Learn to kayak!
- Introduction – basic paddle sport training including equipment, gear and the training process.
- Skills Test — Complete three skill tests. Swimming, which you should already know, Comfort in water with a PFD on, and the Wet Exit, which we will teach you.
- Swimming proficiency test – Kayaking as a sport requires you to know how to swim. You will need to demonstrate your ability to swim one length of the pool, using any stroke that you prefer
- Comfort in water with a PFD (personal flotation device) on
- Wet exit – You will be taught how to easily and safely exit a kayak should it flip. After being taught a proper wet exit, you will need to demonstrate being able to do it on your own, comfortably and safely. One successful wet exit is mandatory. You may repeat the wet exit if you wish, to become more comfortable.
Why do I need to demonstrate an ability to swim?
Although paddlers are always required to wear PFDs, it is critical for their safety and those with them that the student be able to swim when required. Ability to swim is a requirement before taking any kayak courses.
How will I be asked to demonstrate comfort with a PFD?
You will be asked to do the following basic maneuvers:
Don a PFD (on the pool deck)
Enter the deep end of the pool
Roll to a face-down position, then rotate to a face-up position with arms and legs fully extended (like an “X”)
Swim a short distance with the PFD on, on your back with feet up, then exit the pool
What is a wet-exit and why do I need to do it?
The paddler is connected to the boat with a spray skirt that keeps water out while paddling. A wet exit requires the paddler to remove the spray skirt from the kayak, exit the kayak, and surface after the boat flips. The procedure is very easy to learn and execute. Click the links for a few videos demonstrating the simple steps. An instructor is right beside you at all times.
Wet exit explained here
Wet exit viewed from above water level here
Wet exit viewed from below water level here
Where are the facilities?
McKean High School
301 McKennan’s Church Road Wilmington, DE 19808
The Introduction will be in the auditorium and the Skills Test will be at the indoor pool. You will have access to changing rooms with lockers. We suggest that you arrive with a swimsuit on under your street clothes. This allows a quicker transition to the Skills Test. You can then use the private facilities to change into dry clothes afterward.
Proper clothing and gear
5 essentials equipment (Helmet, PFD, Paddle, Boat, and Flotation Bags)
Question and Answer Session
What do I need to bring?
Required: Swim suit, towel, dry clothes
Optional: Lock, swim goggles, nose clips, water shoes, hair dryer
Provided by WTC: boat, spray-skirt, and extra nose clips
What do I need before the session?
Please read the provided material listed below and view the wet-exit videos referenced above to understand the proper steps and process.
Keys to achieve your kayaking goals
Be realistic about your boating ability.
Do not attempt rivers or rapids which are beyond your ability.
Follow the instructors guidance.
Experienced paddlers are willing to discuss skill levels needed for a river.
Develop skills gradually. Do not try rivers harder than your skill set. Attempts to advance too quickly will compromise your safety and enjoyment.
Resist peer pressure to paddle beyond your skill set.
Progress at your own speed – relax and enjoy the experience.