Sea Kayak Grades

Every sea kayak course that we provide is graded. Grading our courses and trips helps you choose a course that is suitable for your ability and helps you get the most from the course. We keep it simple and have 3 grades: grade 1 (green), grade 2 (blue) and grade 3 (orange). Full details of the grading system can be seen below...

grade 1

Beginners - Improving Beginners


Overview

Joining a Green trip will introduce the fundamentals including technical skills, body management and theoretical understanding of skills. This style of trip is also good for people looking to develop basic technique in sheltered water. On our Green graded camping trips its not essential to have previous experience, we spend day one of these trips at base camp looking at essential skills. Similarly if you have been kayaking on day trips but not on any camping trips then this type of trip is for you.

Physical Considerations

When considering a Green graded trip a degree of fitness is required. To get the most out of your trip with us you should have good mobility and be prepared to sit in a kayak for around 1 - 2 hours at a time. This trip is suited to most fitness levels. Get in touch if you have any questions.

Technical Ability

From no skills whats so ever to the very basics. Joining a Green trip will introduce the fundamentals including technical skills, body management and theoretical understanding of skills. This style of trip is also good for people looking to develop basic technique in sheltered water. On our Green graded camping trips its not essential to have previous experience, we spend day one of these trips at base camp looking at essential skills. Similarly if you have been kayaking on day trips but not on any camping trips then this type of trip is for you.

Distance/Conditions

Distance: up to 10km per day but more like 5km. Conditions: Sheltered water, often starting in a bay or harbour before heading on a journey. On camping trips day one is often about learning or refreshing the basics before setting off on our 5km - 10km days. We plan our routes to make use of sheltered coastal routes and crossings are very short - max 1km.


sea kayak flat water
grade 2

Improving Beginners - Intermediates


Overview

Time to put your skills to the test? Our Blue trips are aimed at paddlers with some experience. Paddlers on these trips should have at least 7 days of previous sea kayaking experience. You should have a good understanding of basic technique and feel comfortable executing simple maneuvers in a variety of conditions, such as in windy conditions or in choppy water. Our rolling clinics are graded Blue because of the necessity for a basic understanding of skills.

Physical Considerations

Joining us on this type of trip requires “paddle fitness”. You should be comfortable sitting in a kayak for 2 hours or more at a time and be happy to paddle for up to 6 hours per day.

Technical Ability

If you have a variety of strokes to aid your passage on a journey, this type of trip is for you. Having experience being rescued is useful on this trip. We won't be planning on any swimming but you should be prepared for a capsize and have some understanding of rescue protocol.

Distance/Conditions

Distance: Between 10km - 25km Conditions: A Blue trip might include moving water, small surf, moderate winds and choppy seas, longer crossings and areas of exposed coast line where landing might not be easy. Some of our trips are Blue more because of the distances involved rather than the difficulty of conditions.


sea kayaking in waves
garde 3

Improving Intermediates - Advanced


Overview

If your looking for something challenging, then our Orange trips are for you. Our Orange trips include rock hopping, sea kayak surfing, big crossings, tide races, circumnavigation of outlying islands and rough water kayaking. Our camping trips will be in remote locations with aspects of inaccessible coastline. We’ll be using all of our skills and knowledge to access some of Scotland’s gems.

Physical Considerations

A good level of fitness is required for these trips. You should be a regular paddler capable of paddling long distances without burning out.

Technical Ability

A good command of all things kayaking is important here. Being able to roll is handy, but not essential. We’ll be in areas where your boat control should be second nature. Skills should come naturally without too much thought and you should be competent in both rescuing and being rescued.

Distance/Conditions

Distance: around 25km per day. Conditions: depending on the type of course we will be in a variety of conditions including big swell, rough water, strong winds, long crossings, exposed areas of coastline, areas with significant tidal movement, breaking surf and areas where landing is difficult. On our camping trips you can expect 25km days and long crossings.


sea kayaking in rough water