Looking to find good Kayak, Canoe and SUP instruction in Victoria, BC? Whether you’re a resident or a visitor looking for some quality lessons to get you started in kayaking, canoeing or standup paddle boarding, or if you are wanting to take your paddling skills to the next level, there are a number of excellent paddling schools in and around Victoria. There are also some excellent paddling clubs where you can find instruction in Dragon Boating, Outrigger Canoes, Marathon Canoes and Voyageur Canoes.
Ocean River Adventures
Located right on the harbour, Ocean River is one of the premier specialty kayak and adventure companies in North America. With over 30 years in the business Ocean River includes an outstanding retail store, kayaking school, kayaking and adventure tours, kayak, canoe and SUP instruction and rentals and a performance paddling club. Ocean River Adventures excels in kayaking programs custom tailored for every level. They offer Introduction to Kayaking to Advanced Sea Kayaking Courses. Recognized as The Best Kayak School in Western Canada by Sea Kayaker magazine’s Reader’s Choice awards in 2012 Ocean River has always been committed to getting people out on the water safely. Their Paddle Canada certified instructors will help you to improve your skills or build a foundation of knowledge from the ground up.
Located at 1630 Store with docks located at the end of Swift St in front of the Canoe Brew Pub.
website: Ocean River
Founded in 2003, SKILS offers a selections of course including Paddle Canada certification, SUP and canoe instruction and many specialty courses including sea kayak surfing, sea kayak leadership skills, paddling in currents, and even kayak fishing. Some of the courses are offered in Victoria, many are at locations around Vancouver Island.
Ucluelet, British Columbia
Pacifica offers kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board lessons for all ability levels, as well as a full range of instruction in current and surf. They also offer Paddle Canada Sea Kayak and SUP lessons.
Victoria Waterfront Tours
Located on the Inner habour, Victoria Waterfront Tours offers you a chance to develop your kayaking skills in an ocean environment with thier basic sea kayaking lessons. Choose from two four hour options or a full day certification course.
website: Victoria Waterfront Tours
7 – 475 Head St
Other Paddling Resources
The following is a list of other paddling resources that you may find useful.
Power to be
‘Power to be’ offers Adaptive Recreation programs to support people living with a disability or barrier in experiencing inclusive recreational activities while exploring nature and their natural abilities. From land to sea, we adapt our programs to our participants and provide the equipment and support they may need to experience year-round adventures – and we encourage family to participate and share in the experience, too. Power to be offers kayaking programs from their facilities on Prospect Lake in Victoria.
Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club
The Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club (VCKC) is a recreational paddling club based in Victoria. The club is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the promotion of safe and skillful paddling on Vancouver Island and in the surrounding waters. The club has a diverse paddling community and with six paddling programs gives members a wide range of paddling opportunities. Members may participate in any Club program(s). They offer programs for canoe, dragon boating, marathon canoe, outrigger, sea kayak and voyager canoe. Their clubhouse is located on the Gorge Waterway at 355 Gorge Rd W. with docks and boat launching ramp.
website: The Victoria Canoe & Kayak Club
355 Gorge Rd. W. Victoria, BC V9A 1M9
University of Victoria White Water Kayaking Club
The White Water Kayaking Club, is open to all students of the University of Victoria and community members of any level of ability. (we welcome community members but remember this is a university club full of university students).
The UVic Kayak Club is one of the biggest outdoor sports club at UVic. More than 100 new beginners sign up each year and learn basic and more advanced kayaking skills.
They meet every Friday throughout the term. Club membership includes instruction, pool sessions and access to Club gear. This includes boats, paddles, PFDs, decks, wetsuits, jackets etc. Membership is $60 for the year or $35 per term. They go on river and surf trips on weekends as much as possible. Trips are dependent on water levels, availability of guides and vehicles but there is some sort of trip each weekend.
No experience is required; just bring your bathing suit and membership fee.
Facebook Page: UVIC Whitewater Club Facebook Page
Fairway Gorge Paddling Club
As the official training centre for the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club offers a full slate of community based dragon boat programs for all ages and abilities. FGPC has programs that will suit the needs of experienced or beginner paddlers. Team training typically runs from January to September.
FGPC also offers programs for paddlers without teams – including new paddlers. These Club Teams begin training in April, though spaces fill up quickly.
website: Fairway Gorge Paddling Club
Vancouver Island Paddling (VI Paddling)
VI Paddling is a non-profit, member-driven paddling club dedicated to providing coaching, guidance, and support to nurture and develop paddlers at all levels of recreational and competitive paddle sports on Vancouver Island.
VI Paddling is currently focused on delivering high quality dragon boat programs for athletes of all ages, skills, and abilities, from beginners to high performance. VI Paddling also hosts and coaches recreational team programs, many of which are actively recruiting new team members.
website: Vancouver Island Paddling
Paddle Canada sets national standards for instruction and certification for recreational paddlingin Canada including canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard (SUP). Every year, nearly 2200 Paddle Canada certified instructors deliver sanctioned courses to more than 10,000 paddlers across Canada. Paddle Canada certifications are nationally accredited and internationally recognized.
website: Paddle Canada
Recreational Canoeing Association of BC
The Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia was established in 1986 with a mandate to promote canoeing and safety in our province. They offer many services to canoeists and canoeing instructors in BC:
Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC
The SKGABC mission is to establish, promote and maintain high standards of sea kayaking safety, conduct, and representation through an alliance of professionals. Since 1994 over 1000 people have been involved with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC. There are currently over 600 active members in the SKGABC, including guides and owner/operators. The SKGABC is proud to have 300 certified guides as members. Guides are certified to four different levels.
Pacific Paddling Symposium
The Pacific Paddling Symposium is a sea kayaking event that happens each year at the beautiful seaside campus of the Lester B. Pearson United World College, set on the wooded shores of the Pacific Ocean. Pearson College is located at the southern-most tip of Vancouver Island, 29 km west of Victoria.
World class kayak coaches from all over the world are brought in for this event, which they call a ‘kayak kamp’ for adults, where everyone has the opportunity to connect, learn and play! The location provides easy access to diverse paddling environments from the protected waters of Pedder Bay to the challenging tidal currents of Race Passage.
The Symposium is intended for experienced kayaker’s who have already gone though some basic strokes and rescues training. A Paddle Canada Level Introduction to Kayaking Skills or equivalent experience is recommended. The variety of locations and sessions will provide all paddlers an opportunity to challenge themselves and have some fun.
If you would like to participate in the symposium, which usually is scheduled for sometime in May each year, click the website link below! You will have to be quick and sign up early, the available spaces for this very popular event fill up fast!
website: Pacific Paddling Symposium