Salmon Bay Paddle FAQs

What type of classes does Salmon Bay teach?

We offer beginning through advanced 1-1 and small group kayaking, surf ski and SUP (paddle board) classes all year taught by PSUPA and ACA certified instructors.

Learn flat water basics, touring, surfing, downwinding and paddling in the epic tidal rapids of Deception Pass.  Open all year, rentals included with cost.


Where are you located? Where's your Shop?

We are a mobile business and meet students at the beach or in classrooms for land classes.

We do not have a shop or do retail but can refer you to trusted local paddling shops.  


Where do you hold your classes?

Our SUP, Surf Ski and Kayak Basics 1 & 2 classes are held at the Ballard Elks Lodge beach in Seattle.

Freighter and tug wave classes are offshore from the Elks beach.

Coastal surfing is held near Port Angeles and the WA coast near Neah Bay.

Tidal Rapids classes are held at Deception Pass State Park 1.5hrs north of Seattle.

We can do private classes at a location of your choice for normal fees in Seattle, and extra fees outside Seattle.

Are your instructors Certified?

Yes. Rob and all of his instructors are PSUPA (Professional Stand Up Paddle Association) and/or ACA (American Canoe Association) certified.

All have First Aid/CPR and Wilderness First Aid certifications and some instructors have additional paddling and educational certifications.  

Check our instructor’s bios for their credentials


I’m not athletic, is this for me?

With good training, SUP and kayaking are ideal for anyone from kids to seniors and will increase your balance and get you into shape. You don’t need to be in shape to take our classes! But learning to paddle will build confidence. With practice, you’ll gain strength as well!

I have poor balance. Is SUP'ing for me?

Poor balance is a concern for most people, but is not necessarily a problem in learning to SUP.  We make sure students are properly matched with the right size board for their height and weight, which gives them maximum stability on the water.

We also teach to use the paddle as a brace when standing (like an outrigger) and about using momentum to create stability. Many are surprised at how easy it is to stand.

Can I paddle in winter in the Northwest?

We paddle year-round in the PNW even in rain and snow!  The right size board or kayak and proper clothing for the conditions will go a long way to keep you warm and comfortable even in winter!

We consult with your students to help them get the right paddling gear for paddling all year in the PNW.  Check my blog for year round paddling gear and clothing tips.

Do I have to be in shape to SUP or Kayak?

You don’t have to be in top physical shape or even close to learn to paddle. But paddling can get you in shape.  Also in our classes you can learn at your own pace.

We’ll also show you how to paddle so you can get in shape and stay injury free.

Why do your classes cost so much?

Our individual and small group classes are unique and provide you with a personable level of instruction not available anywhere else in our region.

We take time to train and certify each of our instructors so you stay safe and get the best instruction possible.

Our instructors are also paid a living wage.

Our equipment is also of high quality using leading brands of paddles, boats, kayaks and paddling gear such as NRS, BlackFish Paddles, Dagger Kayaks and more.


Do you rent paddle boards and kayaks?

We provide boards, surf skis and kayaks for our students for their classes at no cost.  You’re also welcome to bring your own equipment.

For Seattle area kayak and SUP hourly rentals contact Urban Surf, Surf Ballard, NW Outdoor Center, Aqua Verde Paddle Club, Perfect Wave and NW Paddle Surfers.

Do you sell SUPs, Kayaks and Surf Skis?

We’re are not a retailer or have a shop.  Salmon Bay Paddle is a mobile business. 

To purchase paddling gear in Seattle, check out Urban Surf and Perfect Wave for SUPs. For kayaks check out NW Outdoor Center.  For surf skis, check out Mountains 2 Sound and Sound Bikes and Kayaks in Port Angeles.

Do I have to wear a life jacket?

The Coast Guard requires life jackets (PFDs) for flat water paddling. We require and provide vest style MTI Type 3 lifejackets (PFDs) for our classes at no cost to you.

Vest style lifejackets will keep you warmer, are better visibility in busy waterways and allow you to carry a few personal items.  PFDs are no required for our coastal surfing classes.

Experienced students are welcome to bring their own C02 waist PFDs (with cartridge) if you know how to use it.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

We require full 4/3mm and 5/4mm surfing wetsuits or dry suits in fall, winter, and spring and for all surfing, downwinding and tidal rapids classes.

We provide toasty O’Neill, ProMotion, NRS and RipCurl wetsuits, and NRS booties, gloves and hoods for no cost for your class.

For cooler Summer days we have neoprene tops and bottoms.



Will I get wet?

Yes. We launch in waist deep water in Ballard and in all of our classes elsewhere.  

We offer toasty wetsuits and other quality paddling gear such as NRS booties so you can stay warm after getting wet.

Check out Orca Swim School if you don’t know how to swim.

What if I get cold?

We make sure each student is warm and comfortable in our classes before they get on the water. 

Our class rental gear includes good quality wetsuits which will keep you warm and toasty. We have fleece lined booties, warm gloves and extra hoods for student use.

After class you’ll be given tips for staying warm on your own and which paddling clothing to purchase for PNW paddling. 

Do you teach outside of Seattle?

We teach throughout the Northwest for our regular classes are available to work with private groups in Seattle or beyond. 

We’ve worked on Orcas Island for a corporate job and have done instructor training in Idaho.  Private classes outside of Seattle do require a travel fee. 

Rob is available for out of state travel as well. Get in touch to discuss possibilities.

We’re starting a SUP business, can you help?

Yep! Rob has helped businesses of all kinds add SUP instruction, rentals, and sales to their services. He can also help you start a SUP race or other paddling events.

Please contact me for business consulting.  Our certification program, PSUPA does have SUP Business training as part of the Flat Water 1 program.

What gear should I get?

We supply equipment with our classes and recommend trying our gear and/or learning about possibilities prior to purchasing your own.

Rob loves to help folks find the right gear for their needs from car racks and boards to paddles and wetsuits, we can help!  

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