Why Pick Us?

Why Pick Us?

High Instructor to Guest Ratio – Since our goal is to make sure your experience with us is memorable our classes and tours have a high instructor to guest ratio to keep you safe while learning to paddle in a new environment.  For flat water, our ratio is 2:6.  In swift current, surf or open water, our ratio is 2:4. Sometimes when training new instructors we will have a higher instructor ratio for flat water and rough classes which benefits you.

Small Classes and Tours – Keeping our classes and tours small means it’s easier for you to learn more, have fun and for us to keep you safe no matter what type of water we’re on.  When we do provide larger classes and tours to companies, schools or private groups, we always stay with our high instructor to guest ratio by adding more instructors to keep a personable sense of being while on the water.  Our surf and tidal rapids classes are even smaller than flat water classes/tours so we can better control the class in dynamic water conditions.

Custom Scheduling – We don’t have a Calendar as we want you to choose when you want go. It’s not about us, it’s about you!

About our Instructors –

Instructor Training –  All our instructors are PSUPA certified with First Aid/CPR training and some have Wilderness First Aid certification. Each are trained and certified by Rob, then assist Rob on a number of classes and tours prior to working with customers on their own. Training includes open water rescues, risk management and customer service training. Each are competent paddlers on their own, some of whom are accomplished in racing, surfing and other aspects of stand up paddling.

Patient & Caring Instructors – We choose people to work with us who are genuine good hearted people who care about others.  Our number one goal is to keep you safe so you can have more fun and bring home memorable experiences that last a lifetime.  Our instructors are trained to to be patient and to share their expertise with you no matter what your body type is, age or physical level. Read more about our Instructors.

We’ve helped students transform their lives by working with them to build confidence in not only a water sport but also a physical activity they can do on their own without the confines of a gym.  As a result of our practices, we’ve seen many success stories of students who have undergone a physical transformation leading to more productive lives and now paddle on their own.

Commitment to Risk Management – Your well being is very important to us which is why we take so take instructor training seriously.  Each of our instructors are required to wear a lifejacket, leash and when appropriate, a wetsuit. They also always carry a tow system, first aid kit, gear repair kit, 1-2 communication devices, dry bags for your prescriptions and a ‘hypo kit’ with extra paddling clothing in case students get chilled. In addition we require each of our students to wear Type 3 vest style lifejackets (PFD), leashes to stay connected to the boards after a fall, booties to protect your feet on rough beaches and wetsuits when appropiate to stay warm and comfortable. PFDs not required for coastal surfing. 

Rob is on the Paddlesports Safety Commisison for Washington State. This group works to educate both outdoor business, manufacturers and the public about paddlesports safety, the importance of wearing a PFD and making sound decisions on and off the water.  Rob and his instructor Ryan Kuja are also MTI PFD Safety Ambassadors.  As the director and co-founder of the PSUPA, Rob trains SUP instructors on smart safety practices, being responsible businesses and becoming good SUP ambassadors to the community.

We’re members of the NASBL – National Association of Boating Law Administrators, the WIA – Watersports Industry Association, SUPIA – Stand Up Paddle Industry Association and the AOA – American Outdoor Association. As members of the WWTA – Washington Watertrails Association we help keep public access available to our customers.

NASBLAAmerica Outdoors AssociationSUPIAWashington Water Trails Association, Watersports Industry Association.

Commitment to Environmental Integrity – We paddle because we love not only being outside but also being part of the environment whether in or on the water. To many of our instructors the water is their ‘church’ or a place of peace. Because we make our living on the water, we thus are custodians of that environment and strive to take care of it and teach others to appreciate and care for the water and the marine life above and below. All our ‘board meetings’ are held on-water.

We’re members of the WWTA – Washington Water Trails Association which works to not only protect but also provide public access to our waterways. We also support the North Olympic Land Trust and Puget Sound Keeper Alliance.

We Support our Community – We’re not just another paddling business! We believe the success of any business is based up supporting one’s community. In Summer we offer a Monday evening SUP race, now in it’s 4th year. All proceeds are donated to the Scholarship Fund at the Ballard Elks Lodge #827.  Our first annual Halloween race in 2015 was a success with 15 paddlers who braved 27kt winds and rain. We raised $380 for the MS Society.  Rob has worked as a co-coordinator on several other regional paddling races which support local charities.

Advanced Training – Salmon Bay is the SUP business in the Seattle area that offers intermediate to advanced SUP training. We work with our students helping them progress from beginners upwards to safe and responsible but also skillful paddlers comfortable with surf, open water, swift tidal currents and even competitve racing in all environments.  Our Oahu Surf Camp gives students an opportunity to learn to surf in Hawaii, which can be a challenging location due to wind, shallow reefs and other challenges. Many of our students choose to take their training to the next level by participating in our PSUPA Flat Water 1 Certification course, even if they don’t plan on being instructors.

We’re Open All Year – We don’t believe paddling is just a summer warm water sport. We love it so much we paddle all year and educate our customers on smart off season clothing options, water safety and the benefits of winter paddling.  The Seattle area now has all craft races throughout the year, so it’s not uncommon to join many like minded paddlers on a frigid day in January for a lake or Sound race.

Unique Classes – Early on when starting Salmon Bay Paddle, we knew we wouldn’t be the usual paddle sports business. There’s a dozen paddling businesses in Seattle during summer months that specialize in high volume rentals and lessons. Most of their lessons are quick and cheap with the goal of making a buck and/or getting you into their shop to buy gear. We like to slow the process down, talk to you about your needs and come up with a plan that works best for your interests.  As a result you get more attention, instructors who have the time for you, a more satisfying experience and in the end a better value for your pocketbook.

Since we’re not like everyone else, we have taken the time to develop courses and tours that take your skills to the next level and awaken your senses.  Rob and a few kayaking friends starting freighter and tug wave surfing on Shilshole Bay in Seattle around 2003.  We love sharing this unique opportunity with our customers! While many SUP paddlers are discovering river paddling, we found that tidal rapids paddling was safer and more accessible than many NW rivers. Rob first learned to paddle ‘DP’ in a sea kayak and with a few friends were the first to paddle SUPs in the Pass in 2009.




Questions? 206-465-7167  Salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com

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