Sea Kayak Instruction Courses: Level-3 Skills

Course Description

This Paddle Canada Level-3 sea kayak based course is designed for advanced-intermediate to advanced paddlers wanting to advance their personal paddling and leadership skills and experience in an extended 5-day wilderness expedition environment. Facilitated by an advanced and experienced instructor(s) it will be a strong supporting peer-to-peer learning environment.

The trip route will be expedition-style following the Lake Superior coastline either to the south of Wawa through Lake Superior Park or west of Wawa through the Lake Superior Highlands Conservation Reserve. We also expect to practice tidal conditions at the base of Silver Falls or at the mouth of the Michipicoten River near Naturally Superior Adventures base.

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.

Amber ChampionCourse Instructor: Amber Champion 

Amber hails from Vancouver Island, BC. She has taught at numerous national and international symposiums, gained her Paddle Canada L4 Instructors and L3 Instructor Trainers certification and is the youngest and the only female to hold that certification. When Amber isn’t instructing she spends her time surfing her paddleboard or working as a multi-day sea kayak guide in the Abel Tasman National Park, in New Zealand.


Aug 28–Sep 1, 2024
Starts: 9:00 am
Ends: 4:00 pm


$995 CAD

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 Course Includes

  • Certified Paddle Canada Instructors
  • All Meals and Snacks
  • Beach Camping Accommodations
  • Course Materials
  • Group Safety Gear
  • Group Communication Gear
  • Camping and Sanitation Gear

 Extra Course Options

  • Meal Adjustment (contact us if you wish to bring your own meals)
  • Tent or Other Equipment Rental
  • Certification Fee
  • Reduced rate on kayak rentals

 Certification Notes

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.

Optional Paddle Canada Level-3 certification (equivalent to the American Canoe Association Coastal Kayak 4).


  • Certification: Sea Kayak Level-2 Skills with 15 days logged camping experience in class-2 conditions in either a freshwater or tidal environment or, Documented equivalent skill and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Paddling Experience: A log documenting extended trips of 2 or more days totalling 15 overnights. Ten of the paddling days should be in Level-2 conditions.
  • Wilderness first aid (16 hours) with CPR is strongly recommended.
  • VHF radio operator’s license is strongly recommended.


This course runs in Class-3 conditions which are described as: Exposed water, with more committed crossings and any combination of the following: moderate to strong currents with turbulence (≥ 6 km/h or ≥ 3 knots), moderate to strong wind effects (22-35 km/h or 12–19 knots), ocean swells and a combined sea state near 1 meter with occasional rough sea state. Difficult but frequent landing opportunities, surf-beaches with surf up to 1 metre. Delays in access to land-based assistance can expected.

Course Content

 General Content Information

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.

 Safety Topics

  • Assisted re-entry
  • Unassisted re-entry
  • All-in re-entry
  • Kayak rolling
  • Re-entry exercises and scenarios
  • Towing
  • Risk assessment and mitigation, incident management and evacuation options

 Theory Topics

  • Leadership and group decision making
  • Communication skills
  • Group awareness
  • Leadership roles
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • Expedition behaviour and group dynamics
  • Communication, signaling and technology
  • Heat and cold issues
  • Tides and currents
  • Repair kits
  • Weather interpretation and forecasting
  • Wind, wave and current theory
  • Wilderness navigation skills
  • Nautical chart & topographic map skills
  • Route planning for extended trips
  • Practical navigation skills
  • Trip logs

 Paddling Skills

  • Launching and landing
  • Forward stroke
  • Turning strokes
  • Low and high braces
  • Low and high brace turns
  • Bow rudders
  • Cross bow draw
  • Draws
  • Sculling for support
  • Stern draw and stern pry
  • Paddling in low visibility or at night
  • Surfing
  • Paddling in current

Questions & Answers

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

If you just graduated from the Paddle Canada Level-2 skills this course/expedition 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.

Pre-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.

Please don’t hesitate to email us with any questions.

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We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Please email us at [email protected] or phone 1-800-203-9092.