Skill Levels

It is important that everyone has an enjoyable, comfortable and safe experience at Storm Gathering USA.

Weather conditions may have an effect on whatever we take part in afloat, but coaches will seek to deliver a session that meets your goals and also reflects the publicized activity.

To help you make the best choices, each class is labeled with a skill level (listed below). To determine your skill level, think about your current level of experience and your realistic goals. Honest self-assesment is important for everyones’s safety, enjoyment and learning environment.

Many paddlers will find themselves at or around the standard of ‘Level 2.’ With this in mind, many sessions will be ‘Level 1 – 2’ and ‘Level 2 – 3.’ This allows you to choose coaching activities that will be either within your comfort zone or will stretch you somewhat. It’s your choice!

Level 1 – Advanced Beginner

If you are used to paddling as a member of a led group and/or have previously restricted your sea kayaking adventures to relatively protected waters, consider yourself at Level 1 – Advanced Beginner.

A Level 1 paddler has had some formal instruction and can perform self and assisted rescues in sheltered water. They can paddle forward with efficiency, steer their kayak, move sideways and prevent capsize effectively. They are able to maneuver their kayak in tight spaces and can paddle six to eight miles in a protected coastal or inland environment over the course of a day.

We will ensure that Level 1 – 2 sessions offer the right amount of challenge for your current experience as an Advanced Beginner.

Level 2 – Intermediate

If you are a self-sufficient paddler who has good group awareness, can assess hazards confidently and are comfortable in moderate conditions, Level 2 – Intermediate sessions are designed for you. You should be used to dealing with winds up to 15 knots and ocean swells up to six feet, as well as be able to self-rescue effectively.

A Level 2 paddler can maintain an effective course in wind and swell. They should be proficient with deep water rescues and towing systems. A Level 2 paddler has an understanding of trip planning, navigation and equipment selection and is capable of paddling eight to 15 miles over the course of a day.

If you join a Level 1 – 2 session, you can expect a more relaxed, comfortable experience as an Intermediate paddler.

Level 3 – Advanced Intermediate/Advanced

If you are used to paddling with competent peers in more bumpy ocean settings and are confident in winds up to 20 knots with swells of at least eight feet, you’ll be looking for the more challenging sessions at the event. Level 3 sessions are suitable for Advanced Intermediate/Advanced  paddlers.

A Level 3 Advanced Intermediate/Advanced paddler will have a well-rounded sea kayaking background and be able to perform fundamental skills in moderate to rough water. A Level 3 paddler has a reliable roll in open water, is in good physical condition and can paddle 15 to 20 miles over the course of a day. At this level, paddlers should possess good seamanship skills, such as environmental/weather and sea state awareness, tidal and trip planning, on-water navigation and be knowledgable about emergency procedures and rough water rescues.

We aim to ensure that you get the right level of challenge as an Advanced Intermediate/Advanced paddler, while placing the safety of the group first in decision making.

Photo Credit: Paddle Pals Collection

Photo Credit: Paddle Pals Collection


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