PADDLING SCHOOL

Your Resource for Paddle Instruction

We offer multiple learning opportunities throughout the year.  Join us for a class, schedule a private session or build your skills in real-life conditions with multiple days of low-ratio coaching on one of our trips.  Based in Lansing, MI we offer classes throughout the state and have winter pool sessions in both Howell and Eaton Rapids. 

101 – Start Here

Kayak 101 and SUP 101 is a great place to start learning. These classes are structured around the two essential questions every paddler needs to answer.

 

  1. Should I be out here paddling today and how do I know that?
  2. If yes to above, then do I have a solution for when things do not go as expected?
Kayak 101

KAYAKING 101: The 2 questions ALL kayakers must answer

  1. Should I be out here paddling today and how do I know that?
  2. If yes to above, then do I have a solution for when things do not go as expected.

Kayaking is not like Power Boating. There is a very high probability that you or a partner WILL capsize at some point. You do not just hop out of your car and climb on the boat good to go. To have maximum FUN, we need to know how and why things happen ON and IN the water.

DRY LAND: 

1) PEOPLE
   – Self assessment
   – Communication
  – Core concepts of paddling technique
  – Incident Management and Rescue Priorities

2) ENVIRONMENT
   Wind, water, weather and waves
  – Hazard identification and AVOIDANCE
  – HYPO/HYPERTHERMIA

3) GEAR
  – Boat and Paddle design
  – PFDs
  – Clothing
– Throw ropes

ON WATER:

  1. Boat handling basics
  2. Rescue Strategies and Techniques
  3. Incident debriefing
SUP 101

SUP 101: The 2 questions ALL paddlers must answer

  1. Should I be out here paddling today and how do I know that?
  2. If yes to above, then do I have a solution for when things do not go as expected?

Paddle boarding is not like Power Boating. There is a very high probability that you or your paddling partners WILL fall off the board and be in the water at some point. You do not just hop out of your car and climb on the board good to go. To have maximum FUN, we need to know how and why things happen ON and IN the water.

DRYLAND: 

1) PEOPLE
   – Self-assessment
   – Communication
  – Core concepts of paddling technique
  – Incident Management and Rescue Priorities

2) ENVIRONMENT
   – Wind, water, weather and waves
  – Hazard identification and AVOIDANCE
  – HYPO/HYPERTHERMIA

3) GEAR
  – Boat and Paddle design
  – PFDs
  – Clothing
– Throw ropes

ON WATER:

  1. Board handling basics
  2. Rescue Strategies and Techniques
  3. Incident debriefing

 

Pools Sessions

From December – March you can join us for classes during our weekly pool sessions. Friday nights 6:30 – 8:30 in Howell, MI and Saturday afternoons 1:00 – 3:00 in Eaton Rapids, MI.  Develop your skills through getting comfortable underwater in our Happiness upside down class. Work on your self-rescue and bracing. Connect with your boat, blade, and the water in our boat control and blade awareness class.  We also offer rolling sessions everyweek. 

3 kayakers surfing on the pigeon

Kayak Courses

In addition to our Kayak 101 and pool sessions we also offer a variety of other courses and classes. 

Rolling

Kayak rolling is on almost every paddler’s “want” list.  There’s not much about rolling a kayak that you will figure out on your own, so learning from a coach that can guide you through a progression is the fastest way to get a roll.

Our group rolling lessons are a great way to get started as you’ll have time to rest between one on one sessions with the coach and you’ll be able to learn from observing your fellow students.

We will find the roll best suited to your boat and body.  C to C, Sweep, and lay back are some of the options.

Rolling lessons are also offered as private instruction

From one of our rolling students:
” I just wanted to say thanks for your help with my kayak roll last Thursday.  One of the things you said on Thursday was that when you held my paddle there was hardly any pressure on it when I did my hip snap.  Once I got home I concentrated on being as light on the paddle as possible and basically rolling around it rather than a big pull on the paddle.  This helped immensely and I’m completing the roll successfully.”

Thanks again for your help.

Chris G.

