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Sea Kayak Instruction Courses- Level III Skills

Description: A sea kayak seamanship and leadership course for intermediate to advanced paddlers undertaken as an 8-day expedition of the Pukaskwa wilderness coastline. This course is focused on helping participants master skills and develop experience through on- and off-water learning sessions, a wide variety of scenarios and paddle practice time.
2013 Dates: Fri Aug 16 (6pm)- Sat Aug 24 (noon)
Price: $975 + HST 
Certified Instruction, all-group on-site camping, park & shuttle fees, group greeting meal and Paddle Canada assessment & certification fee if requested.

Boat rental: $20/day
Rock Island Lodge B&B accommodations pre/post trip. Solo: $109 & Share: $55/night 
BCU 3-star assessment Aug 24 $100

Prerequisites: NSA Sea Kayak Skills 2 or Paddle Canada, or equivalent experience (at the discretion of the course director)
Length: 8 days
Ratio: One instructor to four participants/2 instructors to six participants
Equivalency: Paddle Canada Level 3 | ACA Coastal Kayak 4
Certification: Paddle Canada Level 3 certification. This expedition-based course is twice the time allotted for the Paddle Canada level 3 course requirement.
Advanced sea kayaking skills course
Paddle Canada Level 3 sea kayak skills

This course is designed for advanced-intermediate to advanced paddlers wanting to advance their personal paddling and leadership skills and experience in an extended 8-day wilderness expedition environment. Facilitated by an advanced and experienced instructor(s) it will be a strong supporting peer-to-peer learning environment.


Key outcomes include:

  • Developing your paddling skills to a higher level of proficiency; developing a personal skill set of rescue and towing skills specific to a variety of conditions; development of a higher level of technical paddling skills in more challenging conditions; an opportunity to master rolling in “real” conditions; safe surfing and rock hopping; loaded and unloaded boat handling, etc.
  • Developing practical group and peer-to-peer leadership, risk assessment, decision-making, judgement, group management, and seamanship skills and experience in the context of a multi-day journey along an exposed wilderness coastline.

  • Reviewing and enhancing your practical understanding of advanced paddling theory including sea state, communication, tides and currents, weather forecasting, maps, charts and navigation, etc.

  • Reviewing and enhancing your practical understanding and experience with wilderness freshwater camping including site selection, camp kitchen, tarpology, sanitation, low-impact camping, nature interpretation, etc.


The Trip Route will be expedition-style following the Lake Superior coastline approximately 190 km (114 mi) from Hattie Cove to our base in Michipicoten Bay. This route includes Pukaskwa National Park and the Superior Highlands Conservation Reserve, the most remote section of coastline on Lake Superior. It's a coastline of crystal clear waters adjacent to exposed glacial-worked Canadian shield interspersed with cobble and sand beaches.

Paddling conditions will vary between calm and very challenging. In August surface water temperatures often warm to the mid to high 60s with warm water in bays and inlets. Air temperatures average mid to high 60s although overnights are often much cooler.

Facilitated by the Course Director/Lead Instructor, participants will work together to plan the trip route/schedule and meals (either individually or as a group). Group camping gear (i.e. tarps, group sanitation, expedition first aid kits, water purification, etc.) is provided by Naturally Superior Adventures.


Erik OgaardThe lead course instructor/facilitator is Erik Ogaard who has over 16 years experience in kayak and canoe instruction. Currently he has a Level 4 sea kayak skills award, Level 3 Instructor and Level 2 Instructor Trainer awards with Paddle Canada and BCU 4 star awards. He is part of the SKILS sea kayak training group and much of his advanced training has been in British Columbia. Erik is head instructor for Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre based in Toronto. This is his third year leading the level 3 skills course at Naturally Superior Adventures.


The key objective of this course is to help you master advanced paddling skills and group/peer-to-peer leadership in a wilderness paddling expedition context. The course exceeds Paddle Canada's level 3 sea kayak skills criteria. Participants successfully completing the certification criteria will (if they desire) be awarded the certification.

The course completion is co-incidental with our BCU 3 star assessment and participants are welcome to challenge the certification at a small additional cost.

Paddle Canada Level III sea kayak skills courses

Is this Paddle Canada Level 3 sea kayak skills course right for you?

If you just graduated from level 2 this course is not for you (yet).

To get the most from this experience you’ll want to have done a few extended trips of 2 or more days totalling 10 overnights. You’ve paddled in waves and occasionally in surf up to one metre. Your technical paddling skills and rescues are intermediate – advanced and you have your roll or are pretty close to having one. You may already have certifications in wilderness first aid, VHF radio, swimming and lifesaving although these are not critical to success.

You are looking to further hone your technical paddling and paddle camping skills and work on trip leadership skills including scenarios.

Pre-trip/course preparation:

To help you get the most from this experience we will provide pre-course preparation assignments and expect group members to work together in trip planning.

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What others are saying

" The best part of the trip was the people - every single person I met from NSA was friendly, helpful, engaging, and just seemed like they were happy to be there so it made for a great atmosphere. "

Melody Lei, Toronto, ON