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 invite you to contact with questions or comments about our classes, activities or website to design a class, tour of function just for you or your organization.
We're here to provide for your paddling needs:
We paddle year round. We have the most daylight in the summer, but water temperatures are excellent from June through October with minimal gear. From November through May water temperatures demand specialty gear - contact us for advice.
We have designed specific programs with the beginning, intermediate and advanced paddler in mind. We appreicate the opportunity to work with beginners and guide them on the journey to advanced activities. We also enjoy the opportunity to work with the advanced paddler to help then realize their goals.
Everyone has specific needs. We are prepared to meet you practically anywhere for private lessons or specialty tours. Time and travel rates apply outside our area, but group discounts are also available.
To contact us by phone or mail for more information, please use the number below. If you wish, you may download our registration form in PDF format and mail it to us at the address below:
Phone us at: 860-799-5459
If we are on the water, please leave a detailed message.
Class Registration: If you wish to reserve your place in a scheduled class, please use the form below. This is designed as an active form which collects your data and transmits it to us via email. Depending on your browser you may need to save the form on your computer then open it using the latest Adobe PDF viewer Available Here in order for it to work.
Follow instructions on the form - after completion, click "submit by email" and the email process will begin. Once you click the "submit" button you will be guided to your email client (Outlook or your choice of webmail clients) to forward your data to us. Be sure to hit "send" once the email is set up with the data attached. You can also print a copy of the completed form for your records. Sorry, but you cannot save a filled-out version of your active PDF form - the data will be lost. If you have trouble with the form, please call us so we can collect your information over the phone. As you complete your registration:
The registration form is important to help us serve you, but it is not sufficient to reserve you a space in the class. You must also forward a 50% deposit based on the full cost of the training program at least a week prior to the class or event. Please contact us to make certain that space is available before sending a payment. If it is less than one week until the class starts contact us to be sure there are openings and we will advise you on payment at that time.
You will also need to complete a liability waiver prior to the event. It is good to download and fill out that form and bring it to the event in order to save time at the start of class. Students that are not yet 18 years old must us a Youth Waiver that is signed by a legal adult guardian.
To E-mail us via the web please use the form below:
We will respond to you as quickly as possible, usually via your e-mail address. Be assured that we do not share your contact information with others.
Natural environments are inherently uncontrolled and difficult to predict - this is part of their charm. We approach skills training from the standpoint of SAFETY FIRST and FUN second. Sound training helps us understand, accept and learn to handle the risks we encounter on the water which enhances our enjoyment.
We inform our adult clients about the potential risks of paddling on our Waiver form which must be read carefully and signed before participation. Juniors must have a minor waiver completed by a parent or legal guardian. Adults are encouraged to stay and watch young adult classes and are expected to participate in youth classes.
Anyone who has a desire to learn how to paddle, is capable of being safe on the water, and is physically able to perform the tasks can join our classes. Some classes are structured toward training adults, others toward training youth and still others toward families. Each group is most successful when taught with a different style. If you have questions regarding the appropriatness of a specific class we encourage you to ask us in advance. Please also advise is in advance if you or your child have special needs.
Tipping is likely and even encouraged. We are practiced at getting people back in their boat with a minimum of effort. Kayaks, SUPs and even canoes are easily capsized by the novice who does not yet understand balance and stability and even by the expert attempting advanced maneuvers. But remember, sea kayaks and canoes were designed by native people who used them to hunt dangerous creatures in arctic waters with great success. Like riding a bike, paddle craft are stable once we understand their dynamics, relax, and let the boat do its job. One of our first goals is to help you learn to be comfortable capsizing, exiting and getting back into your boat. Once accomplished, learning to avoid capsize while using the boat to your best advantage is easier and eventually becomes second nature.
No, we do not require that our students be able to swim because all participants will wear Type-III (sport type) life vests (PFDs) that aid in flotation. At a minimum, participants must be able to right themselves and hold their body face up in water that is over their head while wearing a PFD.
Absolutely, all students are required to follow the "WEAR IT" rule because paddling is serious fun! We require each participant to wear a properly sized and fitted USCG approved Type-III personal flotation device (PFD) at all times while on or near the water. It is required by law that you wear such a vest when paddling in the off season and and have one within reach during the summer. We know this is insufficient: that donning a PFD while floating in the water is nearly impossible and one not worn is easily lost in a capsize. We wear our PFD's at all times, even when training in a pool so that we are practiced with it on. You will learn more about this during our classes.
A capsize is likely when practicing new skills, so plan on getting wet! We encourage all participants to become comfortable getting in and out of their boats. Most of our clients will practice a wet exit during their first class. During Recovery classes we will be capsizing on purpose several times. Please plan to wear quick drying clothing (no cotton) and water shoes or old sneakers. Please do not wear flip-flops or open sided sandals. Bring a towel and a change of clothing for after the class. Plan to secure glasses, hats, and other items dear to you in case of a capsize and leave non-waterproof electronic devices on shore.
Generally, no. All forecasts err on the side of caution. A 40% chance of rain means a 60% chance of good weather. We use weather forecasts to plan our gear and prepare backup plans but seldom trust them for cancellations. Exceptions include active weather emergency alerts in our local area - make sure we can contact you by cell with last minute changes. We generally monitor conditions during class and are prepared to react if necessary.
Usually, no. We expect to get wet during classes anyway, so expect classes to run regardless of rain, but plan your gear accordingly (or ask us for advice). We will notify you in advance if extreme weather (i.e. heavy wind) causes us to reschedule or relocate the launch site for a class - be sure we have your cell number. We may put out briefly, delay or cancel a class for threat of lighting.
We encourage students to take lessons using their own craft and equipment, except for pool classes where space is limited. However, we can usually provide boats, paddles, life vests and appropriate safety equipment (though our canoe and SUP fleets are limited). Please let us know if you will need a boat or gear in order to participate in a class.
We recommend our students consider the following personal items:
* When water temp is less than 60F or air + water temp is less than 120F then protective clothing must be worn. These conditions usually occur in late Fall, Winter and into late Spring (October through May). Consult us if you have questions.
**Please advise us if you or a minor may require help in administering personal medicine. Let us know of any condition which may impare your ability to function coherently and safely in support of yourself and others.
Yes, each student should plan to bring the following:
Please contact us directly by phone of email. See above for details.
We appreciate your feedback and look forward to it in order to improve our programs and our website. We invite you to tell us what you think we are doing well and provide constructive critique for any areas where we could do better. We request your contact information in case we have further questions, but be assured we do not share your information with others. If you would like a specific response to your comments, please let us know.