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Canoe Lessons

604-477-4663

Canoe & Paddling Lessons

CANOE COURSES: NAVIGATING ADVENTURE, GAINING SKILLS

Discover the art of paddling in all its diverse styles and the invaluable lessons that accompany each stroke! At Ridge Wilderness, our canoe courses are designed to offer a comprehensive experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

ENHANCED RECOGNITION

All our canoe courses now come with a Paddle Canada certificate, offering enhanced recognition for your skills and accomplishments on the water. This additional acknowledgment showcases the breadth of your expertise in canoeing.

UNVEILING THE COURSE EXPERIENCE

Regardless of the certification received, each course promises the same immersive experience. However, our Ridge programs, known for their excellence, incorporate extra skills beyond the Paddle Canada level, ensuring a more enriched learning journey.

PRIVATE COURSES FOR YOUR TEAM

In addition to our regular courses, we offer private courses tailored for organizations and businesses across BC and Alberta. These private sessions provide a personalized approach to skill development, team building, and adventure.

Embark on a course that not only teaches you to navigate the waters but empowers you with a set of skills that extend far beyond the shore. Join us at Ridge Wilderness, where every paddle stroke propels you toward a new level of adventure and proficiency.

All upcoming public courses, locations, details and pricing can be found listed at the bottom of our page under the course descriptions below! Interested in a private offering in your community? No problem! Contact us for a customized quote.

Canoe Courses Offered:

  • Intro, Intermediate + Instructor – Tandem + Solo Canoe Courses
  • Big Canoe Lake Level Paddler, Leader/Skipper and Instructor Courses
  • Big Canoe Ocean Skipper Courses
  • Waterfront Instructor Courses
  • And More!

Intro Solo Lake Water Course

The Introduction to Solo Lake Canoeing introduces beginner paddler to paddling in calm sheltered waters.

Students are introduced to the basic paddling strokes and land and water rescues techniques. At the end of the course participants will have the confidence and basic skills to venture out on short paddling adventures.

Duration: 9am – 4pm

INTRO SOLO LAKE WATER COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Prerequisites: none

Intent of the course: Students are introduced to the basic paddling strokes and land and water rescues techniques. At the end of the course participants will have the confidence and basic skills to venture out on short paddling adventures.

Course Content:

Safety and Rescue

  • Carrying a canoe
  • Basic environment hazards like water, wind, waves, weather
  • When to get off the water
  • Being prepared for hypothermia and hyperthermia
  • Personal preparation (clothing, water, snacks, medication, etc.)
  • Transport Canada regulations and requirements
  • Safe canoe procedures (lead/sweep and on water leadership)
  • Canoe over canoe rescues
  • Towing a canoe
  • Throw bag practice

General Paddling Skills

  • Getting in and out of a canoe at a dock or easy shoreline
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Rafting up

Strokes

  • Forward
  • Reverse
  • Check (stop)
  • Draw
  • Pry
  • J-Stroke or rudder
  • Forward and Reverse sweep (stern only)
  • Low brace
  • Drop Skeg

Maneuvers

  • Forward paddling
  • Wide turns (rectangular course)
  • Pivots
  • Left and right turns
  • Docking (basic)
  • Reverse paddling

Concepts

  • Momentum and initiation
  • Trimming a canoe

Knowledge

  • Basic canoe and paddle parts
  • Paddle and canoe care
  • Knots for canoe tie down (bowline and truckers hitch)
  • Equipment for a half day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • PaddleSmart
  • Leave No Trace principles

Intro Tandem Lake Water Course

The Introduction to Lake Canoeing course introduces beginner tandem paddlers how to paddle with a partner in calm sheltered waters.

Participants will be introduced to the basic paddling strokes and land and water rescues techniques. At the end of the course participants will have the confidence and basic skills to venture out on short paddling adventures.

Duration: 9am – 4pm

INTRO TANDEM LAKE WATER COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Prerequisites: none

Intent of the course: Participants will be introduced to the basic paddling strokes and land and water rescues techniques. At the end of the course participants will have the confidence and basic skills to venture out on short paddling adventures.

