Changing Tides PaddleCraft offers kayak, canoe and SUP (standup paddle board) instruction and training in Connecticut and New York. We are proud that our Instructors are trained and Certified by the American Canoe Association - the benchmark for paddling Instruction in North America. Together our staff span a broad range of paddling disciplines from flat to moving water in coastal and river environments. We bring depth of experience and love of the outdoors to the art of building your paddling skills. We are pleased to offer you detailed descriptions for all of our standard classes. We invite you to challenge us to prepare a class custom to your needs.
About Our Classes:Changing Tides PaddleCraft Instruction has classes for students with all levels of experience. We appreciate the chance train the new paddler who has no preconcieved notions and is ready to develop good habits. We find rewards in bringing higher level training to the intermediate and advanced paddler. For students who desire feedback and validation of their accomplishments we offer ACA Skill Assessments. For the dedicated group paddlers we offer Trip Leader training and assessment or Instructor development and certification, both through the ACA. Our experience with kayak and ICF racing at National and International levels allows us to funcition in a coaching capacity to the competitive paddler. Repeat customers should check our our "Skills Circle" for savings.
For those curious about detail we provide a wide range of formal class descriptions. Use these to help you find a good place to start with your training. We encourage you to be candid about your own skill level, so that you are comfortable with the challenge level of the class. If self evaluation is elusive you are not alone. In such cases a short private session can be scheduled to evaluate your abilities, understand your goals and plan an appropriate course of instruction. As skills progress, many paddlers benefit from a formal ACA skills assessment. This is especially helpful for those thinking of pursuing Instructor Development and is also useful in a club setting to help with organization of successful group paddles.
On-line Classes: Over the years we have developed a series of short classes on contained topics which we make available free on-line. These are typically basic topics of interest to the beginning paddler. Most classes will lead the student to further useful resources and references. We invite you to select topics of interest among the links below. Feel free to respond to us via email if you have questions or comments on these lessons and let us know of any new topics you would like to see treated.
Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Classes: Stand Up Paddleboar or SUP is trending as one of the most popular new paddlesports though Paddleboards have and ancient history as well. We offer a range of classes from basic to advanced designed for those wanting to try Stand up paddling for the first time or for those who want to go farther.
Level 1 Skills Classes for Kayak or Canoe: These basic classes are designed for those wanting to try paddling for the first time. They are the best way to start your pladdling career: getting a firm grasp of the fundamentals while avoiding bad habits. For these classes we can provide all needed equipment - you provide the interest and the energy. The goal is to get you ready for a rewarding on-water experience.
Level 2 Skills Classes for Kayak or Canoe: These longer, more detailed classes are designed to provide the complete range of basic skills for the committed beginner. This is especially true for the ACA "Essentials" classes in canoe or kayak, which are self contained and require no prior training. Students with this level of interest are often considering purchase of a boat and equipment, although these elements are often provided for the class. The CTPC courses are shorter, topic-specific modules which concentrate on selected elements of the ACA Level-2 curriculum.
Level 3 Skills Classes for Coastal Kayak: These are more advanced courses for the intermediate paddler who is preparing to paddle longer trips in more open "bay type" conditions with wind, wave and current. These classes build on basic skills learned at level 2 and improve competency and expand variety in strokes, maneuvers and recoveries, adding grace, style and poise. It is expected that basic skills will be in place, though some remediation is included as needed. Participants at this level typically bring their own boat and gear, although these can be provided on request.
Level 4 Skills Classes for Coastal Kayak: Helmets required - prepare for launching and landing in surf! These are high level courses for advanced paddlers that have mastered level 3 skills. We will practice and refine those skills in real, open water conditions. Participants at this level are interested the challenge of longer trips and active conditions and capable of showing leadership on the water. Plan to review your gear with us in advance of class to be sure it is complete and bullet proof for your own and group support.
Adaptive Paddling: There is nothing so rewarding for the committed paddler as the accomplishment of helping someone overcome their disability and experience paddling. Adaptive Paddling programs are designed to aid those with physical disabilities in achieving their paddling goals. We have received specialized training from the ACA in fitting boats and equipment to compensate for anatomical anomalies, as well as guidence in development of custom training programs for challenged students. Those interested in an adaptive paddling program should consult our class description then call us for more information at 860-799-5459.