River Rescue

River 101

Learn the essential skills to keep yourself and your friends safe on the river.  Much of what helps us be safer on the river is not intuitive, in fact, we are hard-wired to NOT do the right thing.  Practicing safe techniques is the best way to ensure you will respond correctly when you find yourself in an unplanned out-of-boat experience.

Topics include:

River safety strategies (don’t get into trouble in the first place)
Hazard identification (don’t go over there)
Self rescue (fix it yourself, if you can)
Offensive and defensive swimming (There’s a time to be passive, and a time to be aggressive, know the difference)
Gear management (Has anyone seen my paddle?)
Safely dealing with strainers (Avoidance is best but here’s what to do if you just can’t miss it)

Class meets at the Delhi Metropark near Ann Arbor (parking fee may apply if you don’t have a Metroparks pass), the Rogue River in Rockford, depending on water levels.

River Rescue 202

River Safety and Group Rescues is the follow-up course to the River Rescue 101 course.  In this course we move the focus toward helping others.  The course will give you the confidence to be an effective member of a moving water rescue.

Course content includes:
Boat control in conditions
Wading rescues
Throw bag use
Paddle recovery techniques
Boat recovery techniques
Swimmer recovery techniques
Dealing with a “yard sale”

Participants in the Group Rescue course should be competent in maneuvering their boat in moving water and have taken our River 101 course or have a similar experience.

River Rescue 303

River Rescue 101 and 202 are the foundation skills for being a safe member of a group on a river.  River Rescue 3 is the next step that puts those skills to the test while running a section of river.

We’ll use the day trip to create scenarios drawn from real life experiences that paddlers have had.  We will also take advantage of issues that develop organically.

Skills we can put to the test:

Recovering swimmers, boats and gear
Using C.L.A.P. effectively on the river
Dealing with pinned boats
Reuniting ‘stranded” paddlers with their stuff
Managing the group during “events”

Paddling In Current

Intro to River
A great foundation for paddling Michigan rivers and a great place to start for anyone looking at getting into whitewater. Looking at the river in a whole new way. Boat handling, hazard awareness and solutions, moving in and out of mild current and safety. Everyone needs these skills, plus it is FUN!

Paddling in Current

So now we look at river reading, trip planning and rescue strategies. We will also focus on paddling in and out of current – eddy turns, peel outs and ferries

30 Second Rescue

The 30 second kayak rescue is a very attainable goal for anyone in a boat with bulkheads.  Let us show you how to efficiently get someone back into a dry boat in about 30 seconds, measured from point of contact with the swimmer to them sitting in a dry cockpit.

What’s covered:

The role of the swimmer
gear management
what to do with their boat
where to be before the rescuer arrives
options for re-entering the cockpit quickly and easily

The role of the rescuer
safety considerations
how to approach the swimmer
gear management
emptying the kayak without lifting
effective stabilization techniques

If time allows, we can also look at other assisted rescue options, self-rescues or towing.

Paddle Adventure Travel

Trips are built around our core philosophy of developing independent paddlers. Build your skills and accelerate your learning in real-life conditions with multiple days of coaching. 

Our low student-coach ratios allow us to embrace the environment offering challenges that are accessible and fun. Skills we focus on could include eddy turns, ferries, surfing, river running strategies, river safety, and rescues. We work hard to facilitate a collaborative and community-centered learning experience. Each trip begins with a group discussion of goals and aspirations.  Each of the destinations offers a range of paddling environments so we can choose the optimal conditions for the group.

READ MORE

ACA – Skills and Assessments

We are proud to offer ACA instruction and assessment classes for both kayak and SUP. We offer both skills and instruction options. These are offered as stand-alone classes but can also be integrated into our adventure travel trips.

3 kayakers surfing on the pigeon

Private Instruction

Scheduling a private coaching session with The Power Of Water can be a very efficient way to improve your paddling skills.  We’ll work on helping you achieve your paddling goals in paddleboarding, whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, flatwater kayaking or canoeing. Contact us to schedule your session. 

"The coaching allowed freedom to grow in ways I never would have on my own"

"Southern rivers is a preview of spring for us from the north and a welcomed start to the paddling season"