All classes are held at Lake Ahquabi State Park unless otherwise noted. 

Kayaking Classes

Wet Suit and Dry Suit Rentals available for cold weather classes!
Learn more here!

Kayaking Fundamentals I 'The Basics'

Prerequisite: None

$80.25 (FREE! to CanoeSport Kayak Buyers)

This is the best course to take if you want to develop a solid foundation for all your future kayaking ventures. Our certified instructors focus on introducing students to basic paddling concepts and safe paddling practices. We teach students how to perform a proper wet exit to avoid injury and prepare themselves for developing next step skills. Time is spent teaching everyone how to land and launch a kayak to avoid wet starts and finishes. In addition we introduce fundamental strokes to improve paddling efficiency and directional control with an emphasis on proper technique and body position.

ALL CLASSES RUN 8:30-3:00 

Register here!

- Sunday April 26

- Saturday May 9

- Sunday May 31

- Sunday June 14

- Saturday July 4 - cancelled

- Sunday July 5

- Sunday July 19

- Saturday August 1 - cancelled

- Sunday, August 23

- Sunday September 20

Kayaking Fundamentals II 'Edging and Boat Control'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Fundamentals I


Build on what was learned in Kayaking Fundamentals I by continuing to develop the skills needed for safe kayaking on calm, smaller bodies of flatwater. Our instructor’s will introduce you to sprayskirts and teach you how to wet exit when it is being used. You’ll be introduced to edging, allowing you to turn longer, efficient kayaks more quickly.  Recovery skills such as the high brace and low brace will be introduced to improve confidence and balance.  We’ll also improve your stroke technique to help you more effectively control your kayak.


Register here!

- Saturday May 23

- Sunday June 21

- Sunday July 12

- Sunday September 6

Kayaking Fundamentals III 'Safety and Rescues'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Fundamentals I


Now that you have improved balance, developed some solid paddling habits, and have a basic  understanding of how to apply bracing skills, it’s time to focus on rescues and environmental awareness. These are both important to master if you plan to paddle on large bodies of water such as Lake Red Rock, Rathbun, Saylorville or anywhere you expect to paddle more than a quarter mile away from the shore. Learn how to identify hazards, reduce risks, and rescue yourself or others if things go wrong. Discover the T-Rescue and the solo paddle float rescue. Understand how to apply these techniques to unique situations and difficult conditions. In addition, you’ll be introduced to a few new ways of thinking about your paddling. 


Register here!

- Saturday, June 6

- Sunday July 5

- Sunday, August 2

- Sunday September 27 - cancelled

Kayak Fundamentals Refresher

Prerequisite: Any Kayaking Fundamentals

FREE - to students who have complted Kayaking Fundamentals I, II, or III or Intermediate I, II, or III

FREE to any CSO Kayaking Fundamentals Instruction Student!! (Registration is required please) This course is customized to the students taking it on a particular day. We’ll review a variety of fundamental skills and present everyone with a variety of challenges allowing the instructor to assess your skills. Afterwards, the class will be customized to focus on those skills needing attention. All participants should have previously completed Kayaking Fundamentals I, II, and III or something equivalent to ACA Level 2 skills training.

- Sunday May 17 8:30-3p

**Does not include boat and gear. Rental fee of $26.50 for boat, lifejacket, paddle, and safety gear. 

River Kayaking Fundamentals I

Prerequisite: Kayaking Fundamentals I


This class will meet at Puckerbrush Access 1 mile north of the Van Meter Exit off I 80.

Learn how to apply the flatwater skills you’ve learned during Fundamentals I to moving water. As you enjoy a casual trip down the Raccoon River, we’ll show you how to identify the faster current and deeper water on the river. You’ll also be introduced to upriver and downriver V’s, eddies, and strainers so you can avoid hazards as you paddle. We’ll help you develop a better understanding of the current and how to apply well-timed strokes to allow the river to move you effortlessly and safely.  

Classes will run 8:30-5:00

Register here!

- Saturday June 27 – Kayaking Specific

- Saturday July 25 – Cancelled 

- Sunday August 2 - cancelled

- Sunday August 9

Basic Cold Water Safety

Prerequisite: Kayaking Fundamentals I-III


This is a hands-on course designed to expose students to a cold-water environment under controlled circumstances. Participants will be provided with the opportunity to practice and perform a variety of skills and drills to experience the effects of cold water. Learn about cold-water shock and its’ dangers. Understand the loss of meaningful movement and how cold water diminishes the ability to swim and perform rescues. Learn how to dress for submersion, recognize hypothermia in yourself and others, and how to treat it. The course will alternate between time on/in the water and classroom time by heaters drinking hot cocoa or coffee in the concession building at Lake Ahquabi.

ALL CLASSES RUN 8:30-3:00 

Register here!

- Saturday April 11 8:30-3pm

Kayak Rolling Clinics

Prerequisite: Preferable some experience with using a sea kayak


Kayak rolling is one of the most sought after, but probably the least understood kayaking skill. This course will help students understand why rolling is less important than staying right side up in the first place. We’ll focus on balance, hip snap, and bracing technique. Participants will attempt a variety of rolls with the aid of the instructor. Clinics will be held near the beach in a lake environment. 

