Locks to Lakes Tour

Covid-19 Notice – In the current Phase 2, tours are only available for Privates for 1-5 people.

The Tour

We’ll put-in on the freshwater side of Salmon Bay just above the Ballard Locks, then paddle along the industrial Ballard waterfront past the crab boats seen in the Deadliest Catch and other moored ships and dry docks. Along this route we’ll also see houseboats, marinas and live-a-board communities.

Crossing the bay, we’ll explore Fisherman’s Terminal where all the NW salmon and herring commercial boats are moored. Then an optional fish and chips stop here at Little Chinook’s Café.

Underway again, we’ll paddle under the Ballard draw bridge and follow the shoreline past the Foss and Western Towboat tug docks into the Ship Canal. Here we begin to enter the district of Fremont known for its funky culture and new technology companies.

We’ll pass below the picturesque Fremont draw-bridge then under the 155 foot tall Aurora (Highway 99) bridge to enter Lake Union.

With sea planes flying overhead and landing nearby, we’ll enjoy views of houseboats, the new South Lake Union skyline and the Space Needle.

We’ll pass industrial shipyards, Gas Works Park and end the tour at Waterway 18 which at the north end of the lake and a short distance from Ivar’s Salmon House and the UW. Alternatively, we can paddle from any put-ins and return to your launch location as a round-trip experience.

We can also visit the Lockspot Cafe at the end of the tour in Ballard.

Route will vary for conditions.

Skill Prerequisites: NONE

Beginner level. I provide a beginning lesson at the start of the tour.


“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

Tour Details:

Schedule: Private Tours Only. Contact me to book a time that works for you.

Covid-19 Notice:  In the current Phase 2, tours can include 1 – 5 people. Paddling is naturally distanced but on shore we’ll respect 6′ and use masks. 

Class Size: 1 –  5 People  (Larger groups ok after Phase 3 & 4 start)

Launch Location: Above the Locks in Ballard. Alternatively we can launch from Agua Verde Paddle Club.

Duration: 2-3 hours. Paddle at your own pace and take beach breaks along the tour. We have great beach-combing!  Ask about additional tour time.

Instructor to Student Ratio: 1:4

Guide Follow-up: I’ll send you photos and/or videos or your experience.


Private Group Tour (3-4 people): 125 per person with rentals / 99 per person with your gear. *Must be from the same household.

2 Person Rate: 149 per person with rentals / 133 per person with your gear

Individual Rate (1-1): 273 with rentals / 249 with your own gear. For 3 hours, 299 with rentals, 273 with your own gear.

“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

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