Course Content:

Safety and Rescue

  • Carrying a canoe
  • Basic environment hazards like water, wind, waves, weather
  • When to get off the water
  • Being prepared for hypothermia and hyperthermia
  • Personal preparation (clothing, water, snacks, medication, etc.)
  • Transport Canada regulations and requirements
  • Safe canoe procedures (lead/sweep and on water leadership)
  • Canoe over canoe rescues
  • Towing a canoe
  • Throw bag practice

 

General Paddling Skills

  • Getting in and out of a canoe at a dock or easy shoreline
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Rafting up

 

Strokes

  • Forward
  • Reverse
  • Check (stop)
  • Draw
  • Pry
  • J-Stroke or rudder
  • Forward and Reverse sweep (stern only)
  • Low brace
  • Drop Skeg

 

Maneuvers

  • Forward paddling
  • Wide turns (rectangular course)
  • Pivots
  • Left and right turns
  • Docking (basic)
  • Reverse paddling

 

Concepts

  • Momentum and initiation
  • Trimming a canoe

 

Knowledge

  • Basic canoe and paddle parts
  • Paddle and canoe care
  • Knots for canoe tie down (bowline and truckers hitch)
  • Equipment for a half day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • PaddleSmart
  • Leave No Trace principles

Intermediate Solo & Tandem Lake Water Course

Intermediate Solo & Tandem Lake Canoeing builds on the skills learned in the introduction level and enables the paddler(s) to have confidence paddling in more dynamic conditions.

Students will expand their skills and principles necessary to paddle solo or with a partner in open lake waters, to perform skills and maneuvers with greater refinement, demonstrate confidence in an open water environment, and to develop a greater awareness of environmental hazards and how to avoid/react to those hazards.

Duration: 2-day course, 9am – 4pm each day

INTERMEDIATE SOLO & TANDEM LAKE WATER COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Prerequisites: Introduction to Solo Lake Canoeing certification or permission of the Instructor, based on proof of prior learning of equivalent skill and knowledge.

Intent of the course: Students will expand their skills and principles necessary to paddle solo or with a partner in open lake waters, to perform skills and maneuvers with greater refinement, demonstrate confidence in an open water environment, and to develop a greater awareness of environmental hazards and how to avoid/react to those hazards.

Course Content:

Safety and Rescue

  • Carrying a canoe
  • Weather information/interpretation
  • Heat and cold issues
  • Accident prevention
  • Principles of effective rescue
  • First aid kits
  • Deep water exits
  • Swimming canoe to shore
  • Emptying swamped canoe
  • Canoe over canoe rescue
  • Assisting a swimmer into a rescue canoe
  • Towing a canoe
  • Throw bag rescues
  • Entering and exiting a canoe

Strokes

  • Draw and pry
  • Forward and reverse sweeps
  • Bow and crossbow jam
  • Sculling draw
  • Righting pry
  • J-stroke
  • Cuts
  • Reverse J and C
  • Silent

Maneuvers

  • Figure 8’s
  • Rectangle course
  • Reverse straight-line
  • Sideslip along a dock
  • Precision docking
  • Running sideslip (onside)
  • Controlled stops

Concepts

  • Solo position/trim
  • Power face and non-power face
  • Inside and outside turns
  • Stroke phases: catch, power and recovery
  • Mith: Momentum, Initiation, Tilt and Hold

Knowledge

  • Canoe and paddle designs and materials
  • Knots: taut line, clove hitch, highwayman’s hitch
  • Day trip planning (location, navigation, communication, and float plan)
  • Basic repair kit
  • Emergency survival kit
  • Paddling abilities/limitations
  • Canoe history

Moving Water Solo & Tandem Course

This Introduction to Moving Water Canoeing course is designed to introduce participants to the exciting world of solo moving water canoeing emphasizing boat control, reading water and safe practice.

The course is taught in a fashion that focuses first on the essential method of carving a canoe with a few flat-water drills and then onto experiencing moving water. This approach gets the participants successfully executing maneuvers quickly and developing the confidence and enthusiasm for moving water canoeing. From the foundational block of carving the canoe, paddlers will development skills to smoothly move across currents, learn the basics for water reading and risk management.

Duration: 2-day course, 9 am – 4pm each day

MOVING WATER SOLO & TANDEM COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Prerequisites: Introduction of Lake Solo Canoe or permission of the Instructor, based on proof of prior learning of equivalent skill and knowledge.

Intent of the course: The course is taught in a fashion that focuses first on the essential method of carving a canoe with a few flat-water drills and then onto experiencing moving water. This approach gets the participants successfully executing maneuvers quickly and developing the confidence and enthusiasm for moving water canoeing. From the foundational block of carving the canoe, paddlers will development skills to smoothly move across currents, learn the basics for water reading and risk management.

