Introduction to Sea Kayaking for Whitewater Paddlers

Date and Time

Saturday, August 3, 2024


Portsmouth, NH,
New Hampshire, Seacoast,


Registration is required for this activity.


If you are already a whitewater paddler, you have a head start in sea kayaking. The sea is always available, even when the rivers are not flowing, and you can choose the intensity of your adventure, from the equivalent of class II- to Class IV+ whitewater. This introduction to sea kayaking assumes you have Class II whitewater skills, including forward and reverse strokes, basic bracing, and wet exits. You do not need a reliable roll. Required equipment: If you own a sea kayak, do bring it. We will attempt to provide sea kayaks for all participants who need one. A sea kayak must be at least 14.5 ft with bulkheads and full deck lines (needed for flotation and rescues). Dress for immersion in water temperatures around 60° Neoprene will suffice. We are going to practice rescues, so you are going to spend time in the water. Bring your own PFD, spray skirt with a large deck, neoprene booties or snag-free water shoes, helmet, and your whitewater paddle. Also bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses with strap, lunch, and drybag for anything you want to keep dry, and perhaps a jacket to throw over your gear. The day will begin with on-land training, then loading and fitting your sea kayaks. We will launch in a protected area and break up into small groups to practice (1) Quick review of paddling posture, torso rotation, forward and reverse strokes, edging, and braces. (2) Boat handling and turning a sea kayak using edging and turning strokes. (3) Basic sea kayaking rescues: You will learn how to do an assisted re-entry to get back into your boat. You will also learn how to do a self rescue, in which you get back in your boat unassisted. (4) Paddling in wind and waves and the use of a skeg or rudder, which changes the behavior of the kayak in wind. After a break, we will formulate a trip plan, taking into consideration expected weather, sea state, tides and currents, boat traffic, available time, and the skill level of the group. If conditions permit, we will paddle into coastal waters. If conditions are too severe (high waves and wind) we will paddle into more protected waters. In either case, we will cover basic navigation skills on open water. The expected venue is in Portsmouth, NH. This area allows access to the both open ocean and the protected backwaters of the Piscataqua river. There may be a parking fee. Bad weather date is August 4.

AMC Trip Policy



Click map for driving directions
Bill Voss in the surf


Paddling - Sea Kayaking
Paddling - Whitewater

Offered By

New Hampshire




Adults (18+)


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The AMC was there for me when I wanted to learn whitewater paddling. Now I teach and lead trips to pay that forward.


Leader in Training

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