Beginner Instruction for Sea Kayakers


Let Calleva help you achieve your paddling goals! Do you want to learn the skills necessary to take your sea kayak into the ocean, learn how to maneuver your recreational kayak on the lake, or safely guide your fishing kayak on the river?  Our beginner sea kayaking classes are structured into four progressive lessons, giving you all the skills you need to feel safe, confident, and competent on the water. We recommend that you take classes in order. Boat and equipment are provided. Just show up; prepared to meet new people and to have fun learning new skills!

  • SK1: Basic Strokes– equipment and strokes, forward, backward and turning (4 hours)
  • SK2: Safety and Rescue– wet exiting, bracing, bow rescue, t-rescue, self-rescue and towing.  Required gear: bilge pump, tow rope, paddle float, stirrup (optional: knife and nose plugs) See Gear Page(4 hours)
  • SK3: Advanced Strokes– edging, rudders and advanced turning strokes (4 hours)
  • RollingIntroduction to rolling and enhancing your technique (2 hours)
  • Beginner Trip Mayo Beach – put what you’ve learned in SK 1-3 to use on the Chesapeake Bay add an introduction to group management and navigation and you will be ready to start your next sea kayak adventure. (4 hours)

Classes are generally held at Madeira School in McLean, VA or Riley’s Lock in Poolesville, MD on Saturday or Sunday.

Winter Pool Rolling 2018-19 Dates Posted– Learn to roll when it’s cold in an indoor pool! Hone your skills while trying out a whitewater kayak! Each class is available to you one at a time or in a package of three.

Open Practice Free to students who are signed up for a package of at least three lessons of any sort – at Riley’s Lock on Wednesday evenings. We supply the sea kayaks. You can get an evening of practice and hang out with paddling friends.

Intermediate Classes

Intermediate students must roll or self-rescue, know advanced strokes, and have their own equipment.

Intermediate: Boat Handling in Current– peel outs, eddy turns, ferries, advanced strokes in current(4 hours)

Intermediate Trips:

  • Thomas Point Light House– Launch your sea kayak from Mayo Beach for a trip to Thomas Point Light House. (4 hours) July 14, 2019 Register Today
  • Upper Potomac Overnight– Calleva will provide tents, dinner and breakfast for an overnight trip on scenic section of the upper Potomac River (2 days) Aug 10, 2019 Register Today
  • Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge– We launch from Kent Island for a trip to the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge and the mouth of the Chester River (5 hours) Sept 22, 2019 Register Today

Advanced Trips


  • Skills Assessment – Take the skills learned in the sea kayaking classes to earn an American Canoe Association (ACA) skills assessment Level 1 – Level 4.
  • Trip Leader Assessment – get ACA certified with the safety and skills required to lead a group on the water.

Private Lessons

Looking for something more personalized? Need to prepare for kayaking while on a cruise?  Let our instructors help design the perfect program for you, or your group that meets your specific needs.