Essential Sea Kayak Skills


Essential Sea Kayak Skills - Deception Pass

Put the skills you have worked on in the rest of the Essential Skills series to use by paddling in current in Deception Pass. Introduction to currents, bracing, and rescues in current.

  • Sea Kayak III+
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 4.0 nm
  • Maximum Wind: 12 kts
  • Maximum Waves: 2 ft
  • Maximum Currents: 6.6 kts
  • Pace: 2.5

Bowman Bay boat launch ready to paddle at 8:00 AM (note that this is slightly earlier than the other session).

Note: This is a second session, please only sign up for this session OR the session on Sunday. This will give others a chance to experience Deception Pass.

Basic competence in these on the water skills will boost your confidence to paddle competently on a variety of trips. Each clinic will focus on one area of skills. You can take all sessions, or as many as you feel you need. These are introductory clinics, but all levels are welcome. You must be a Basic Sea Kayak  graduate, or have club equivalency status.

Dates for the other clinics:

Forward Stroke                                                 2/4
Balance, Bracing, Moving Sideways          2/10
Rescues and Towing                                       2/17
Directional Control                                          3/9
Kayaking in Currents                                       3/17
Kayaking with a Greenland Paddle           TBA

(Kayaking in Wind and Waves was offered in Nov. 2023)

At Deception pass  the moving water gives us a perfect school room to practice handling our boats in more challenging conditions.  Plus it is a beautiful place to paddle.  This outing will introduce  you to paddling in Deception pass and paddling in moving water.  

If you have experience paddling in currents and would like to be an assistant, sign up or send me an email.
Who is this for?
Participants should have some familiarity with edging their boat and bracing.  You might have taken a class, received some informal instruction, or watched a Youtube video and felt you understood it.  You have also practiced on flat water but may not have been sure you were actually doing anything effective.  I'll review edging and bracing but won't give primary instruction in it.  
Paddling in dynamic water, water that is actively trying to tip you over is where you learn to actually use edging and bracing.  You'll likely get it wrong a few times so comfort with capsize, wet exit, and buddy rescue are essential.  
You should be comfortable getting in and out of your boat in flat water.  Rescues should be fairly routine.  A little fear about doing them in Deception Pass is fine but you should be up for the adventure.  
We will start with a discussion about the environment we will be paddling in.  The main feature at Deception pass are eddy lines - lines that demark water moving at different speeds.  The main skill we will practice is paddling across these.
We will start on shore and I'll describe what an eddy line is, where they hang out, how to recognize them, and what they want to do to your boat.  From that will naturally flow a discussion about how to paddle across them:  on edge with a gliding brace.  
We will get in the water and practice these skills close to shore.  Maybe do a few rescues to get comfortable getting in and out of the water.  
Then we will paddle to the pass.  In the light currents we will paddle around the area to enjoy it's beauty.  We might practice a little eddy hopping as a way to make progress against a current.  
When we arrive at the pass, we'll start paddling across the eddy lines.  Before you know it you will be crossing fast moving eddy lines with confidence.  
 There is always a place to get out of moving water and some shore to get out on for a short break.  

Deception Pass

  • Sea Trails Deception Pass and Skagit Bay WA101

    NOAA Bellingham to Everett No. 18423

    NOAA Anacortes to Skagit Bay No. 18427
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Sea kayak essentials

  • Helmet
  • Spare Clothing
  • Tow rope (if you have one)
Trip Reports