Kayak Classes


Exkursion offers the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania area's most complete kayaking school.  Our professional instructors are ACA certified.  What does this mean?  It means they have been trained to exacting standards to provide you with the highest quality, safest kayak instruction possible.  Our classes are designed to get total beginners paddling safely and easily, intermediate kayakers paddling more confidently, and advanced kayakers out into the most challenging conditions.  And they are fun too! 


Our kayaking classes are all about touring or sea kayaking. What's the difference? Not much! Touring and sea kayaking are all about an adventurous paddling experience. Usually when you're inland from the ocean or great lakes people call it touring and when you're somewhere coastal it is called sea kayaking. True sea kayaks tend to be longer, narrower, more responsive, and higher performance craft than touring kayaks.

What kinds of kayaks are used in the class?

There are several different types of kayaks appropriate for our classes: recreational, touring, and sea kayaks. We offer for rent mainly touring kayaks for their combination of safety, performance, and stability for ease of learning.   


Recreational – Suitable for Level I & II


Touring – Perfect for Level I, II, Rescues, suitable for Rolling & Coastal Skills


Sea Kayaks – Perfect for all Classes


Level I Kayak Touring

Learn the finer points of fundamental kayaking strokes and equipment!  Our Level 1 course is designed to give a strong foundation of skills to those who have never been in a kayak before, as well as those who have experience but have never had formal training.

After an informative discussion of kayak and paddle design, we'll cover methods for entry and exit of the kayak, proper paddle grip, high and low angle forward stroke, reverse stroke, sweep strokes, pivots, and quick stops.  Then the group will head out for a short tour of the area at an easy pace.  You are guaranteed to learn a lot and enjoy some beautiful scenery as well.

We conduct classes in two locations:

Keystone State Park- A small, quiet lake about 30 minutes east of Monroeville near New Alexandria 

Saturday 5/24/1410AM
Saturday 6/07/1410AM
Saturday 7/19/1410AM
Sunday 8/03/1410AM


 Click HERE to register for Level I classes at Keystone State Park.


Sharpsburg Riverfront Park- A vibrant urban park on the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh 

Saturday 5/31/1410 AM   
Saturday 6/14/1410 AM
Sunday 7/20/143 PM
Saturday 8/16/1410 AM


Click HERE to register for Level I classes at Sharpsburg Riverfront Park.


LENGTH: 3 hours

COST: $50 if we provide equipment / $35 if you have your own equipment

touring and recreational kayaks are welcome



Level II Kayak Touring

Intermediate skills for touring and sea kayaking

 Suggested Prerequisite: Level I

Don't get stuck as a beginner!  In addition to covering intermediate strokes such as draws, participants learn how to safely exit their kayak after a capsize (wet exit) as well as edging (tilting the kayak) and bracing (support stroke) to prevent capsizes.  This is the perfect class for those who have taken Level I or who've been kayaking for a while and want to advance their skills to allow them to paddle safely and confidently in more challenging conditions. 

Saturday 6/07/143 PM
Saturday 7/19/143 PM
Sunday 8/03/143 PM


Click HERE to register for Level II classes.


LOCATION: Keystone State Park

LENGTH: 3 hours

COST: $60 if we provide equipment / $45 if you have your own equipment

touring kayaks recommended 


Rescues/Capsize Recoveries

Essential safety skills for any paddling where you are farther from shore than you want to swim back

Suggested Prerequisite:  Level I

What happens if you flip over? Will you know what to do when the unexpected happens? This class covers safe wet exits, swim landings, and several methods of assisted and unassisted re-entry of the kayak. After Level I this is the most important class any kayaker can take.

After a discussion of rescue scenarios and the necessity of knowing different ways to re-enter the kayak, the class will get comfortable with capsizing, wet exits and swim landings close to shore. Next we'll cover a few of the most essential unassited rescues including the cowboy and paddle float rescues. Assited rescues will then be introduced including the side by side, T-rescue, and bow rescue. By the end of the class all students will have a firm grasp of how to deal with getting themselves and others back into their kayaks safely and quickly.

Saturday 6/21/1410 AM
Saturday 7/26/1410 AM
Saturday 8/23/1410 AM


Click HERE to register for Rescues/Capsize classes.


LOCATION:  Keystone State Park

LENGTH: 3 Hours

COST:  $60 if we provide equipment

             $45 if you have your own equipment

kayak with bulkheads/floatbags required


Rolling Skills Workshop

The ultimate self-rescue

Suggested Prerequisite: Level II  

We have developed an effective step by step method of learning the eskimo roll that has brought success to many of our students. Unlike other “roll sessions” where many paddlers struggle for direction and coaching, we give one-on-one feedback as you progress through stages of support and we tailor our teaching to fit each paddler’s strengths and weaknesses. Learning to roll with us is a fun process, the ultimate confidence builder, and it makes you a safer kayaker!

Saturday 6/21/143PM
Saturday 7/26/143PM
Saturday 8/23/143PM


Click HERE to register for Rolling Skills classes.


LOCATION:  Keystone State Park

LENGTH: 3 Hours

COST:  $60 if we provide equipment

             $45 if you have your own equipment

            kayak with thigh braces & bulkheads required


Coastal Kayak Skills

Sea kayaking on the great lakes

Prerequisites:  Level II and Rescues

Looking to take on the challenges of paddling on the ocean and the great lakes? Lake Erie, only a couple hours away from Pittsburgh, offers a paddling environment unique not only for Pennsylvania but the world! This course gets you into coastal conditions: launching and landing in surf, paddling in wind and waves, towing, communication, and navigation for the sea kayaker. Being able to stay in control in wind and waves is a big focus of this class. The skills to do so come with practice on flat water first but can only be refined with time spent in bigger conditions

The class will meet at a location to be determined based on the conditions of the day, usually Beach number 10. We'll start with a clinic on launching and landing our kayaks safely in small surf, getting comfortable with how the kayaks respond to the forces of the waves. Before venturing out we'll take a break for lunch and talk about plotting a course on a map and navigation with map and compass. The rest of the class is spent practicing skills as we paddle along the out and back course we've plotted.  Skills for handling headwinds, following seas, quartering seas, and beam seas will be presented along with towing concepts for a variety of real world situations. Communication by radio and by improvised signals will be necessary as we paddle our route near the busy port of Erie. We'll have opportunities for practicing advancd strokes and resues as well as some surfing if the conditions allow!


Click HERE to register for the Coastal Skills class.


DATE: Saturday, 9/6/2014

LOCATION:  Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA. Beach 10.

LENGTH: 6 Hours, 11am-5pm

COST:  $75 if we provide equipment

            $60 if you have your own equipment

            -touring/sea kayaks required

            -must have valid PA launch permit


Note: Cancellation policy for all classes is 1 week's notice for a full refund. After that time we can reschedule you to the next available class, but no refunds will be offered. Thank You!