learn how to avoid and react to those hazards.

At this level manoeuvres require expanded levels of teamwork and greater precision. The progression of activities will focus on safety, refinement of skills, introduction of new strokes and manoeuvers, environmental challenges and perform assisted rescue techniques.

Sup Board Course

Alone person on a SUP Board.

The Basic SUP Skills course  introduces the novice to paddling a paddleboard in calm sheltered water. Enclosed and sheltered with easy landing options immediately available. Basic Assessment Activities focus on individual safety and comfortable paddling along a calm shoreline.

While there is a great deal to learn at this level, the activities should concentrate on personal progress and an awareness of the need for future learning. Paddlers should leave the course encouraged to continue their learning and aware of their individual limitations.

Kayaking Course

Lone Kayaker on the Ocean.

Basic Kayak Basic course is the starting point for individuals seeking to learn the art of Kayaking. There is a strong emphasis on water safety, equipment use/care, Kayaking fundamentals and skill development. The candidate will learn the theory and skills necessary for paddling close to shore on a pond or a calm ocean environment (Wind calm < 8 knots with a sea state calm to rippled).

No previous Kayaking experience necessary but good swimming ability/confidence is highly recommended.