Course Content: 

Safety and Rescue

  • River hazards
  • River anatomy
  • Canoe stability
  • Reading current
  • River signals (whistle, paddle and hand)
  • Swimming (being prepared)
  • Shore rescue using a throw bag
  • Water rescue: canoe over canoe, parallel/curl, canoe re-entry
  • Towing
  • Swimming a canoe to shore

General Paddling Skills

  • Carving
  • Lateral movement

Paddling Strokes

  • Draw, bow and stern draw
  • Pry, bow pry and stern pry
  • Bow cut, crossbow cut
  • Forward and Reverse strokes
  • Bracing (forward stroke)
  • Low brace

Manoeuvres

  • Onside and offside carves
  • Launching and landing in current
  • Front ferries
  • Eddy exit and entry
  • S-turns
  • Descending back ferry
  • Navigating river bends

Concepts

  • MITH (momentum, initiation, tilt and hold)
  • Carving
  • Shape of the arc
  • Canoe design
  • River left and river right
  • Eddy pool
  • Eddy line and eddy wedge
  • Current and current line
  • Grain of current
  • Waves and standing waves

Knowledge

  • Canoe design
  • Outfitting
  • Personal preparedness
  • Knots for canoe tie down
  • Equipment for day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)

Puller Course – Lake Water

Big Canoe Skills Introductory Course
Consists of participants paddling in the big canoe NOT in the stern

Duration: 1-day course – 9am – 4pm

PULLER COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Intent of the course: To introduce novices to the big canoe, specifically to the middle and bow positions. To introduce the basics strokes: forward, reverse, check/stop, drop skeg and low brace to safely assist with propelling the canoe forward, backing up, stopping and docking. An optional maneuver may be introduced to assist with moving the canoe sideways (sideward displacement) using draws and prys as an optional progression to the Intermediate Leader position. Participants will rotate through the middle and bow position in a big canoe with a Big Canoe Instructor or an Intermediate or Advanced Big Canoe Leader in the stern.

The Introduction to Big Canoe Paddling Skills introduces beginner paddlers to paddle alongside a crew of at least 5 others in calm sheltered waters.

At the end of the course students have the confidence and basic skills to join crew of others to venture out on short paddling adventures in these historically significant and beautiful canoes.

 

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue

  • Carrying a big canoe
  • Basic environment hazards (water/ wind/waves/weather) when to get off
  • Hypothermia & hyperthermia (being prepared)
  • Personal preparation (clothing, water, snacks, medication, etc.)
  • Transport Canada regulations
  • Leader/captain commands

General Paddling Skills

  • Enter and exit a canoe: dock or shoreline
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Switching sides

Paddling Strokes

  • Forward and reverse strokes
  • Check (stop)
  • Stationary low brace
  • Drop skeg
  • Optional strokes for the bow padders including draw and pry

Concepts

  • How to hold a paddle
  • Paddler placement
  • Canoe trim and 5” freeboard

Manoeuvres

  • Forward & reverse paddling
  • Pivot and wide turns
  • Docking
  • Switching sides and placement
  • Stupping

Knowledge

  • What is a big canoe?
  • Paddle and canoe care
  • Understanding commands
  • Equipment for 1/2-day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Leave no trace principles
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)

Course Prerequisites

  • None

Skipper Course – Lake Water

(Intermediate Big Canoe Leader Skills – Paddle Canada)
Intermediate Big Canoe Leader Skills introduces students on how to lead a crew in a big canoe in calm sheltered waters.

Students will build off their existing paddling knowledge and skill to learn how stern, Captain a crew and to maneuver the big canoe.

Duration: 2-day course, 9am – 4pm each day

SKIPPER COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Prerequisites: 

  • Minimum age of 16 years or high level of fitness and maturity.
  • Must currently hold at minimum a Standard First Aid up to a Wilderness First Responder certificate, depending on where you plan to travel. It is the participants responsibility to ensure their First Aid certifications are of the appropriate skill level for their paddling destinations/journeys. See Ridge First Aid course offerings here!

Content: Paddling in a straight line, turns, docking, with and without the help of your crew. Crew commands, and leading skills, rescues, big canoe safety, paddling with other big canoes, what to expect from novice paddlers, packing for a trip, trim and balance of a canoe, how to work together

Intent: To introduce big canoe paddling to those individuals who have a basic knowledge of paddling strokes. To gain knowledge and skill for the stern position in the big canoe and to gain the skills to lead novices in a big canoe on easy water (flat/lake water

*Includes a workbook, skipper talk + manual.

