Canoe Lessons


Canoe & Paddling Lessons

Here you will find all the different styles of paddling and the lessons that go with them!  We offer in-house Ridge Canadian Canoe Certificates for all our Canoe courses, these are included in your course package. These certificates are specifically for participation and completion of the course, where participants are looking to focus more on the skills gained, and do not need a particular certification for work purposes.

As of June 2023, all successful Big Canoe course participants will receive a Paddle Canada certificate at no additional cost!

Each course is the same regardless of certification given, however, our normal Ridge programs include a few extra skills the Paddle Canada level does not.

Please notify our office if you would prefer a Paddle Canada certificate.

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!

Puller Course

Big canoe Skills Introductory Course
Consists of participants paddling in the big canoe NOT in the stern
Duration: 1.5 day course (first day done in small canoes and then transitioned into big canoes for day 2 to apply skills)

  1. more info coming soon.

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.

Skipper Course:

(Big Canoe Leader – Paddle Canada)
Learning to lead a big canoe with a novice crew.
Duration: 2 days



  • 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)



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



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



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

Ocean/Coastal Canoe Course

Prerequisites: Big Canoe Skills Intermediate Leader Course (Skipper Course)
Duration: 3 days
Content: launching and landing in wind and waves appropriate for the level, additional paddle strokes, paddling in wind, waves and ocean current appropriate for the level, chart work, including plotting, navigation and compass work, tide predictions and how this affects canoeing, rescues in ocean water.

  1. coming soon.


24sep9:00 am4:00 pmPaddle Canada Instructors - Maintenance Clinic/Recertification - Alouette LakeSOLD OUT

25sep9:00 am4:00 pmPaddle Canada Instructors - Maintenance Clinic/Recertification - Alouette LakeSOLD OUT


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

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