SUP Basics 1

SUP Basics 1

Bad balance is a myth. In SUP Basics 1 we will work with you individually to help you stand up and paddle with confidence. We place students on super stable boards for your height and weight using proven techniques that guarantee your success in standing up, turning, building confidence and having fun!

If you’re not sure if this is the class for you, SUP Basics 1 is for total beginners and is more comprehensive than any beginning class in the region. There’s no doubt you’ll learn skills you haven’t learned before. Classes can be customized to your goals. Safety is also a priority in our classes.

If you already know how to stand up with ease, then SUP Basics 2 may be a better fit for you.

You may see harbor seals, bald eagles, sea lions and views of the Olympic Mountains, Bainbridge and Whidbey Islands. The class is held at the Elks beach on Shilshole Bay in Seattle. SUP Basics 1 is available all year.

Covid-19 Update: Paddling is a naturally distanced activity. We follow current Covid guidance. All gear is always cleaned and our instructors are vaccinated. 

Core Skills You’ll Gain

  • Stand up with confidence on a stable board for your height and weight.
  • You’ll learn easy turns as well as how to go sideways and backwards
  • Get a powerful yet simple forward stroke requiring minimal effort
  • I’ll teach you how to paddle straight to save energy and go faster
  • Get bomber stability skills to stay standing in rough water and boat wakes
  • Falling is normal. Learning how to fall and get back on could save your life
  • You’ll learn how to install a fin and leash so you can set up your own board
  • Learn to read water so you get there easier with less effort
  • SUP isn’t all about standing. Learn to sit, kneel and paddle prone (on chest) and paddle straight
  • Find out how to use efficient strokes using finesse to prevent shoulder injuries
  • Paddle over boat wakes with ease, in wind and on rough water so you have more fun on your own
  • We’ll discuss paddling equipment and clothing options for all seasons
  • The flip rescue will allow you to help another paddler get back on their board

Sample 3 Hour Lesson Itinerary:

  • (30 minutes on land) Learn about paddling clothing, equipment, carrying a SUP, car-topping and discussion of paddling location.
  • Beginning strokes starting out sitting down and/or kneeling, prone paddling (without paddle) and standing up.
  • Learn the forward stroke, turning, balance, falling safely and getting back on. More depending on your progression or interests.
  • The above sample itinerary can be altered to your preference – more paddle time, let’s do it!


After Class Extras

  • 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 my 24 video SUP 101 Online Course to review skills learned in class.  Get paddle trip check-lists and planning tips. (Value: $199)
  • 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.
  • Receive a 20% discount from Mountaineers Books for any title or Rob’s books: ‘Kayaking Puget Sound‘ and ‘Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers.
  • Everyone gets a Salmon Bay Paddle sticker!


SUP Basics 1 Class Details:

Public Group Classes: Some Saturdays and Sundays OR Private Classes anytime on your schedule!  Contact us for scheduling.

We don’t cancel for rain.

Larger private groups 4+ require a second instructor.

If you have a child under 16 that wants to take a group class contact us and we may be able to match them up with other kids.  Or take the class yourself and then pass on the skills to your child or take a private class with your child.  Ages 11 + 

Location: Ballard Elks beach / Shilshole Bay in Ballard / Seattle.  Private classes can be held at a custom location. Travel fees for outside Seattle.

Requirements: Must speak English and Know how to swim (the basics). Contact Orca Swim to learn.

Group Class Schedule:

Group classes have 3 people minimum and 4 person capacity. Each start at 10am, most Sundays and Wednesday nights

Weekends: July 9, 17, 31 / August 7, 14, 21 / Sept 4, 18

Wednesday Evenings (6:30pm): July 6, 13, 20, 27 // (6pm) August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31



Private or Public Group Classes (3-4 Students): 189 per person

2 Private Person Rate: 239 per person

Individual Rate (1-1): 399


  • We recommend wetsuits and booties even in Summer as the Sound doesn’t really warm up.  Our suits are toasty warm, flexible and comfortable
  • $15 stable board, paddle, deck bag, leash and PFD (life vest).
  • $15 – 4/3mm wetsuit, hood, booties & gloves.
  • OK TO USE YOUR OWN GEAR. It’s best to learn on your own gear if you have it. But please don’t buy gear just for our class. Try our gear first!
  • Rates are non-negotiable / Gratuities are always welcome. 

Contact me to book a class.

“Just wanted to shout out for the session that Rob hosted with me this afternoon!  Perfect.  He tailored it right to what I needed. It was great to pick his brain and he was patient with me and analyzing my struggles with my front stroke.  I have lots of work to do..but my paddle within the first 30 minutes was already improved.   I feel spoiled with all of the focused attention and can’t wait to get out on the water tomorrow to work on this advice.”

- Sue R

“I took SUP 1 from Scott D and had such a great time. He was a really good instructor and made me feel so comfortable being a total newbie.”

- Judith K

“Agree with the other reviews about the amazing depth of knowledge of Rob and his team (Robert & Suzanne for my basics class). I learned so much about a range of SUP-related topics. Once we were on the water, the real-time individualized feedback was superbly useful – it let me know what to keep doing, and what I should change to paddle more efficiently. I had a lot of fun learning with Rob/team and the other students, and I was even approached by a curious seal!

