Tide Race 101

By Nick on January 4, 2013

Tide race courses 2013:

Dates: March 2-3 // April 13-14
Cost: $300, 3 participants maximum. Contact us for group pricing.

A tide race is a very chaotic area of water, where the dynamics are confusing. It takes either swell or wind waves running against a good amount of current to create a tide race. As a result you are looking at a pretty rough place to be, where lots of energies meet. Before venturing in a tide race, we want to develop our skills in dealing with currents, surfing, and paddling in winds. Communication, plan A and Plan B, a clean understanding of rescue protocol…. And then you get to paddle the most fun paddling environment in my opinion, A Tide race.

Finding the right day and location to paddle Tide races can be tricky, but well worth the effort!

The Course:
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. This is an important stage, to lay out the base of your knowledge or revisit the theory behind currents. Even if you have experience in currents, you will benefit from Day 1. 

Next day we’ll meet at 9am and depending on Current speed and weather we will look at the videos from day 1, discuss the theory in relation with the videos. We will look at the differences between currents and Tide race paddling, the goals, options, playing or travelling through, rescues scenarios, Communication… and then on the water from 1 to 4 at Baynes Channel (or the other way around).
There we will look at Surfing, punching through, bracing…. all the good stuff!
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.


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