Tidal Currents programs

Let’s look at some moving water skills, what you will learn here will be a tremendous helps in developing your paddling abilities. Paddling currents and understanding what is happening as our tides come in and out is a necessary skill for anybody that want to venture outside the bay. The same strokes and some of the theory apply to the surf Zone, and if you are looking at paddling Tide races and / or doing trips in the East Coast of Vancouver Island, you should learn about currents. From a technical paddling point of view, I think Current is the environment where you develop the maximum amount of hard skills. You need to edge, you need to Engage your strokes, you need to understand and control your boat direction. It’s also a great place to learn because there are areas of calm water to rest and watch, then get back in. Tidal Currents, if calculated correctly, also give us the ability to pick the right amount of current for your skill level.We offer 3 distinct current programs, to address the different goals and level of Difficulty.

  • Current 101. An Introduction to currents, to build a base of knowledge and skills. 2 days for the Coastal paddlers thinking of venturing outside of the bay.
  • Tide race 101. an intro for intermediate and advanced paddlers to paddling in currents, and in Tide races (much larger areas of disturbed water). For the advanced coastal paddler, or to get playing in Rough water.
  • Surfing Standing waves. Large constricted currents, for advanced and experts paddlers. Location is Skookumchuck Narrows, Developing hard skills for advanced conditions. Play oriented.

Current 101

Day 1 we usually spend at Tillicum bridge where you learn to read the water, understand where the current is, how to cross from the eddy to the main current, and come back out. We learn about the different scenarios we’ll meet and deal with, ferrying or entering and exiting the current. We discuss the different tools we have, which strokes to use for what purpose, timing, speed, edging, angle of entry…. At the same time we film from shore and from your boat so that next day we can debrief the paddling by video.
Next day we’ll meet at 9am and look at the videos from day 1, discuss the theory from day 1 while watching the videos, on the water from 1 to 5, at the same location or at Baynes Channel if conditions allow, to look at how to deal with large currents and travel through them or Play and Stay. We’ll do some videos on day 2 as well, and debrief at the end of the day, or most likely an evening during the week following. So we’ll be paddling about 3 to 4 hours a day, and that’s not by accident. I doubt anybody can paddle much more than that in current and still be productive. That, and the fact that we are weather dependent to some extent are the first 2 things we need to learn if we plan on paddling rougher waters…


  • Look at strokes, rescues and edging, in dynamic waters. First we need to understand what is possible, in which conditions, at what time.
  • Specifically look at the strokes we need to paddle in current. We’ll work on those on flat water, then in currents.
  • Talk and discuss the different scenarios we have to deal with when paddling in currents, and our strategies to respond and perform in those situation. We’ll look at rescues in current.
  • Videos will show you very clearly what you are doing, what can be improve, and what you’re doing like a pro.

All that theory and training will transfer over the larger currents, so we will do it all over again on day 2 possibly in a larger area, which will bring surprises and challenges. If you don’t know anything, come and learn. If you know lots, come and learn what you need to get to the next level and give your paddling a boost….. In the Course, Nick will talk about how he thinks and approaches currents, paddling in new areas, his teaching tricks and much more. Get some insight and boost your confidence while having fun…. Fun and hard work guaranteed! Ratio is 3 participants maximum. Cost $300. Includes sea kayak if needed. Drysuit rental available.