advanced Personal Skills

Become one with your craft and your environment


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Advanced Guide Syllabus-skills

Module: Advanced Skills

Training duration: 5 days

Approved training: BCU 5* training, EPP 5, ISKGA Advanced Skills

Syllabus Notes
  • Surf: Effective launching & landing, demonstrating aggressive & passive maneuvering, safe and effective body positioning, bracing and recoveries. Effective rolling on the left and right sides.
Candidates must demonstrate the personal ability to land and launch through surf of up to 2 meters (wave face) using timing and controlled surfing.   Candidates should be comfortable playing in up to 1.5 meters (wave face) of surf. They should also show an understanding of the surf environment and understand the effects of wind, associated hazards such as rips, wave types and effects of sea bed morphology and angle.
  • Rocky-coast paddling

     Candidates should be able to demonstrate a variety of personal

skills in the rocky environment, negotiating caves, gullies and other


Candidates should be able to negotiate rock gardens safely and effectively, making personal judgments to paddle between features taking into account, timing of wave action and effect of swells upon the features to be negotiated.To paddle effectively and safely through areas of clapotic wave action, close to cliffs, through gullies, into caves demonstrating effective and confident kayak handling skills.Demonstrate a wide variety of rescue and towing techniques to recover both themselves and other swimmers as well as being able to recover sea kayaks and other pieces of equipment from a variety of different situations. An ability to land a sea kayak, exiting the water near to a rocky feature and effect a difficult landing where swimming ashore may be the best and only option, should also be demonstrated.
  • Personal skills in strong tidal flow & Tidal paddling: Candidates should be able to negotiate tide races and overfalls demonstrating safe and effective boat control, effective edging and understanding of the effects of fast tidal flow when combined with other environmental features such as wind, swell and rock
The candidate will demonstrate that they are comfortable in strong tidal water and are able to surf against the flow and manoeuvre across and in a tidal race.  The candidate must be able to perform all personal skills in an environment which consists of more than 3kn of tidal flow and paddle competently and comfortably through tidal races and overfalls.  The candidates ability to handle a wide variety of rescues should be demonstrated.
  • Paddling in strong wind: Candidates should be able to show effective kayak control and other personal skills in winds of up to Force 6 (Beaufort)
Candidates should be able to manoeuvre their kayak in winds in up to Bft6 without the use of skeg or rudder. Show effective personal safety drills, rescue skills and towing techniques in these winds as well as being able to show an understanding of how to predict strong winds whilst on the water.
  • Open Ocean Paddling

Candidates must be comfortable paddling away from the shelter of land and in reduced visibility and have the fitness to tow for long distances into conditions.

Candidates should have an understanding of individual and group sea survival techniques.

Candidates should have an understanding of the dynamics of open water crossings, an understanding of ‘Limits of adequate reserve’ and have an effective emergency action plan protocol.
  • Personal Fitness

Candidates but be able to swim effectively in their kayaking equipment for a minimum distance of 100 meters and Complete a 20 nautical mile sea kayak journey in under 8 hours, complete a 3 mile trail run in under 40 minutes, tow a raft of two sea kayaks 2 nautical miles. Be comfortable swimming offensively & defensively in the surf environment and in a rocky ocean environment.

Candidates need to show an adequate level of fitness to be able to perform as a strong leader, this may include activities such as swimming, running and towing.
  • Self rescues

Cowboy re-entry or a re-entry & roll must be effective in the conditions in which the candidate is expected to lead a group in. The candidate must have the ability to paddle their kayak with a flooded cockpit.

A paddle float rescue is not regarded as an acceptable self rescue at this level of leadership. A leader’s response to an inadvertent capsize and swim needs to be conducted quickly and efficiently so that the candidate can quickly resume the role of leader once more. To that end, the candidate must prove that he is still able to control his kayak in a rough water environment whilst the cockpit is still flooded
  • Towing

The candidate must be competent in the use of contact tows, tow-lines and throw-lines and able to effectively deploy these systems and then tow in the conditions of the assessment

He or she must have a variety of tows to extract paddlers and kayaks from different situations and environments.

The towline can be regarded as the most important piece of rescue equipment that the group leader will have at his or her disposal and a thorough knowledge of its uses and experience is essential
  • Injured paddler rescues

Be able to deal with unconscious casualties and other injuries whilst out on the water.

The candidate must be able to physically perform these rescues in the conditions in which they are likely to occur. The candidate must have a rescue or strategy that is applicable to the nature and severity of the injury or situation.
  • Repairs to kayaks and equipment

Be able to recover and repair a variety of problems associated with a damaged kayak. Service and maintain essential expedition equipment, such as tent poles, cookers etc

These repairs will often fall into the category of a: ‘Repair to get you home’ and/or a ‘Repair of a more permanent nature’ to this end the leader must have a repair kit that is suitable for both their own and the groups kayaks and equipment
  • Swimmer rescues

Be able to use bow, stern and deck carries to move a swimmer in the water. They should also have the ability to swim a casualty ashore.

Being able to swim recover a swimmer in the surf zone and amongst rock garden is an essential skill for the sea kayak leader and these skills can be taught effectively on surf lifesaving events and co-steering sessions if required.