The three levels of Sea Kayaking Fundamentals (SKF 1-3) have been established for those participants that are new to sea kayaking and who wish to develop the appropriate skills so that they are able to paddle safely and competently in a marine coastal environment.
The Sea Kayaking Fundamentals are there for existing sea kayakers who wish to further enhance their skills so that they play a more active role on multi-day sea kayak expeditions.
These three levels also act as the prerequisites for moving forward to becoming a sea kayak guide within the ISKGA system.
Sea Kayaking Fundamentals – Level One (SKF1): This is an entry-level course aimed at participants who might be classed as beginner sea kayakers. The course runs over four days, either in a block or over two 2-day periods, and takes place on sheltered waters. Participants will be introduced to elements of sea safety so that they develop an immediate understanding of the dangers associated with the marine environment.
Participants will then progress on to learning the skills needed to manouver their sea kayak forwards, backwards and sideways. They will then learn how to turn their sea kayak using a variety of methods, as well how to maintain directional control using their paddle effectively to steer and track.
Once these skills have been developed, recovery strokes will be introduced along with capsize drills and effective rescue techniques. Over a period of the four days, basic expedition skills will also be presented.
Sea Kayaking Fundamentals – Level Two (SKF2): This course aimed is aimed at sea kayakers wishing to build upon and improve their foundation skills previously learnt. The course runs over five days and takes place in more dynamic conditions. The entry-level paddler will progress further with their technical stroke work and associated skills.
The course also moves participants forward by assisting them to develop a greater understanding of camp craft and sea safety. Aspects of oceanography and meteorology are introduced at this level.
The five-day course is an intensive learning experience, which introduces rolling and more complex rescue techniques. The course can be undertaken in an expedition style format, allowing clients to experience the joys of living from a sea kayak.
Sea Kayaking Fundamentals – Level Three (SKF3): Successful completion of this course means a participant can be deemed as being a proficient member of a group on the sea. This is to say that they will be able to control their kayaks effectively in winds of up to Beaufort Force 4; a running sea of up to three feet; launching and landing effectively in dynamic surf; rolling their kayaks upright after an inadvertent capsize; or, if they have had to exit their craft, demonstrate their understanding of the steps required to re-enter as would be expected of a proficient sea kayaker. The course runs over five days and takes place in moderate sea conditions.
In addition, the participant will know how to load their sea kayak for a multi-day expedition and be supportive of the group leader in the duties of expedition leadership. This is in areas of rescue and camp craft. An accomplished SKF L3 paddler will know how to conduct repairs; how to rescue a casualty; how to assemble a variety of tows; and have a sound understanding of navigation and planning, both on land and at sea.