Saltwater Tidal Rapids at Deception Pass

Learn the basics of river paddling in saltwater tidal currents which will prepare you for open water exploring on Puget Sound and river sup paddling. You’ll learn river paddling techniques, rough water skills and coastal paddling methods in an amazing place!

This class is ideal cross training for down winding, surfing, racing, learning rough water skills and building overall confidence for everyday paddling. It is essential for learning to paddle in the currents around the San Juan Islands. At the end of class you’ll much more confidence and new skills which will take your paddling to the next level. This is a super fun class for Level 1 and above paddlers!

To some, Deception Pass looks scary and untouchable. Rob and his professional guides will share with you how to read the water, understand the currents and know when to be in the Pass for the best paddling.  Most classes will start at slack, the calm water period between the ebb and flood tides. Soon thereafter the currents will slowly increase as your skills also progress in that environment.

You’ll paddle with harbor seals, see bald eagles, possible orca sightings and enjoy majestic views of the San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula and on a clear day, Victoria BC.

Watch this class on King 5 TV’s Evening Magazine, 5/2016.

Core Skills You’ll Gain

  • How to forecast marine weather, tides, and currents so you can plan your own trips to the Pass
  • How to paddle with control and confidence in swift current
  • How to read water so you can make smart route decisions in current
  • Learn River SUP skills – peeling in/out of current, ferrying across current and rescues in current
  • We’ll help you choose the best best gear for river paddling
  • Learn rescue skills in dynamic water
  • If conditions are right, we’ll surf standing waves in the Pass!
  • Paddling DP will help you have the skills to plan trips on Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands

Skill Prerequisites: Level 1 Intermediate

Required completion of our SUP Basics 1 and/or 2 classes. These basic classes can be taken at Deception Pass in calm protected water before we enter the Pass or in Seattle prior to the class date.

If you’re unable to take these prerequisites classes and feel your skills are sufficient, I will ask that you take a short test paddle with me prior to the D Pass class date to confirm that you have the skills needed to paddle in rough water similar to tidal rapids.

Skills required to take this class: You must know how to swim, can fall off and climb back on your board with no problem, you can paddle comfortably in boat and wind waves (not on knees), can paddle straight and have directional control of your board.

Class Details:

2018 Dates (Calendar)

  • Dec 1 – *Deception Pass Dash Training – 9am start, slack at 10:30am
  • Dec 16, Noon start.

2019 Dates

  • Jan 19 – Noon start.
  • Feb 16 – 11am start. 

Private classes to your schedule available most weekdays or weekends. Tidal Rapids 1 or 2 Full Day Private Lessons also Available.

Duration: Half day (4-5 hrs). We’ll take regular breaks on protected pocket beaches.

Skill Level: Must be a solid Level 2 – Comfortable paddling standing up in rough water and know how to easily fall and get back on. A pre-Class is required in Seattle if you’re unsure of your abilities. We’ll cover rough water paddling, balance skills, recoveries and rescues.

Bringing Your Own Gear? You’ll need a super stable board (no 23-25″ wide race boards!) to have a fun day in the rapids. Narrow race boards will be tippy and difficult to manage. We require a vest PFD, leash, helmet and full wet or drysuit. Booties and gloves recommended for walking on rocky beaches. Been awhile since you’ve pulled on your wetsuit? Water in the Pass is colder than in Seattle. * Make sure to try on your gear before the class to assure proper fit.


Group Rate: (3 – 6 students) – 225 per person- Includes free use of our gear / 199 with your gear.

2 people: 299 per person – Includes free use of our gear/ 273 with your gear.

Private (1-1): 599 – Includes free use of our gear / 573 with your gear.

Our free rentals include: Stable boards, paddle, leash, vest PFD, deck bag, 4/3mm wetsuit, booties. gloves, hoods and helmets.

Alumni Discount: $25 off per person.

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