Skill Assessments: You do not get to be a trip leader or an instructor without participating in skill assessments. In the beginning it involves some trepidation, but with experience they become interesting and fun - certainly this is the feeling we strive to bring to assessments. Assessment is part of what it takes to be a good Instructor, so we are assessors during each class, but a Skill Assessment is devoted to evaluation and feedback.
Why Assess your skills? Preparing for an assessment challenges you to practice and perfect the skills you have learned - this alone makes it worthwhile. An assessment is an excellent way know if your training has been successful and it tells you where you are in your skill development. It a good way to insure you are ready for Advanced skill classes, Leadership training or Instructor Development. Skill Assessments are often used by clubs as a way to match members to trips of various challenge levels and as a tool to mitigate group risk. They are also used by camps and scouting programs to ensure safety.
We offer ACA Certified Skill Assessments a variety of skill levels in Canoe, Kayak and SUP - this includes a gear assessment). All participants receive a personal debriefing to help guide further development. For current ACA members we can report results and an official ACA Assessment card will be issued to successful candidates.
CTPC Skills Circle: Are you committed to a course of instruction that will take you from novice paddler to advanced levels? Do you have a skill that you want to perfect with a series of lessons? Are you interested in developing skills with the help of a program of regular coaching? The CTPC Skills Circle may be the ideal approach for you: a program of discounts for returning and continuing students. We love to build a long-term relationship with our students. Check out the program description below and give us a call to build a special program with you in mind. .
Private Lessons: It costs a lot to set up a class. There is time spent in preparation and clean-up and in travel to and from that the student never sees. When a class is filled these costs can be absorbed across many students and no one feels a burden. Private lessons are different - naturally our costs have to be covered by just one or two students. Generally we barely cover our costs - but we offer private lessons because we enjoy working in depth with one or two students, usually on a repeat basis, to focus training and see the dramatic results. But why does the student willingly pay more for a private lesson?
Here are some of the reasons people have asked for private lessons:
It is not hard to arrange time with you when we are not busy with a scheduled class. We often schedule time during the week to fit unusual schedules. We are willing to travel out of the area as long as we can cover travel expenses or we might arrange a private before or after a scheduled class.
One way to reduce cost is the semi-private lesson. If you have a spouse or friend that you paddle with often, then training and practicing together is a great idea. You get almost the same level of attention and also cost effective.
Trip Leaders:If you take responsibility for others on the water this leadership training is a great way to tune up your skills and bolster your confidence. Paddle shops, camps, scout troops and clubs often use this course to help guarantee that standards and performance are being met in on their trips. Learn more in the class description below.
Trip leader training is not simple to schedule. This is an official ACA curriculum offered over the course of two full days with a required minimum participant level. The course includes a written test and skill assessment which is used to generate reporting paperwork to ACA. Successful candidates that are current ACA members will receive a Trip Leader Assessment card from the ACA office. As such, candidates are expected to arrive with a minimum level of training - typically ACA Level-2 or equivalent. Completing an ACA L2 Skill Assessment is good preparation for this class.
Instructor Development & Certification - Coastal Kayak: Do you feel the calling? Do you have what it takes to be an ACA Instructor? Lets find out. The descriptions below are a good representation of the basic requirements and activities associated with gaining and maintaining an ACA Instructor Certification.
Basic Requirements: The ACA requires that all candidates be adults, 18 years of age or older, and registered members of The American Canoe Association before training starts. We expect candidates to come with skills equal to the Instructor level they are challenging. These programs are designed to teach experienced paddlers how to teach skills and evaluate their teaching capabilities. If you are not sure of your skills, we recommend scheduling a skill assessment before you commit to the training.
