10000 Gandy Blvd. North, Saint Petersburg, FL 33702 * (727) 570-4844 * Email us at TheShop@SweetwaterKayaks.com

Symposium Course Descriptions

Please refer to the Symposium Class Schedule for a listing of which classes will be offered each day of the symposium.




Core Principals 

The phrase “Core Principles” has been touted around by sea kayakers for years, but very few paddlers spend much time considering them in technique, nor are they coached actively by many Instructors. This course is designed to change that, and will feature on-water learning to develop skills in a flat water context, with open water applications. This program is appropriate for newer paddlers as well as instructors and coaches looking for continuing education.

Canoe #1

Nigel Foster takes you on the water with a single blade paddle to help develop boat control, paddle sensitivity and balance. These skills all transfer back to your sea kayak and will increase your boat control skills.

Canoe #2 

On this Symposium favorite course you will learn how to paddle in wind & current efficiently. Nigel’s fun teaching style and high level of individual attention make this a very eye opening course for first timers & seasoned paddlers alike.

Stroke Blending

So you’ve learned a bunch of strokes but your not really sure when or why your using them. This course will help refine the strokes you already know and teach you how to combine them for maximum efficiency in different conditions.

Current for Beginners

Learn to read the water, understand where to position yourself and what spots to avoid being in. Once you understand these basics you’ll be able to start using the current to your advantage.

Current for Intermediates

Enhance you comfort in moving water and have fun learning to use its power to improve your position. Reading water and playing in current will help improve your rough water and surf skills.

Finesse Paddling

We will focus on subtle body position & movement versus ‘muscling it’ to reach our desired effect… paddling farther using less energy and maneuvering with the environment instead of fighting it.

Navigation/Classroom session

Can you locate your position on the chart? Can you figure out how to get where you want to go? How long it might take you to paddle there? We’ll cover the basics of chart reading, compass use, and trip planning.

Practical Navigation/On water

Its time to take what we’ve learned in the classroom and put it to the test with practical navigation exercises in our kayaks. Learn to recognize features on a nautical chart and cross-reference them with what you see on the water. A key stepping stone for good seamanship, this class is a must for any sea kayaker.

Open Water Fun with Nigel Foster

Nigel’s contributions to kayaking are extensive from his boat designs, books, expeditions, instructional DVD’s, to his continued eagerness to share his knowledge in fun & engaging classes. This class is a symposium favorite will help you take boat control to a new level! Learn to maneuver your kayak with precision and grace while you increase efficiency in a dynamic open water environment.

Intro to Greenland Paddling

Wondering if Greenland paddling is for you but not sure how to get started? Why not try our Intro to Greenland paddling class. We’ll cover all the basics from equipment to basic paddling skills. Now is the time to discover traditional kayaking skills that have been used for 12,000 years.

Edging & Directional Control

On this class we will explore the skills required to help you become one with your boat. Edging allows us to use the shape of the hull to the maneuver our boat more efficiently with less effort. Good posture, body position and understanding of your environment are all important components of boat control.

Long Boat Surfing


As sea kayakers, it is almost guaranteed that at one time or another we will find ourselves upside down in our boats, or that someone else needs a hand getting back in their kayak. In this class we will practice different techniques to perform self and assisted rescues safely and efficiently in different scenarios.

Greenland Rolling

Learn to roll using the Greenland paddle or add new rolling styles to your existing roll. There are over 30 different Greenland rolls to master. Here is your chance to broaden your rolling repituare.

Greenland Strokes

We will focus on learning individual strokes with the Greenland paddle. Turning, efficiency, play and more.

Greenland Skills 

Put your strokes to use in a practical environment. Blending strokes and learning when to use which stroke for maximum efficiency & maneuverability.

Greenland Open Water Skills 

Commit to your Greenland paddling skills as you journey out to Egmont Key. Forward stroke, bracing on the move, using wind & waves to your advantage in an open water environment will take your skills to the next level.


Incident Management 

Any group or individual is only as strong as their weakest link. Do you know yours? Are you fully prepared for that first incident? Have you pressure tested your group skills and procedures in a variety of different environments or situations?
This course help you to develop a practical and theoretical understanding of how to lead a group through a crisis situation at sea.


The idea of journeying is to travel from place to place taking the time to explore and discover. This class is designed to prepare you for paddling coastlines and open water venues. During our journey to Egmont Key we will cover topics from risk assessment, navigation and multi day trip skills.

Open Water Skills

This course is all about unlocking new venues and expanding your skill set. Paddling away from protected waters presents a number of challenges for any paddler, and with a little work on paddling technique and boat control, getting out on the coastline can be a blast. Learn to read sea state, maneuver in open water environments and handle the waves and wind. It’s all about challenging your fundamentals in a more dynamic environment.

Egmont Key Trip

Now that you’ve learned the basics, it’s time to get out and explore the sea. We’ll start with a trip planning session on the beach to plot a course to Egmont Key. Along the way we’ll have oppurtunites for skills practice & play. Egmont Key is a wildlife refuge with a rich natural and cultural history. On Island, we’ll have the chance to explore the lighthouse, ruins of Fort Dade, or just relax and watch the wildlife.


2 Star Assessment – 1 day

The British Canoeing 2-Star Assessment will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of basic kayaking & canoeing skills. Emphasis will be placed on achieving the desired movement of your paddle craft using good technique & understanding of your environment. Please see British Canoeing Guidance notes if you have questions regarding 2-Star skill guidelines.