We have cancelled all rolling clinics due to Covid-19. We look forward to resuming them next summer!

Kayaking Intermediate I 'Introduction to Rolling and Technical Strokes'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Fundamentals I-III


Take your kayaking to the next level by developing the confidence and skills to begin handling rougher, open water conditions. Join our experienced instructors as we work to improve your edging for improved boat control and introduce some new drills to increase balance. We’ll practice both the high and low brace to make them more instinctual and show how they help you transition into the ability to perform a roll. Also improve your technical strokes like the bow rudder, hanging draw, and low brace turn. 

Classes will run 8:30-3:00

Register here!

- Sunday May 31 - cancelled

- Saturday July 18

Kayaking Intermediate II 'Introduction to Rough Water, Navigation, and Towing'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Intermediate I


In this course you’ll practice your strokes and edging skills in whatever rough water conditions we are able to find. You’ll have opportunities to further develop your bracing skills and possibly continue working on your kayak roll.  We’ll practice group safety skills relating to open water. We’ll also learn about wind and waves, their effects on paddlers, and techniques for handling them. We’ll also discuss hazard identification, practice navigational skills, and introduce students to towing and towing equipment. 

Classes will run 8:30-5:00

Register here!

- Saturday, October 10

Kayaking Intermediate III 'Rough Water Rescues and Safety'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Intermediate II


This is the final skills course in the ACA Level 3 progression. Participants will meet at a location to be determined on Lake Red Rock. Throughout the day we’ll practice basic rescues and teach a variety of additional rescues including the bow rescue, scoop, Hand of God, and rafted T. Through scenarios we’ll spend time testing group safety skills and judgment. Included in the day will be rolling practice, navigational challenges, towing, and a few surprises just to keep things interesting.

Classes will run 8:30-5:00

Register here!

- Sunday October 11

Kayaking Advanced I 'Introduction to Open Water and Surf'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Intermediate III


This class is held on Tybee Island, GA as part of our Tybee Island Skills Adventure Trip.

Begin developing the skills and confidence required to handle open water environments where exposure to wind, waves, and surf, can create a variety of challenges. Our certified instructors will introduce you to the challenges of landing and launching in moderate surf. We’ll also spend time improving your balance in swells and begin developing improved bracing techniques in breaking surf. You’ll head out into open water, up to a mile off shore, to practice t-rescues, bow rescues, scrambles, and even a few rolls in breaking waves and swells. Students will also learn to set a course by compass, use tidal charts, and read nautical charts.

Kayaking Advanced II 'Surf Zones and Resuces

Prerequisite: Kayaking Advanced I


This class is held on Tybee Island, GA as part of our Tybee Island Skills Adventure Trip.

Move into the surf zone to improve a variety of rough water skills. Students will learn about surf zone dynamics, surf zone hazards, and etiquette while surfing. We’ll learn how to catch a wave efficiently and how to control your kayak once you’re on it. Time will be spent improving your balance and bracing skills to avoid getting rolled and opportunities will be presented to practice swimming and performing rescues in breaking surf. 

Kayaking Advanced III 'Tidal Currents'

Prerequisite: Kayaking Advanced II


This class is held on Tybee Island, GA as part of our Tybee Island Skills Adventure Trip.

Experience the conditions and challenges presented by tidal currents. This course focuses on learning to read tidal currents and developing techniques for handling them. Discover eddies and learn how to catch them and peel out from them in a sea kayak. Learn how to ferry across the tidal currents and surf in tidal rips. Experience the challenge of breaking waves and swells combined with an incoming or outgoing tide. We’ll practice a variety of rescues, rolls, and other skills during our exposure to this environment.

American Canoe Association Level 1-4 Skills Assessment

Prerequisite - There is no official prerequisite however we recommend going through Kayaking Fundamentals I-III which will prepare you for the necessary skills and rescues required for a Level 2 Assessment. Intermediate I-III will prepare you for a Level 3 Skills Assessment.

$107.00 (+ACA Membership)

If you’re ready for a challenge and want to see where your skills truly are as an experienced paddler, we welcome you to take this assessment. This is not an instructional course! It’s a test of skill. We will briefly review skills that will be assessed, show you the test routine, and then everyone will take the skills test. It will be a test of your ability to handle your kayak and exhibit skills in breaking surf, swell, and tidal currents. The assessment is all on water with a brief on-shore discussion about safety, gear, and navigation. Participants will receive a Level 1, 2, or 3, ACA Skills Assessment.

To learn more about the skills required for a certain level should visit

  • Level 1-3 Kayak Skills Assessment - Monday November 16 (in conjunction with our Tybee Skills Adventure Trip)

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© 2020 by CanoeSport America Inc. *Indianola, Iowa *  Toll-Free: 1-800-257-6080

Hours: Sunday-Monday - Closed

Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday - 10am-5pm

Thursday - 10am-8pm

Store Stats​​

28 Years in Business

Original Owner!

*  Kayaks, Canoes, SUPS Sold = 5643

*  Hours of Instruction = 3600+

*  Days of Guided Trips = 325+