Instructor Program: the basic training consists of an Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) during which we review ACA curriculum, teaching theory and techniques and paperwork requirements for Instructors and lots of practice teaching. We allow a little time for remediation of skills to make sure candidates can model strokes, maneuvers and recoveries at the current standards for the expected Instructor level. Usually there is a hiatus of two weeks or more after the IDW for practice and tuning of skills. Candidates may be advised or choose to wait before taking the exam while they work on missing skills. Depending on group size, an IDW typically requires 2 days for Instructor levels 1 or 2 and 3 days for Instructor level 3 or 4. These days are long and physically demanding usually with homework in the evening - We make accomodations for weather only as required for safety.
Instructor Exam:Generally two or more weeks following the IDW we schedule the Instructor Certification Exam (ICE) wherein candidates are asked to teach skills in practice classes, model skills while during video recording and complete a written exam - all of which are used to evaluate candidates and determine results. Results may be pass, fail or continue. Passing candidates must pay ACA Instructor (SEI) dues and verify the reqired First Aid and CPR certification before receiving their official ACA Instructor card. Failing candidates are usually advised to complete additional training before challenging another IDW. Continuing candidates are given time to practice lacking skills and demonstrate proficiency, if so we can then submit their paperwork to ACA. An ICE usually requires 2 days for levels 1 or 2 and 3 days for levels 3 or 4. As with the IDW, expect long days and be prepared for conditions and weather.
Combination Workshop & Exam:In some cases, usually at the request of the sponsoring organization, we will offer an Instructor Certification Workshop which combines the IDW and ICE into one continuous program. Duration is 4 days for levels 1 or 2 and 6 days for levels 3 or 4. An ICW is more demanding physically and gives no time for practice and improvement prior to the exam, but can help organizations and candidates meet their seasonally imposed schedules.
Instructor Maintenance: ACA Instructor Certification is good for 4 years. During that time the Instructor must pay annual SEI fees, maintain ACA membership, first aid and CPR certification make formal report of all their classes to the SEI office. There must be a minimum of at least two classes taught in this period with at least one class at certification level. During this period each Instructor must also successfully complete an Instructor Update with an ACA Instructor Trainer. If these requirements are met then certification is extended for another 4 years with the same maintenance requirements. Should the ACA or SEI Membership, First Aid or CPR certifications lapse, the Instructor rating is automatically void until they are re-established. These issues are described in more detail in the ACA Instructor Manual, available through the ACA Website.
SEI Activities: All ACA Instructors are required to submit an annual SEI fee along with their member dues in order to maintain their certification. This fee us used to cover the costs of maintaining the ACA Safety Education and Instruction office where certifications, and courses are recorded and tracked. Instructors, Instructor Trainers and Instructor Trainer Educators are invited to participate in the activities of their discipline committee (see website) where new curriculum is developed for advancement of the sport, and to attend meetings of the SEI Council (twice per year) where interdiscipline topics are processed.
Instructor Upgrade: Established Instructors wishing to upgrade their certification level may, with permission of their IT, challenge the ICE without the need for taking a new IDW. We recommend that upgrade candidates be prepared to review their teaching and certification records with us so that we can properly assess their capabilities. Some candidate may wish or be advised to schedule a Skill Assessment, remedial skill training or Instructor Update prior to committing to the ICE.
Race Coaching: Our Instructors have competed at the local, Regional, National and International level in sea kayak and ICF kayak. Whether you are interested in serious competition or in proficient padding, we can help you hone skills, performance, efficiency, and endurance. We can also develop competitive strategies and personal recovery skills that will help you stand out as a winner in competition. It is preferrable for the student to have their own competition craft and equipment, but we can provide suitable gear for many physiques. Whether you are interested in a quick tune-up or a long-term commitment, we have the experience and know-how to bring measurable improvement to the dedicated paddler. We specialize in the following disciplines:
Call us for a discussion of your experience, goals and opportunities for personalized coaching program at 860-799-5459.
Gift Certificates: Give the gift of training or adventure to your loved one or friend. We can provide you with gift certificates good for training or activities up to one year in advance of your event. Gift Certificates can be for any of our regularly scheduled classes or adventures or can be custom to your needs. Here are some of the useful activities you can reserve with a CTPI Gift Certificate:
For a listing of our fees see our Schedule page. To purchase gift certificates for yourself, a colleague or a loved one, call us at 860-799-5459.