Trip Leader Training

Trip Leader Training for Kayakers and Paddle Boarders –

Planning to lead trips?  Looking to be more aware as a participant?

Learn the basics for safely leading small groups by our expert ACA certified instructors with our new Trip Leader Training course.  The course is for intermediate and above paddlers and includes two separate 3 hour classes, one in the classroom and one on-water.

You receive training to lead beginning and introductory tours and lessons.

To receive more in-depth instructor training for SUP, check out our PSUPA Flat Water 1 Certification course taught by Rob Casey.  Or look into the ACA for kayaking certifications.

Note: The course does not include certification.

Class 1 – Topics we’ll cover:

The first session in a classroom at the Ballard Elks in Seattle on January 22 will cover leadership and learning styles, group dynamics, managing participants, risk management, skills required as well as required gear. Cost is $225 per person.

  • Leadership styles
  • Leader traps
  • The hard skills needed – You need to be more than a proficient paddler
  • The soft skills needed – from understanding sea states and conditions to communication and first aid. Trip leaders need to know more than how to paddle
  • Gear needs and recommendations for trip leaders
  • And more.

Class 2 – On-Water Trip Leader Skills:

The second class in the Spring will be on-water at the Ballard Elks beach in Seattle with simulated trip safety, observations at launch and incident management skills.

  • Simulated trip safety
  • Observations prior to launch
  • Incident management
  • Simulated leadership practice


Prerequisites / Requirements:

  • Intermediate paddlers with solid self and assisted rescue skills. See our recommended classes below to build your skills prior.
  • Ideally have all your own gear. The Spring class requires a full surfing wetsuit or dry suit, vest PFD, booties, gloves, hood.
  • Be in shape for paddling 3-5 miles and able to rescue others
  • Know how to swim (basics)
  • Speak and understand English


Recommended Classes to Prepare for this Course:


Student Benefits

  • 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.
  • You’ll able to join our Facebook Alumni Group to continue learning and for connecting with other paddlers.
  • Access to our SUP Water Safety online course. Great option for kayakers to for learning about other types of craft
  • 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. Or get Rob’s books: ‘Kayaking Puget Sound‘ and ‘Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers.
  • Receive a Salmon Bay Paddle sticker!


Class Details:

  • Schedule:  Class 1 – January 22 – 10AM / Class 2 – Spring, TBA
  • Location: Ballard Elks Lodge and beach
  • Each class is $225 per person.
  • Rentals included but we recommend you use your own gear.
  • Covid-19:  We follow current State guidance. Instructors are vaccinated. 
  • Class Size: 8 People
  • Private courses available for your school, recreational group or outfitter. Curriculum can be customized to your needs.



Group Class (8 Students capacity): 225 per person (per class)

Click the Book button to sign up for the classroom session at the Ballard Elks on January 22 at 10AM. 


  • We recommend wetsuits and booties even in Summer as the Sound doesn’t really warm up.  Our suits are toasty warm, flexible and comfortable
  • 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. 

Group rates are non-negotiable / Gratuities are always welcome.