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Delmarva Paddlers Retreat Typical Course List and Descriptions

Most, but maybe not all courses are given every year.

Forward Stroke Clinic – Your instructor will break down the components of the forward stroke and guide you towards paddling with power and grace. He will show you how to hold the paddle, guide you through each part of the stroke, show you how and when to use power, help you conserve energy, make your stroke more efficient and avoid common mistakes.


Stroke Basics – Learn the basic strokes using your Greenland paddle to control your kayak: Forward, Reverse, Sweep (for turning), Stopping and Draw strokes (for moving sideways). A good class to take if you are new to paddling with a skinny stick or switching from a euro paddle!

Edging and Bracing – Learn and practice controlling the kayak using your lower body, torso, arms and head. Use this knowledge to increase the effectiveness of your turns, make fine adjustments to correct your course and prevent capsizes. In addition to making you a more efficient paddler, these skills are important building blocks for learning to roll your kayak.  


Advanced Strokes – Learn to fine tune your paddling with these strokes: Low Brace Turn, High Brace Turn, Stern Rudder, Bow Rudder, Sideslip (hanging Draw). Draw on the Move, Sculling Draw. Basic knowledge of edging is a prerequisite for this class.

Sculling for Propulsion and Support – Gain a greater understanding of how your paddle can be used for moving the kayak in all directions and creating continuous support in tippy situations. Sculling (using the blade like a knife spreads peanut butter on bread), once incorporated into your stroke repertoire, will make you a more graceful and precise paddler. Sculling is also a critical building block for rolling.  


Rescues 1: Self Rescues – Becoming a safe and self-sufficient paddler requires that you become able to rescue yourself after a capsize and “unintentional dismount.” Learn and practice cowboy/cowgirl scramble, paddle float, paddle float re-entry and roll.


Rescues 2: Assisted Rescues and Towing – A responsible paddler knows how to help others who have capsized and who require assistance getting back into the kayak. Learn and practice the T rescue with variations to match the conditions. Assisting others also sometimes requires a useful knowledge of towing to both assist a rescue and return an injured or exhausted paddler to shore. Practice several variations of the kayak tow using long and short tows.


Rescues 3: Rescues without Wet Exiting – Learn to rescue and be rescued without getting out of your kayak following a capsize. We will cover Bow and Stern Rescue, Paddle Bridge Rescue, Hand of Pavia, and Trapped Paddler (Hand of God) Rescue. These are potentially life-saving rescues that also serve as a useful means to save energy while learning to roll.

Fundamentals of Rolling - Starting on land, we'll learn the basic building blocks of rolling... while still breathing air! This is a good primer before you get in your kayak.  



These classes will be offered a future Delmarva 

Basics of Qajaq Building w/ Anders Thygesen – During this half-day class, Anders will cover the basic things that you need to know to build a skin on frame kayak but can’t get from a book. He will cover: kayak design, overall dimensions, hull shape and how to obtain beautiful lines; materials; steam bending; joinery and sewing.  


Getting Into Skin on Frame Qajaqs (open sessions) – Spend some time trying out the fleet qajaqs under the helpful guidance of a mentor. Learn the proper way to get into and out of a qajaq. Get the inside line on sand etiquette and launching. Try a tuilik on for size. Wet exits from a skin on frame qajaq are a little different to perform than from a hard-shelled kayak, so we will carefully go through that part with you and step you through the process.


Pad Your Kayak – (ongoing throughout event. Check with Jannie at the event to arrange) Learn to fit out your kayak to fit you. Join Jannie on the beach to learn to make your kayak more comfortable for you and more responsive to you. You’ll have an opportunity to take it out into the water and test it out, then come back in and make any needed modifications. As time permits you will also learn to rig your deck for extra paddles, towlines, and gear.

Combat Rolling – Now that you have a reasonably reliable roll(s), put yourself to the test and learn where you really stand with rolling. Self-knowledge in this area is essential for your safety as a kayaker and this set of challenges is designed to safely push you to explore your limits. Each challenge increases in difficulty and duration until you have drained your resources in mind and body. If you can successfully withstand these challenges, you are truly “unsinkable!”

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