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Kayak and Paddleboard Lessons

Any age. Any experience level.

Although no experience is necessary to enjoy a peaceful day of kayaking, Nature Adventures Outfitters offers a full curriculum of kayak instruction for those who are interested in paddling in more challenging conditions. From beginning instruction for first-time paddlers to more advanced rescues, surfing, rolling and rough water, everything you need to know about kayaking around Charleston SC, or anywhere else is available through our courses and workshops.

All of our instructors are certified by the American Canoe Association


ACA Course Offerings

ACA Certified Kayaking & Paddleboard workshops, courses and focus clinics are offered throughout the year. Call or email us for a scheduled list. Classes taught by experienced and certified ACA Instructors.

Full Day Course price $150 - 6 to 8 hours of instruction (minimum of two people)

  • Intro to Kayaking 
  • Essentials of Kayak Touring - coastal


Focus clinics are $75 each - 3 hours of instruction (minimum of two people)

  • Quickstart to Paddling 
  • Basic Strokes and rescues - coastal


SUP Classes


Private instruction rates:

$85 /2 hours and $30 each additional hour (minimum of two hours)

*Semi-Private (2 or more) available for $65 / 2 hours and $25 each additional hour (minimum of two hours)

ACA Certified Course Descriptions

Intro to Kayaking

A course emphasizing safety, enjoyment and skill acquisition for entry level individuals wanting to paddle on easy, flat water.

Essentials of Kayak Touring - Our most popular course!

Learn strokes, maneuvers, landing and launching, equipment & gear, basic rescues, safety & coastal dynamics of tides, currents and winds. This course provides beginners with a safe and fun intro to the sport of coastal kayaking.

Please see itinerary below.

*For further descriptions and course outlines you may visit the ACA website at www.americancanoe.org.

Intro to Stand Up Paddleboarding

A course emphasizing safety, enjoyment, and skill acquisition for entry level individuals wanting to paddle on easy, flat water.

Focus Clinics

$75 per person per course - 3 hours (Minimum of two people)

Basic Strokes and Rescues

Coastal - Includes Essentials of Kayak touring - Coastal - as well as Open Water Self and Assisted Rescues, navigation ( interpreting nautical charts), hazards, compass bearings, interpretation of tides, proper outfitting and safety concerns.

Self and Assisted Rescues

Includes Wet Exit and several techniques on how to get yourself back in a kayak from water and assisting others back into their kayaks.

Kayak Surfing

Catch and Ride the Waves for Fun with a certfied instructor!

Surf Zone Maneuvering

Safely maneuvering your kayak in and out of the surf zone. A necessary skill for expedition coastal kayaking.

Rolling Classes

Learn to "roll" your kayak for fun, or to recover from a capsize!

Rough Water Maneauvering

Learn skills necessary to paddle safely in rough water ( strong winds, breaking waves and / or current.)


Learn Recovery strokes for stability and capsize prevention, including hip snap.

Quickstart to Paddling

Learn basic paddling and safety skills necessary to explore the different crafts used in paddle sport. Quiet Water - no prerequisites required.

*If you take these classes with Nature Adventures, you can receive an official American Canoe Association Card certifying your participation and skill proficiency in the course.

*Courses are taught in swimming pools, calm waterways, rivers and coastal areas, depending on course content.

Nature Adventures is a fully certified, licensed, insured and permitted outfitter. Our instructors hold "current" ACA certifications and are trained in First Aid and CPR

Essentials of Kayak Touring


Course Objectives:

To teach beginner paddlers to safely and enjoyably kayak on lakes, calm protected ocean environments, and other flatwater settings.

Course Duration:

Eight hours

Course Location:

Calm, protected flatwater, within swimming distance of shore.

Course Ratio:

1 Instructor to every 5 students (1:5) / 2:10 with an additional instructor or qualified assistant

Successive Courses:

Coastal Kayaking Basic Strokes & Rescues, Stroke and Maneuver Refinement, Open Water Skills

The following is a general summary of the course content for Essentials of Kayak Touring. The content and sequence of instruction should be arranged to best fit the students' needs, class location and time allowances.

