Recreational training pathway for Sea Kayak

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On this page, you will find a suggested training pathway for everyday people who are interested in learning to sea kayaking in New Zealand.

Recreational Sea Kayaking Training Pathway

Sea Kayaking in New Zealand is such a great adventure. Exploring natural coastlines and beautiful beaches is a great way to spend memorable moments with family and friends. you can find coastline to suit every level of experience and below we are offering our opinion on how to identify where your technical sea kayaking skills and knowledge are and how to progress – if that’s what you want to do.


The Beginner

Congratulations, you’ve decided to get on the water as a kayaker and try a new type of adventure. This is an exciting time where you get to


The beginner sea kayaker should look to stay with “closed” coast until you have built up sufficient experience and skill with your vessel to start pushing a bit further out.

Closed Coast is a term used in sea kayaking that means an area of coastline that is protected or sheltered by more coastline around it,  such as bays and harbours. Akaroa Harbour, Lyttelton harbour Abel Tasman and areas inside the Marlborough sounds can be great areas to explore as a beginner. Lakes are also a great place to practice skills and explore for day trips.



Skills and knowledge you should have for day trips and/or overnight trips:

Boat control 

  • Touring paddle, power forward stroke, reverse stroke, sweep strokes, brace strokes edging.


  • Understanding the shape of your boat and how that will affect the control, fitting out your boat (carrying all the necessary gear & where/how to store it), maintenance, transporting and storing equipment.


  • Paddle float rescue, scramble self-rescue, supporting a rescue (helping a friend get back in), emergency communications and equipment.


  • Having a basic understanding of charts and maps for determining your trip plan and camp locations.




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