3 Star Training– 2 days

A British Canoeing 3-Star Sea Paddler is able to function as a member of a led group at sea. Therefore they need to understand the environment, be able to maneuver efficiently and effectively, tow other paddle craft, and conduct rescues in moderate sea conditions. In addition, they must be able to practically navigate and assist with trip planning. 3-Star Training is designed for anyone interested in pursuing 3-Star Assessment or who are interested in increasing their confidence and competency paddling in moderate coastal conditions.

3 Star Assessment – 1 day

The British Canoeing 3-Star assessment will allow students to demonstrate a thorough understanding of safety, strokes, and rescue techniques. A 3-star paddler will effectively move the kayak in all directions and demonstrate confident maneuvering strokes, recovery strokes, bracing, edging, and rescues. Successful performance at the 3-Star level indicates that a candidate can consider themselves an intermediate paddler rather than a beginner.

Please see British Canoeing Guidance notes if you have questions regarding 3-Star skill guidelines.

Foundation Safety & Rescue Training – 1 day

The FSRT is a broad introduction to safety and rescue and is appropriate for new paddlers, trip leaders, club paddlers or those interested in beginning the British Canoeing Coaching track. During FRST, students will practice using a variety of paddle sport rescue tools and experiment with a range of paddle craft in a hands-on, scenario-based learning environment.

UKCC Level 1 Paddlesport Coach – 4 days

Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport is the first step on the paddlesport coaching pathway, and the entry point for most paddlesport coaches. This qualification develops the foundation coaching skills that underpin coaching practice. Specifically, it introduces the fundamentals of safe, ethical and effective paddlesport coaching and is available as a bank-based or a boat-based qualification. The qualification is not discipline specific and is suitable for coaches who work with paddlers from any of the competitive and recreational paddlesport disciplines. The course prepares coaches, for running taster sessions, coaching introductory core skills, coaching paddlers in a variety of craft and coaching in sheltered and very sheltered water conditions, normally with the support of a more qualified coach.This course includes both training and assessment over 4 days.

Pre requisites: Completed both 2 star award & FSRT (Foundation Safety and Rescue Training). Please see British Canoeing Guidance notes if you have questions regarding coaching guidelines.

UKCC Level 2 Paddlesport Coach – 4 days

Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport introduces the skills and coaching behaviors required for developing performance through progressive coaching. Level 2 coaches are trained and assessed to work independently in the planning, delivery and review of progressive and developmental sessions for their paddlers. The qualification is suitable for coaches wishing to work with paddlers from any paddlesport discipline, and is available as either a bank-based or a boat-based award.

Pre requisites: Completed UKCC Level 1, 3 Star award and FSRT (Foundation Safety and Rescue Training). Please see British Canoeing Guidance notes if you have questions regarding coaching guidelines.

British Canoeing SUP Module – 1 day

This course is designed to assist coaches who want to gain more knowledge about the specialist discipline of Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). The course introduces and explains the basic techniques and coaching strategies for coaching SUP. The course is a mix of theory and practical activity to ensure everyone has time to try things out. With syllabi written to focus on coaches who are likely to be supporting beginners, the module seeks to support the continuing process of good coaching practice on the riverbank.

Pre requisites: Completed UKCC Level 1

Please see British Canoeing Guidance notes if you have questions regarding coaching guidelines.


ACA L1 & 2 SUP Skills Training – Half day

The Essentials of Stand Up Paddleboarding course is designed to develop and refine the skills needed to paddle effectively in conditions where wind, waves and current are present. This course is also designed to increase knowledge of SUP equipment. Great skills refresher for Instructors Certification Workshop.

ACA L1 & L2 SUP Instructor Certification Workshop– 3 days

This intensive course is for experienced SUP paddlers seeking to acquire the training and certification needed to teach students, classes, & guide tours. Over 3 days we will develop & assess technical skills, knowledge, & teaching abilities. We will spend our time adjacent to and on the waters surrounding the West side of Tampa Bay and Weedon Island.

ACA L1 & L2 Kayak Instructor Certification Workshop – 4 days

Are you interested in becoming an ACA Coastal Kayaking Instructor? This Instructor Certification Workshop is designed to develop coastal kayak instructors and certify them at the appropriate level. Instructor criteria can be found at the ACA website. This course combines the Instructor Development Workshop as well and the Certification Exam into a single three day course. The IT will spend time working with the instructor candidates on personal paddling skills, group management and teaching. Additionally, the IT will also assess the candidates with the appropriate skills criteria, and issue a continuance, or pass the candidate.Participation does not guarantee certification.

ACA L3 Kayak Skills Assessment – Full day

Whether you are preparing for an Instructor Development Workshop, or just looking for a check up of current skills, the American Canoe Association Level 3 Coastal Kayak Skills assessment provides an opportunity for paddlers to receive outside verification of paddling proficiency. ACA Assessment courses have been developed as a tool to allow paddlers a clear progression of skill development. Courses provide progression in skills and paddling venues associated with specific disciplines and paddle craft. Please follow link to ACA Level 3 skills.

ACA Level 3 Kayak Instructor Development Workshop – 4 days

The IDW helps students to become acquainted with the ACA model of effective instruction, paddling and leadership necessary in kayaking. The teaching techniques, paddling skills, technical knowledge, rescue and safety competencies, required for successful completion of the Instructor Certification Exam will be reviewed and modeled during this course.

Prerequiste for IDW – Participants are required to have passed a Level 3 ACA Skills Assessment.