Salmon Bay Paddle FAQs

What type of classes does Salmon Bay teach?

We offer kayaking, surf ski and SUP (paddle board) classes all year.  For each genre, we offer beginning flat water classes through surf, tidal rapids and downwinding classes. 

Most are private classes during Covid-19 in Seattle, and extra fees for classes outside Seattle.

Where do you hold your classes?

Our SUP 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 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.

Why do your classes and tours cost so much?

We believe our classes and tours are unique and provide you with a personable level of instruction not available anywhere else in our region.

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

We don’t offer Groupons as we believe you get what you pay for. Our equipment is also of high quality so you have the best experience possible.

Gratuities are welcome. 

Do you rent SUP boards?

We provide boards and kayaks for our students for a small rental fee.  You’re welcome to bring your own equipment. 

For Seattle rentals and large group 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?

No, we’re are not a retailer or have a shop.  In Seattle, check out Urban Surf and Perfect Wave for SUPs. For kayaks check out NW Outdoor Center and the Kayak Academy.

For surf skis, check out sitontoppros.com in Bellingham. Mention Rob and get 5% off.  

Do I have to wear a life jacket?

The Coast Guard requires life jackets (PFDs) for flat water paddling. We require and provide non-inflatable 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 make it easier to get back on the board. Experienced students are welcome to bring their own C02 PFDs (with cartridge).

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

We recommend full 4/3mm and 5/4mm surfing wetsuits in fall, winter, and spring and for all surfing and tidal rapids classes.

We provide wetsuits, booties, gloves and hoods for a small rental fee for your class.

In summer we also have neoprene tops and bottoms for non full wetsuit days and as an alternative should a full wetsuit not work for you.

Will I get wet?

Yes. We launch in waist deep water. Also there’s no shame in falling. You’ll learn more and have more fun if you get wet. Experienced paddlers fall all the time especially in surf and rough water. You will not have a good time if worried about getting wet.  Check out Orca Swim School if you don’t know how to swim. 

I have poor balance. Is SUPing 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.

Will I fall off the board or capsize my kayak?

Possibly! Falling and wet-exits are part of paddling. You have to learn how to get back on the board for your own safety. We teach you how to fall safety (flat) and climb back on 3 different ways. Falling is not a fail. As expert paddlers we fall all the time and as a result have more fun!

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

Nope. But paddling can get you in shape. You determine how much you want to put into it. You can take it easy on flat calm lakes or choose to make it a fitness routine.

What if I get cold?

We make sure each student is warm and comfortable in our classes and on tours. A good quality wetsuit or dry suit will keep you warm and toasty. We have extra booties, gloves and hoods for student use. We can provide additional tips and trick for staying warm.

Are you a Certified Paddle Instructor?

Yes. Rob and all of his instructors and co-instructors are PSUPA certified (Professional Stand Up Paddle Association) or the ACA (kayak) and have First Aid/CPR certifications.

Additionally Rob has ACA SUP and Kayak Certifications as well as First Aid and Wilderness First Aid certifications.

Can I paddle in winter in the Northwest?

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

Do you teach outside of Seattle?

Yes! Recent classes and tours have been in Port Angeles, Tacoma, Bellingham, Spokane, and Portland, Oregon. Rob is available for out of state travel as well. Get in touch to discuss possibilities.

When is paddling season in the Pacific NW?

We paddle all year. With the right training and proper clothing you can paddle all year here (or anywhere). Life’s too short to wait for a sunny day in the NW!

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.

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!

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!  Imagine Surf boards, Accent Paddles, NRS & NorthWater Paddle Gear, Seattle Sports and MTI lifejackets.

Can you train our staff on our SUP & kayak gear?

Rob has trained businesses such as REI SpokaneRow AdventuresGorge Performance, the Whidbey Naval Air Station Recreation Center, Body Boat BladeKayak Academy and the WWU Outdoor Center and many more! 

Are your class rates negotiable?

We are not able to negotiate posted rates but can negotiate for corporate or large group tours and lessons.

Our rates allow us to keep classes small so you receive the most individual attention and attain your paddling goals. 

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