 

Course Curriculum:

Safety and Rescue

  • Carrying a big canoe
  • Environment hazards (water/ wind/waves/weather) when to get off! Hypothermia & hyperthermia (being prepared)
  • Group management
  • Transport Canada regulations
  • Safe canoe procedures and development of a float plan
  • Signals (multiple canoes): whistle/paddle
  • Canoe rescues
  • Communication devices

 

General Paddling Skills

  • Enter and exit a canoe: dock/shoreline
  • Paddling and commanding a crew

 

Paddling Strokes

  • Forward & reverse strokes
  • Check (stop)
  • Draw and pry (active and stationary)
  • Forward and reverse sweeps (stern only)
  • Low brace
  • Drop skeg
  • Optional strokes for the bow position: Draws and pry’s (active and stationary)

 

Concepts

  • How to hold a paddle
  • Position and roles of crew
  • Commands for crew

 

Maneuvers

  • Straight lines
  • Turns (wide and tight) (active and stationary strokes)
  • Pivots
  • Reverse paddling
  • Docking and shoreline
  • Changing paddler placement

 

Knowledge

  • Group management
  • Risk management
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Leave no trace principles
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)

Big Canoe Ocean/Coastal Skipper Course

The Paddle Canada National Coastal Canoeing Program provides a foundation of knowledge and skill for safe and efficient tandem coastal canoeing in a variety of environments.

Students will develop solid big canoe handling skills as well as canoe rescues in the context of coastal canoeing. The introduction of tidal prediction, marine forecasting and navigation with nautical charts also occurs at this level.

Duration: 3-day course, 9am – 4pm each day

OCEAN/COASTAL COURSE CONTENT - CLICK HERE

Prerequisites: Big Canoe Skills Intermediate Leader Lake Water Course (Lake Water Skipper Course)

Course Content:

Safety and Rescue

  • Review of Introduction to Big Canoe Leader skills
  • Environment hazards including water, wind, waves and weather
  • Tides
  • Hypothermia & hyperthermia (being prepared)
  • Personal preparation (clothing, water, snacks, medication, etc.)
  • Transport Canada regulations and requirements
  • Safe canoe procedures
  • Signals and communication
  • Rafting up to rescue in wind and waves

General paddling skills

  • Enter and exit a canoe: dock or easy shoreline
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Rafting up

Paddling Strokes

  • Refine intermediate, Big Canoe Leader
  • Bow draw
  • Basic bracing
  • Stern draw and pry

Maneuvers

  • Refine intermediate, Big Canoe Leader skills
  • Navigating shoreline using piloting techniques: checkpoints, handrails and natural catching features
  • Forward straight-line paddling
  • Pivot turns in tight locations
  • Large to small arc turns (under power)
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Left and right turns under power

Knowledge

  • Basic understanding of nautical charts
  • Accessing/interpreting land and marine forecasting
  • Introduction to high and low water times
  • Equipment for half-day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Leave no trace principles
  • Historical or local coastal paddling events
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)

May

18mayAll DayIntro Solo Lake Water Course9am - 4pm

18mayAll DayIntro Tandem Lake Water Course9am - 4pm

22mayAll Day24Big Canoe Ocean Skipper Course - Ambleside3 DAYS

July

21jul9:00 am4:00 pmIntro Tandem Lake Water Course9am - 4pm

23jul9:00 am4:00 pmIntro Tandem Lake Water Course9am - 4pm

August

18aug9:00 am4:00 pmIntro Tandem Lake Water Course9am - 4pm

19aug9:00 am4:00 pmIntro Tandem Lake Water Course9am - 4pm

FAQ's - CLICK HERE

Canoe Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where is the curriculum in your courses derived from?

All of our canoe courses are run using the Paddle Canada curriculum and standards!

Will we have a Paddle Canada Certified Instructor to teach our course?

Yes! All of our instructors are certified by Paddle Canada. They also receive regular in-house training to stay on top of their own skills!

I would like to take the Big Canoe Ocean Endorsement Course, are there any prerequisites for this course?

Yes! In order to take the 3 day Big Canoe Ocean/River Endorsement Course, you must already have successfully completed the 2 day Big Canoe Skipper Course – Lake Level Course.

I would like to take the Moving Water Tandem/Solo Course, are there any prerequisites for this course?

Yes! In order to take the 2 day Moving Water Course, you must already have successfully completed the 1 day Intro Tandem/Solo Canoe Course – Lake Level

Do you provide Paddle Canada Certification for your canoe courses?

Yes! We can provide you with a Paddle Canada Certificate for the course you intend to take. However, you must let us know that you would like the additional certificate no more than 2 weeks out from your course. As well, there is an additional fee associated with the certificates. If you are a private group that is interested in adding the Paddle Canada Certificate to your program, we do require that ALL participants taking the course have the certificate added.

Are there any age restrictions on your courses?

No, there is no age policy when a parent or guardian is accompanying the child. Our recommended age requirements for children participating alone are as follows:

  • Big Canoe Skipper Course 16 years + 
  • Big Canoe Ocean Endorsement Course 16 years +
  • Intro to Tandem/Solo Course 10 years +
  • Intro to Moving Water Course 16 years +
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures
Ridge Wilderness Adventures

Contact Us

Ready to register, but have a question? Call us!

604-477-4663