Five Essential Skills You’ll Learn on the Lake Superior Guides’ Course

The Lake Superior Guides’ Course is the comprehensive weeklong sea kayak skills and outdoor leadership training program that all Naturally Superior Adventures guides take. The course draws on the camping and leadership elements from Paddle Canada Level 2 and Level 3 skills courses and adds a healthy dose of tips and tricks that are essential for safe, comfortable and fun multiday sea kayak touring on wilderness coastlines. The course consists of Paddle Canada Level 1 where you’ll learn fundamental sea kayak paddle strokes and rescues; trip and menu planning workshops where we discuss gear and food; and a four-day sea kayak trip along the wild Lake Superior Highlands Coast, where participants have a chance to practice paddling, camping and leadership skills.

Don’t let the course title fool you—this offering isn’t restricted to aspiring guides. It’s a perfect course for those looking to improve their sea kayak touring and camping skills to prepare for their own adventures. Here are five skills you’ll learn, practice and refine on the Lake Superior Guides’ Course.

1.)   Assisted rescues: In the event of a capsize, the T-rescue is the go-to way to efficiently get a swimmer back into their boat. You’ll have plenty of time to practice the standard T-rescue as well as different variations in both sheltered and exposed water conditions.

2.)   Menu planning: Veteran canoe-trippers and backpackers are often surprised by the tasty meals sea kayakers can whip up. That’s because sea kayaks have plenty of space for fresh produce, cheese and meat, all of which enjoy extended “hatch lives” due to contact with Lake Superior’s cool waters. Say goodbye to salty, bland and expensive freeze dried foods!

3.)   Tarpology: That’s guides’-speak for the art of pitching a perfect tarp for shelter from rain or sun at a wilderness campsite. Course instructors will offer hard-earned insights on ridgelines, centre poles, and various knots before handing over the responsibility of planning and pitching tarp cities to course participants.

4.)   Navigation and Weather: We practice navigation and weather-reading the old-fashioned, non-battery powered way. You’ll learn how to read topographical maps and nautical charts and practice planning a course with compass bearings. You’ll also receive basic meteorological training to learn to interpret the telltale signs of various weather systems.

5.) Incident management: Course instructors dig into their collective banks of “real-life scenarios” to challenge participants with the sorts of incidents they can expect to encounter on sea kayak trips—things like seasickness, multiple capsizes and belligerent trip mates. It’s a chance to practice dealing with adversity in a controlled setting and to reflect on your response with peer and instructor feedback.