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.
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!
SUP Surf Skills You’ll Learn
- SUP surfing skills on Shilshole Bay using boat wakes, wind waves and freighter waves!
- Surfer’s etiquette which helps keep everyone safe in the surf zone
- Coastal surf forecasting using specific locations, tides and currents and different types of waves and breaks
SUP Racing Skills You’ll Learn
- Technical race skills and strategy including buoy turns, beach starts, pacing, drafting, overtaking, sprinting, and awareness of self and environment
- How to train for SUP racing using efficiency, training drills, training plans and goal setting
- Recovery and injury prevention, nutrition/ hydration, mental preparation and sports psychology, other off water tips
- Cross training tips for building strength and preventing injuries
SUP Paddle Trips!
Later in the season you’ll have the opportunity to paddle in the super fun tidal rapids of Deception Pass!
- Learn how to read river or tidal currents and moving water
- Find out how to safely paddle using the right gear for currents
- Learn how to cross eddy lines, ferry across current, fall safely and remount in moving water
- Get an introduction to coastal paddling along the beautiful rugged shores of the Pass!
- Surf standing waves in the Pass if conditions are right!
- 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!
Paddling is a naturally distanced activity. We follow current Covid guidance. All gear is always cleaned. All instructors are 3x vaccinated.
Next Class: TBA (3hr class). **Must have experience with us for this class, we’ll be freighter surfing!
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.
Youth Team Rate: 87 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.
Next Class: TBA
“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.”
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!
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.
“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.”
“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.”