Assess your skill level:

Please use the following descriptions and criteria to place yourself into one of the four categories.  Self-assessment is important to you, to us and to other participants.  As a participant, it helps ensure that you’re learning at the most appropriate level.  When a class is too challenging or not challenging enough, effective learning is greatly reduced.  In addition, self-assessment helps us to manage risk and allows a group of participants to learn and perform at a reasonably equal level.

Advanced Beginner Paddler

The Advanced Beginner has had some formal instruction and can perform a self rescue and a peer rescue in flat water.  They can paddle forward with efficiency, steer their kayak or SUP, move sideways and brace effectively.  They are able to maneuver their kayak or SUP in tight spaces and can paddle 6-8 miles in a day (3-4 miles for SUP).  

Intermediate Paddler

The Intermediate Paddler can perform all of the desired skills of an Advanced Beginner efficiently and effectively. They can paddle backwards and maintain a course in wind and current.  The Intermediate Paddler should be able to scull for support and roll their kayak in flat water.  They are proficient with deep water rescues and towing techniques.  The Intermediate Paddler understands paddling theories such as trip planning, navigation and equipment.  The Intermediate Paddler has the skills and experience in various water and weather conditions and can paddle 8-12 miles in a day.

The Intermediate SUP paddler should have some experience of rough water, both upwind and downwind and be able to perform pivot turns and paddle 4-6 miles in a day.

Advanced Intermediate Paddler

The Advanced Intermediate Paddler has a variety of experience in the cockpit and can perform all the fundamental skills and deep water rescues in moderate wind and water conditions.  The Advanced Intermediate Paddler has a reliable roll in moving water, is in good physical condition and can paddle 15-20 miles in a day.  The Advanced Intermediate Paddler has good group awareness, assesses personal risk accurately and can travel well in a group of led paddlers.  

The Advanced Intermediate SUP paddler should have solid rough water skills, be confident walking the board.

Expert Paddler

The Expert Paddler has a excellent personal skills, good technical knowledge, great judgment, and plenty of experience in a variety of conditions.  The Expert Paddler recognizes personal weaknesses and is motivated to practice and learn new things. The Expert Paddler has solid leadership skills and a desire to share their knowledge in the education of others.

If you have difficulty self assessing yourself, please consult a paddling partner or coach for advice.  You can also ask us at 


Step 2


Build your schedule:

Choose the classes that correspond to your skill level and interest.  Each class is clearly labeled with one of the 4 distinctions – advanced beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate, expert.  Classes that are labeled with multiple levels are appropriate for those skill levels and the instructors will differentiate and teach to your level during the class.  We encourage you to select a diverse range of classes and instructors to get maximum benefit from the symposium experience. Consider a combination of classes that includes skills training and a journey.

Please note that whilst we will make every effort to give you the class of your choice, we reserve the right to cancel classes, create new ones and move students according to demand and the prevailing weather and sea conditions.


Step 3



Go to the Registration page and sign up for 1, 2, or 3 days of classes, plus meals. Make your selection of classes using the form provided via a link in your confirmation email.


Paddle Golden Gate 2018 class list coming soon!

The Paddle Golden Gate 2018 class list will be released August 1, 2017. Check below to get an idea of the classes we offer.

Alcatraz & Angel Island Journey

Advanced Beginner | Intermediate

An iconic journey with a goal of circumnavigating Alcatraz and Angel Island (which is by no means guaranteed), the real objective of the day is to learn about how to plan a day trip on a large body of open water and then execute that plan. With the potential for stunning views and many teachable moments along the way, topics could include practical navigation, tides & currents, dealing with boat traffic, group management, rescues, towing, directional control in wind and more. Paddlers should be prepared to paddle 8-12 miles at a moderate pace during the day.

Proficient Coastal Paddler (3 Day Progression)

Advanced Beginner | Intermediate

This class is for sea kayakers looking to take their coastal paddling to the next level. The emphasis will be on FUN as we learn, refine and improve foundational skills and the apply these skills as we venture out into more dynamic water. Working with one coach over a three-day timespan allows the coach to get to know you as a paddler and build upon the previous day’s progress. The daily schedule will be dependent on ocean conditions but students should be prepared for paddling in both sheltered and dynamic water (races, rock gardens and surf). The goal of the progression is grow the confidence, skill and knowledge to being proficient on a coastal journey.


Forward Stroke Refinement

Advanced Beginner | Intermediate | Advanced Intermediate | Expert

This class will help you refine your forward stroke with the aim of becoming more efficient, delivering power without wasting energy and thus giving you more control and greater enjoyment of your paddling.  Be prepared to be challenged on how and why you paddle the way you do. Video will be used to analyze your stroke. You will learn new drills to take away to help develop your technique into the future. This class will be conducted on flat water at Horseshoe Cove.


Tactical & Technical (Skills & Safety)

Intermediate | Advanced Intermediate | Expert

In this class, you will learn the tactics and techniques to overcome interesting challenges to keep you and your friends safe. In the morning you will focus on the ‘Art of Towing’ – set up, different systems and their use practical application such as dynamic water and rock gardens. The afternoon will be spent doing ‘Tricky Launches & Landings’ – find a dock, find a rock, land on some sand and launch into current. In this part of the class you and your teammates will take your kayaks into areas of the unknown. You will practice methods to get on and off the water with and without friends, with a tow system, and well whatever else we can conjure up!


Advanced Rock Garden Play

Advanced Intermediate | Expert

This class is for advanced intermediate and expert paddlers who have plenty of experience in coastal conditions, including the surf zone, as well as a reliable combat roll. Solid paddling skills are needed – strokes, braces, rescues. Coaches will encourage students to move beyond their comfort zone whilst exercising good judgment. The focus will be on play, however, coaches will be ready and willing to teach specific rock gardening skills such as the pour-over, paddling through arches, exploring caves, etc. whilst working on timing and appropriate stroke sequences, communication, and group dynamics. Plastic kayaks are highly recommended. Helmets are mandatory. Participants should ideally have previously taken a Rock Garden Skills & Safety Class and should be in good physical condition as this will be a strenuous class.