Intro to Recreational Kayaking

Just the Basics for Flatwater Paddlers

This 3-hour course introduces students to the basic skills necessary to safely and efficiently paddle a recreational kayak in protected, flat water such as slow moving rivers, inland lakes, and bays.

When taken in conjunction with our Recreational Kayak Safety course, this course meets the  standards outlined in the American Canoe Association’s Level 1 Kayak curriculum.    Click here for a detailed outline.


3 hours

Instructor to Participant Ratio


Skills Taught

Strokes and maneuvers

  • Forward
  • Reverse
  • Emergency stopping
  • Sweep strokes
  • Pivot turns
  • Draws

Rescue and safety

  • How to safely enter and exit a kayak from shore
  • Understanding marine weather to make safe decisions about where and when to paddle.
  • Float plans for safety.
  • Rafting for support.

Meeting Location

This course meets at the 41 North rental center in Lakewood, Ohio.    Our class will take place on the calm and protected waters of the Rocky River, and, if weather conditions permit, will include a brief paddle on Lake Erie.   Detailed driving instructions can be found using this link, or by clicking the map below.

Upcoming Class Dates


Prior Courses

None, just a willingness to challenge yourself and get wet!

Age Limits

14 and over only, please.    Participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.   Participants over 16 but under 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian. 

Height and Weight Limits

In order to ensure your comfort and safety, participants should be between 5′ and 6’4″ tall and 95 lbs to 235 lbs.

Non-Discriminatory Essential Eligibility Criteria

In order to participate in this program, each participant must satisfy the following essential eligibility criteria: 

  • Be able to independently participate in all individual skills and activities while also maintaining an appropriate and safe body position.
  • Be able to hold their breath while under water and, while in the water wearing a properly fitted lifejacket, be able to independently turn from a face down to a face up position keeping their head above water. 
  • Be able to effectively communicate with the instructor and other program participants. 
  • Be able to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a companion.
  • Be able to manage all personal mobility independently, or with the assistance of a companion.