One thing I wanted to highlight is Rob & team’s emphasis on safety. I so appreciated how seriously they take SUP safety. I felt very safe in their care, and after this class I feel confident about venturing out onto the Sound, with a SUP buddy or two, to practice what I learned in class. Looking forward to taking another class with them in the near future!.”

Anglie L - 8/21

“The class was exactly what I needed. Worth it just to find out that my arms shouldn’t hurt after paddling! Robert N was able to expertly teach two of us at once, adapting to our different learning styles and needs. Highly recommend taking the SUP Basics! Especially since you’re not just paying for a class but a whole network of information and experience.”

Amanda, 8/2021

Took a SUP basic class with Rob and it was a blast! He is incredibly knowledgeable and adapted the class to meet the needs of the students. We covered a range of topics: stroke techniques, gear, wave/ wind conditions, and practiced rescue with a partner. Rob provided a detailed summary of SUP resources and class info, following the course. Looking forward to my next class with salmon bay paddle!

Elizabeth V, Tacoma, WA

I recently took Rob’s SUP Basics Level 1 intro lesson. Very glad I did. I took the class hoping to get a solid foundation on SUP basics from the ground (or water) up. I left with a solid understanding of the fundamentals, and an appetite to go out again as soon as I can. Rob made it super easy and fun (there was a lot of good conversation during the dry ground orientation and out in the water during “board meetings”). He puts a lot of emphasis on safety and made me rethink ever going out on a board without a leash and PFD. He even followed up after the class with techniques I need to work on. I’m mulling what lesson to take next.

Jeff Hindle, Seattle

Rob Casey is very knowledgeable about the sport and the surrounding environment. I not only learned basic paddle boarding techniques, but also cool turns, what to do when there are waves, and great safety tips. I’ve taken SUP “lessons” before, but none were as detailed or effective as Rob’s. Shilshole Bay was beautiful – saw lots of marine life like starfish and crabs. I’d definitely take another lesson or tour with Salmon Bay Paddle next time I’m in Seattle.

Adelie, NY

“I’ve had many SUP, surfing (and beyond) lessons world-wide but I haven’t found an expert in the area that compares to Rob’s level of quality experience, competency and teaching skills. Rob emphasizes safety first and caters to each individuals personal learning style in delivering quality instruction to paddlers of all levels. He truly went above and beyond and has set the bar extremely high for a business model that I hope to mirror. I will definitely return to him for further training.”

Amber W

My sister and I took Rob’s SUP Basics 1 class. Rob’s approach emphasized safety, appropriate gear selection and care, and demonstration of technique under different scenarios. He is thorough, knowledgeable, and patient. I highly recommend Rob and Salmon Bay Paddle!

Natalie Hunt

“Rob is great and really patient with his students! I took the 3 hour basic class and he set me up for success – providing all the gear and instruction I needed to make sure I was warm and safe out on the water. My primary goal was to learn enough to not look like a fool on the water but he taught me much more than that – I was doing pivot turns, walking up and down the board, and maneuvering around boat traffic, current and wind by the end of the class! I got the sense that it was really important to him that I enjoy the sport and provide me with the tools and confidence to continue on my own.”

Jessica Barnes, 2016

After taking the plunge and buying a paddle board recently after enjoying the rentals I had tried, I realized that as a beginner I really ought to take a course and make sure I start out with good habits and safety awareness.  Online research showed outstanding reviews for Rob at Salmon Bay Paddle, so I decided to inquire about lessons.  While there are less expensive options available at other schools, I really appreciated the option of one on one training with a highly experienced instructor – heck, he even has written books on the topic!  

I was extremely fortunate to get a lesson on short notice with one of his other instructors, Alex, and it was phenomenal.  The lesson started promptly on time, and I was so happy that the wetsuit and gloves he brought fit me perfectly, thanks to the online questionnaire I had filled out in advance.  We spent some time going over basics and safety issues, then we headed out on the water at Shilshole.  

Even with a little rain at the beginning, it was so much fun!!  I learned the correct way to fall and get back on my board (one of my concerns prior to the class), better ways of turning, about boat channels and right of way, and much more.  And I even got to see a sea lion and some seals!  Alex was extremely patient and encouraging throughout the lesson, and his passion for the sport was infectious.  I would highly recommend Alex and Salmon Bay Paddle, and I feel like my lesson was one of the best learning investments I have made.  I will definitely consider more lessons as I progress.


“Rob is an expert in SUP and offers even more relevant training and helpful information because of his background in kayaking. His skill, knowledge and expertise exceeded my expectations. He presented the information and training in a very clear and concise manner; adding many various tips throughout his instruction. Rob is encouraging, patient and practical – all very important traits when teaching a subject. The course more than met my needs – I learned a lot and as a beginner – I have a lot to learn. I will continue to turn to him as my ‘go to’ resource in all matters SUP. I’m extremely glad I chose Salmon Bay Paddle and Rob for my first professional training in SUP. I felt safe and confident with him the whole time.”

Leah R

Rob is legit. He’s patient, humble, and incredibly knowledgeable on the water. I really enjoyed my time with him!

Cody C

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