Touring Kayak: Be Your Own Guide


Get your Paddle Canada award graphic.This unique program is for kayakers who want to lead their own multi-day trips!

You already know how to kayak, and might also have been a customer on a guided kayak trip. Now you want to learn how to safely plan and execute your own trips while improving your paddling skills. Our "Be Your Own Guide" is the all-in program is designed to get you there!

Our unique and comprehensive program consists of pre-trip workshops in Calgary and a 5-day trip in the beautiful Gulf Islands, BC. You will have lots of time to practice the skills without being rushed. It's your vacation, right?

During the pre-trip workshops, which take place during the spring, you will learn the theory necessary to safely travel on the ocean in your kayak for multiple days. Topics include:

  • Gear - how to select, waterproof and pack the appropriate camping gear, clothing and paddling gear for your own trips,
  • Navigation - how to read and use navigation charts, interpret the myriad of symbols, use a compass, and navigate on the ocean using piloting and dead reckoning,
  • Tides and Currents - how to determine when and where the tide and tidal currents will impact your journey so you can plan around them,
  • Marine Weather - how to forecast the weather at sea, both by observation & with help from weather radio services, and
  • Trip Planning – menu planning, preparation & packing, route choice, risk awareness & judgment, group awareness, and communication.

Think of the 5-day Gulf Islands trip as a self-guided excursion, but with training wheels!

It is your opportunity to put into real-life practice the skills that you learned in the classroom. Our double certified instructor/guides will provide mentorship as needed. They will also coach you through safety & rescue skills, introduce you to kayak rolling, and fine-tune your strokes & paddling skills. We will have ample opportunity to explore the fabulous geography and marine life of the Gulf Islands and the Salish Sea!

Expected Outcome:

Upon successful completion of the program you will possess the confidence, knowledge & experience necessary to lead your own sea kayak trips with friends and family! You will receive the Paddle Canada Level 2 sea kayak skills certificate since this program exceeds the requirements for the award. It is not a professional guide certification.

Instructor Student Ratio:

1:4 (MAX) to ensure you of the best instructional experience possible!  Part of the famous Undercurrents experience!


Kayakers at this level often own their own gear. Kayaks and related gear are available for rent during this program.

Participants provide their own food, camping gear and transportation, as one would expect on a self-guided trip. Food groups, car-pooling and gear sharing may be arranged during the classroom portions of the program.

Our instructor/guides are certified as both Paddle Canada Level 2 instructors and SKGABC sea kayak guides!

Rolling is a part of the Paddle Canada Level 2 Skills curriculum. Those participants without prior rolling experience are encouraged to take a Rolling Clinic this winter. An introduction to rolling is far nicer in the warm pool than in the cool ocean waters!


At least 18 years of age.

Paddle Canada Level 1 skills certificate, or equivalent skills and knowledge.

At least 3 one-day-long kayak trips in different locations.

Wilderness First Aid (16 hour) with CPR is strongly recommended.



Includes all pre-trip workshops sessions, plus 5 full days of paddling, exploring and learning in the Gulf Islands!

Dates, Times & Locations:

The pre-trip workshop dates are {Dates TBA} (Saturdays 1:00-5:00 pm) at Undercurrents (Google map).

The Gulf Islands trip runs from {Dates TBA}.

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Registration & Refunds

Full payment is due at registration to secure your spot in the course.

On the rare occasion when Undercurrents cancels a lesson, we will issue a full refund or make every reasonable effort to register you in an equivalent program; it is your choice.

If you cancel for any reason more than 7 days (14 days for multi-day courses) prior to the course commencement, you will receive a full refund less our $10 administrative fee.

There is no refund if you cancel for any reason within 7 days (14 days for multi-day courses) of the course.

Courses go rain or shine. Here in Alberta we can have rain, snow, blistering heat or high winds - sometimes on the same day. Don't believe weather forecasts; dress for varying weather conditions. If you need help, our store staff can give you great advice!

See our policies page for more details.