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Coastal Kayaking L-4 Update

October 24 - October 27



The L-4 update is for current L-4s or a useful training event for those not interested or yet eligible for certification.  Interested participants not seeking certification will need to discuss their experience, goals and objectives with the IT prior to signing up.

Updates are required by the ACA/SEIC to maintain instructor certifications. Upgrades are used to build on and expand existing skills. There’s latitude in how both can be run. This overview is written to help clarify how we intend to run this course.

For those updating, this will not be treated as a recertification (unless yours has expired). It will not be a re-do of your L-3 or L-4 ICE. If you are in dire need of certain skills refreshment, we’ll do our best to fix those on the spot or we’ll work out a training plan, but assessment of your current level for re-evaluation is not our primary objective.

Our focus will be on expanding and improving your coaching methods, group management/ leadership and rough water skills. We want you to have fun and learn new things that will help you become a better L-4 instructor. Participants are encouraged to share the concepts and techniques learned in their previous training or that they may have developed since their ICE. Techniques differ somewhat from region to region and from IT to IT. Many are equally effective, but as an instructor candidate, your chances for certification were greatly enhanced by learning the ways your IT most preferred. As an update attendee, you will be free to try others and accept or reject new possibilities without pass/fail consequence.

We will contrast and compare the differences both actual and perceived between the instructor levels, focusing primarily on what sets L-4 apart.

We’ll review the major curriculum changes that have occurred in the last four years and how those affect you as an L-4 Instructor.  Specifically, we’ll review the Trip Leader program, the new matriculation requirements and how those may affect future L-4 development.

We’ll review current CKC discussions on changes that may or may not be coming.

We’ll get a chance to practice our L-4 skills in a paddling environment well suited for the task. October was chosen as an active month for sea states on the Georgia Coast. Air temps are mild, and the water is still warm. Tybee enjoys a significant tidal influence with lots of moderately sized surfing waves. We’ll take advantage of lessons offered and decision points available to us in a river-mouth tide race environment. Those with experience here will be encouraged to lead. Those without will be encouraged to learn in what we hope will be a fun, low stress environment. If you haven’t played here before, you have a treat in store.

This will be a participant-taught, ITE-managed program. Expect a little homework.

We’ll spend 4-6 hours on water, the rest in the class-room, for a total of 8 hours each day.

Topic Choices:

  • The key differences between L-4 and L-3, L-4 and L-5.
  • Body-Boat-Blade Analysis (use video review)
  • Descriptive analysis vs prescriptive feedback.
  • Group control and risk management in a river-mouth-tide-race environment. (Timing, spacing, safe zones, rescues etiquette, etc.)
  • Teaching Rolling
  • Paddling formations and communication
  • Tide race surf zone positioning
  • Navigation using on-water, in-your-kayak-accessible tools only.
  • Rough water towing
  • Rough water rescues
  • Coaching Methods for Advanced Paddlers
  • Assessing students and dialing in the appropriate level of challenge
  • Safe zones
  • Surfing Sea Kayaks
  • Others to be added
  • Others you might wish to present (just run it by me).

Lodging: It will be shoulder season here. Prices will be lower at the numerous hotels and Airbnb options on Tybee Island. There’s also a camp ground (The River’s End).  If there are four or more people interested in sharing a house, I’ll rent something with cooking facilities for around $400 per person for four nights.

Transportation: The closest airport is the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport. An Uber ride to Tybee Island from there will cost $45. You can rent a bike while here for $10/day, the Island is only four miles long, or you can rent a car. Car parking is free at your hotel or campground and at one of the three likely put-ins, but $2.00/ hour at the other two.

Food: Best case is to have enough interest to rent a house and group cook, but you can eat out cheaply on Tybee if you’re not too picky (Huc-A-Poo’s, Sun Rise Breakfast). There are also better and more expensive restaurants. There’s a small grocery store on the island (IGA) close to the classroom. I’ll provide good coffee each morning.

Boats & Gear: The cost includes a plastic NDK Sport or Sportive for the first four sign-ups who need a boat. Glass NDKs are available at $50/day. There are two outfitters in the area who will rent sea kayaks as well (Sea Kayak Georgia & Savannah Canoe and Kayak). I have some assorted paddles, PFDs and spray decks available as well. You’ll need your own clothing, helmet, tow system, deck compass, chart case, paddle float, radio and dry bags.

Classroom support: If you must do a power point, bring it on a pin drive. We’ll run it via lap top on a 50” screen. There will be easels, flip charts and dry erase boards available as well and plenty of outdoor space.


October 24
October 27
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Dale Williams


Tybee Island, GA
Tybee Island, GA United States + Google Map