Downwinding Level 1

Downwinding Level 1 will introduce you to how downwinding works and begin to train you to be ready for prime time in both local and world class spots such as Hood River or Maliko.

Downwinding isn’t all just surfing. You need to know how to paddle point to point in any wind direction, stand up in rough water and have skills for effective up wind paddling such as sitting, kneeling and/or prone paddling.

I also work with Jaecey Suda in Maui and Joel Yang in Hood River to prep their students for their runs in big water.  This class is also a prerequisite for Downwinding Level 2.

Seattle area downwinding is epic all year with a lot of options for different wind directions.


Skill Level Requirements for Downwinding Level 1:

Downwinding can be epic yet also dangerous if you don’t have right skills to make it your destination, can’t stand up in bumps or lack the physical shape required to paddle in gale force conditions. You’ll put yourself and others in jeopardy unless you’re ready for this experience.

Too often I get folks who think after a beginning SUP class they’re ready to hit prime time at Hood River. You have no business being in 4-6′ swell in 40 knots of wind until you have the right skills and on-water time. This takes perfecting the core skills and lots of water time in those conditions. This class is a step in the right direction!

  • You should be an Advanced Beginner thru an Intermediate paddler
  • You should be able to paddle 3-5 miles non-stop. If the wind shuts off or changes direction getting back requires this.
  • You can paddle in a straight line
  • You can remount and stand up on your board in small waves
  • Comfortable surfing boat wakes or Deception Pass or SUP surfing or whitewater river sup (and have done it recently)
  • You paddle regularly (have been out recently) and can swim (the basics)
  • Be in good physical shape.
  • Take my SUP Basics 2 class or the Ultimate SUP Class to build your skills. Deception Pass is another great cross training option.

Core Skills You’ll Gain

  • Wind forecasting tools and techniques so you get more downwind days
  • Stroke analysis for your forward stroke so you get more glides. knowing how to paddle straight and last longer.
  • Directional control such as nose rudders, the nose draw and cross bow, (buoy/pivot turns not as important for DW)
  • Footwork to adjust trim which means longer glides, less work. Essential for any type of surfing.
  • Rescues & Safety – Learn how to rescue yourself and others in high wind
  • Downwind Gear – Best boards, double leashing, visibility, clothing and communication.
  • How to choose where to go and when, planning put-ins and take-out, shuttles and backup plans
  • Get solid stability and tracking skills for rough water and high wind so you can have more fun
  • How to train for downwinding and cross training options
  • Going to downwind Maliko or Hood River? I work with Jaecey Suda in Maui and Joel Yang in HR to prep you for their classes.
  • Check out my blog for more info on downwinding 

Take my SUP Basics 2 class or the Ultimate SUP Class to build your skills. Deception Pass is another great cross training option.


Schedule: 3hrs-  Private classes only. Contact me for your available dates. *Available all year.

Prerequisite: SUP Basics  2 or equivalent skills.

Class kept small to 1- 3 people capacity for safety.

Location: Will be held on Puget Sound in Seattle unless otherwise requested

** Covid-19:  SBP is open to individual and small groups to 2-3 people for DW. We’ll maintain a 6′ distance on shore and on-water, recommended mask use on shore. All gear is always cleaned. 



Group Rate: (3 students) 169 per person with rentals / 149 per person with your gear.

2 Person Rate: 199 pp with rentals / 169 pp with your gear

Individual Rate (1-1): 299 with rentals / 273 with your own gear.

My Rental Gear: Stable 14′, 17′ and 18′ SUPs, paddle, coiled leash, vest PFD, hi-vis clothing, 4/3 or 5/4 mm surfing wetsuit, booties, gloves, optional helmet.

Required EquipmentIf bringing your own: Vest PFD (no waist C02’s), hi-vis colors, booties, gloves, full wetsuit (4/3mm or 5/4mm) or drysuit, leash, paddle, stable board (super narrow 21-23″ will mean a lot of swimming); tethered communication device such as a VHF or phone.  Helmet for 27+ knot days where boards can go airborne. Boards should be 14′ or longer hard or inflatables.  Rentals Available for all gear.

After Class Review: Receive a summary of strokes covered and tips of skills to work on. Optional video or stills of your experience. Help with purchasing gear and learning where to DW.

Alumni Discount: $10 off for returning students.


“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

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