Ballard Sea Squad

Ballard Sea Squad​ – Youth Paddling Team

The Ballard Sea Squad is our program for high schoolers and will focus on stand up paddling (SUP) and introduce students to paddling safely on Puget Sound.

From SUP surfing and paddle racing to learning how to plan overnight trips, participants in our Ballard Sea Squad will take their skills to the next level broadening horizons.

Whether starting as a beginner or with some experience, our patient ACA and PSUPA certified instructors will work with each student individually and as a group. We have a strong focus on water safety.

The team will grow their skills to not only have fun but also to start participating in local paddling races such as the Ballard Elks Paddling Club’s Monday Night Races in Summer and paddling in the tidal rapids of Deception Pass!

We have toasty winter wetsuits and quality paddling gear available for rentals. Our paddling sessions will be based from the Ballard Elks Lodge beach which provides a variety of conditions and dynamic water to learn from.

2022 Schedule: Oct 29, Nov 19, Dec 10 – 10AM

Core Skills You’ll Learn

  • Beginning to intermediate SUP paddling skills so students can stand with confidence, turn and paddle straight
  • Paddling gear and clothing anatomy so students will know which gear to use and when.
  • Stroke technique and skill development refinement to paddle as efficiently (fast) and injury free as possible
  • Skills for walking on the board and fun directional control with the buoy/pivot and cross bow turns
  • Rough water skills, balance tips and how to use wind to your advantage
  • Marine navigation and boating right of way so students can find their way and plan trips
  • How to read water and understand tides and currents so students can make smarter paddling and route decisions
  • SUP rescue skills like the flip rescue, use of a VHF radio and towing
  • And much more!

Student Benefits

  • Instructor Follow-up After Class – We’ll send you a summary of skills you learned in your lesson as well as our favorite marine weather and tides apps.
  • Get access to our 24 video SUP 101 Online Course to review skills learned and class and many more techniques!  Get paddle trip check-lists and planning tips.
  • Get a Salmon Bay Paddle hi-vis racing / paddling shirt!
  • You’ll able to join our Facebook Alumni Group to continue learning and for connecting with other paddlers.
  • SBP owner Rob Casey is always available to help you find paddling gear, find places to paddle and help you get to your next level.
  • Get a 20% discount from Mountaineers Books for any title. Get Rob’s books! ‘Kayaking Puget Sound‘ and ‘Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers.
  • Receive a Salmon Bay Paddle sticker!

Class Details:

  • Schedule: Oct 29, Nov 19, Dec 10 – 10AM
  • Age Range: 14-18
  • Requirements: Must speak English and Know how to swim (the basics). Contact Orca Swim to learn.
  • Capacity: 10 people (Instructor to student ratios: 2:10)
  • Location: Shilshole Bay in Ballard / Seattle. Plus other locations for paddle trips
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Rentals: Included. But OK to bring your own gear
  • Covid-19: All instructors are vaccinated.



97 per person per 3hr session

  • Rental gear included: We have toasty wetsuits!
  • OK TO USE YOUR OWN GEAR – It’s best to learn on your own gear if you have it. We recommend 4/3mm and 5/4mm wetsuits, gloves, booties, vest PFDs. 

Questions? Click Here



“I had a bit of time in Seattle and signed up for this class having never done a class before. I was able to set my own time with Rob, the owner. In short, Rob is an excellent teacher. He was extraordinarily thorough and responsible about going over all the basics about skills and safety before we ever got out on the water.”

- Leah P

I took the SUP 2 basics class with Rob and I’m certainly glad I did. Rob has significant experience paddling our local waterways so I also learned about wind, tides/currents, etiquette, gear/apparel, motor boat behavior, and safety. Rob’s style is friendly but serious, patient, and fun. In addition to SUP 2 basics, Rob even included some freighter wave surfing! I recommend taking this course whether you’re new to paddling like me or already great at it, you’ll definitely expand your knowledge, skills, and confidence.
Andy Delano

I wish everyone could take a class or two with Rob so that we could have more safe and prepared paddlers. Very fun and interesting experience. I learned about local water conditions, equipment, technique, safety and local places to go paddle. Great investment overall. I’m planning on signing up for more classes with Rob and his team.  (May 2021)
Yamil M

Rob presented an excellent class to me. He tailored it to my level and gave me lots to think about and practice. Since I primarily want to explore the local Puget Sound, the class helped me to feel comfortable interpreting the wind, currents, and tides. I am now able to use the tide table and wind charts and know what to expect and what I can handle safely. Rob was all about safety and I appreciated his caring and professional attitude. Game changer class. A must-do for anyone wanting to be safe and be good. Thank you Rob!  (May 2021)
Rachel O

I conquered several fears paddling in currents and surfing waves and owe it to Rob, where safety and professional instructions are Salmon Bay Paddle’s top priorities!

- Margrit Ralph

I’ve been paddling on flat water for about a year and thought I was pretty good.  Then Rob patiently explained how to make my paddling more efficient, how to deal with swells and choppy water and how to be more comfortable and safe on the board.  In one hour, I became a much better paddler.  If SUP is new to you or if you’ve been at it for a while, Rob will help you have more fun on a paddle board.

- Karsten Hagen, Bend

“I wanted to pull two visiting teenage girls out of their comfort zone of shopping, make-up and Netflix. Having personally taken lessons with Rob a couple years ago, I contacted him to see if we could arrange something. Instructor Joe McColskey, a former high school teacher and personal trainer was up to the challenge. The girls really enjoyed their SUP Basics session.”

- Lynn P

“Rob is a fantastic stand up paddle board instructor. His knowledge of the sport and the local waters is remarkable. I’ve been out for a couple of lessons with him now and I’ve learned a lot and become a better paddler each time. I especially appreciate his commitment to safety and doing things the right way. He’s also just a good dude and I highly recommend him to anyone interested in SUP.”

- Shanon Dell, Sequim