Introduction and Logistics

  • Welcome
  • Course expectations, limitations and schedule
  • Review waiver/assumptions of risk and medical disclosure
  • PFD Policy (always worn on the water)
  • No alcohol/ dangerous drug use
  • Respect private property, litter, noise, etc
  • Proper etiquette on and off the water site-specific procedures, regulations, and times

Personal Preparation:

  • Learning judgment. Prudent behavior, being aware of what you don't know, can't handle, or should not risk
  • Group Equipment: extra paddle, dry bags, first aid kit and rescue equipment (Depending on the environment and nature of the trip this may include cell phones, 2- way radios, paddle floats, rescue slings, etc).
  • Guidebooks, maps/charts, local knowledge
  • Assessing relevant existing and approaching environmental conditions including: tides, weather, time of day, water and air temperature, traffic, and accessibility
  • Assessing personal and group dynamics (skills, equipment, group makeup, emotional concerns, logistics, and leadership).
  • Filed Trip Plan


  • Life Jackets (PFDs): types, fit
  • Kayaks: types, materials, parts (including safety features such as flotation)
  • Paddles: types, materials, parts, length, blade size, shape and offset, hand position
  • Care of equipment
  • Personal equipment: water, food, shoes, hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, sun glasses, eyeglass straps, protective clothing for heat or cold, sponge, bailer/pump, whistle (or other approved sounding device), knife, light
  • Optional equipment and outfitting for improved control

Getting Started:

  • Warm-up and stretching
  • How to pick up and carry a kayak safely
  • Car topping: loading and unloading, racks, straps
  • Launching and landing
  • Boarding, three points of contact, weight kept low, etc
  • Spray skirts (if applicable)
  • Posture, safety, comfort, effectiveness, rocking, balance
  • Wet exits
  • Water comfort and confidence
  • Self Rescue
  • How to empty a kayak
  • Basic Terminology
  • Types of strokes (covered in this course): power, turning
  • Stroke components: catch, propulsion, recovery (CPR), control, correction
  • Safe and effective body usage

Safety and Rescue:

  • Exercising Judgment, Safety as a mind-set, etc
  • Hypothermia/ Cold Immersion Shock: help/huddle, clothing
  • Dehydration/ hyperthermia: hydration, clothing
  • Hazards: wind, waves, weather, current, rocks, bridges, piers, dams, strainers, traffic
  • Paddling as a group
  • Signaling
  • Interactions/ Sharing water with non powered and powered traffic
  • Emergency procedures


  • Rescue sequence: RETHROG
  • Rescue priorities: people, boats, gear
  • Demonstrate/participate: T-X rescue
  • Deep-water re-entries, assisted and solo, with sling, scooping
  • Boat assisted rescue, assisting a tired swimmer (pushing or pulling to shore)
  • Towing or bulldozing a capsized boat


  • Forward
  • Back (stopping)
  • Draw
  • Sculling draw/brace
  • Sweep (including Stern Draw)
  • Reverse Sweep
  • Rudder
  • Low Brace


  • Paddling in a reasonably straight line
  • Spins
  • Stopping
  • Moving Abeam

Conclusion / Wrap Up

  • Course review
  • Course limitations (not a river or exposed open water course)
  • Need for more instruction, practice, and experience
  • Demo an advanced maneuver or skill
  • Trip planning - 6P's: prior, proper planning prevents poor performance
  • Homeland Security Awareness
  • Life sport/paddling options
  • Local paddling groups/clubs
  • ACA membership forms/participation cards

Kayaking with dolphins

"Bryson was an excellent guide and took us an enjoyable paddle on Shem Creek. We saw several groups of dolphins swimming right beside us. We paddled out to the bird sanctuary and saw many brown pelicans and several newborns. Bryson gave us an excellent overview of the Charleston skyline and the history of its forts."

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Paddle board and kayaking

"Even though it rained beforehand, it was worth the wait. And rain made the dolphins more active. Bryson was an awesome guide. It was a first for a friend an me and so much fun! Will definitely return!"


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Fun, Relaxing, and Informative

"My wife and I took the kayak tour in the early morning. Neither of us had been on a kayak before, but our guide, Jim, had us feeling like pros in no time. The boat traffic was low that day and the water was very calm. Making the day a relaxing, yet fun, way to cap off our vacation."

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