Elkhorn Slough Classes

We offer the highest quality sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding instruction taught by friendly ACA- trained instructors. Check out our Santa Cruz location for Summer Kids Camps, Fishing Clinics, and the Sea Kayak Club.

Sea Kayak Classes

Kayak Connection offers the highest quality sea kayaking instructional classes in the Monterey Bay taught by friendly American Canoe Association trained instructors

Sea Kayaking Class Progression

Meet your instructors

Sea Kayak Club

Join the club! This five week sea kayaking course is a great way to learn how to paddle a closed-decked kayak and how to navigate in open water. This series is a great way to improve your confidence on the water while enjoying the fun and camaraderie of a supportive group of new sea-going buddies.

Coastal Sea Kayaking 1: Introduction to Sea Kayaking (Elkhorn Slough)

Our goal is to introduce you to sea kayaking while you enjoy the amazing wildlife of the Elkhorn Slough. If you are looking for a foundation to sea kayaking, this is the class for you! We focus on the fundamentals - from gear to kayak strokes - in the ultimate on-the-water classroom. 

Coastal Sea Kayaking 2: Introduction to Kayak Rescues (Elkhorn Slough)

An important part of Sea Kayaking is knowing what to do in case of a capsize. In this class, we work on preventing capsizes with bracing techniques, and practice what to do when your brace fails. This class will teach the T-Rescue and Paddle Float Rescue which are essential skills for Sea Kayaking out on the ocean. 

Coastal Sea Kayaking 1 & 2 (Elkhorn Slough)

Combining Sea Kayaking 1 & 2 is a great way to spend a day learning to kayak. We cover the basics of how to maneuver a sea kayak and what to do in case of capsize.  Because of the all day nature of this class, we strongly encourage participants to be in good physical condition.

Coastal Sea Kayaking 3: Bracing and Maneuvering (Elkhorn Slough)

Being in absolute control of your kayak is important! This fun class will focus on bracing, more advanced strokes, and good paddling technique.  Learn how to make the most out of your kayak to maximize performance on the water.  

Coastal Sea Kayaking 4: Introduction to Navigation (Elkhorn Slough)

Being out in the water when the fog rolls in, and having no idea where you are can be dangerous. Knowing how to handle that situation will make you a far safer kayaker.  During this class you will learn about tides, currents and wind, along with how to read a nautical map. 

Coastal Sea Kayaking 3 & 4 (Elkhorn Slough)

Combining Coastal Sea Kayaking 3 & 4 is a great way to spend the day learning to control your craft and how to navigate on the water. We cover CSK 3 in the morning and CSK 4 in the afternoon.

Progression and Exploration 3 Part Series

After completing our introductory classes or our popular Sea Kayak Club series, students often ask us: How do I become more comfortable in my boat and practice the skills I just learned? Our Coastal Progression and Exploration series may be the answer. Each voyage is just what it sounds like: a trip where we get out on the water, explore a different area of the central California coast, and learn along the way. 

Progression and Exploration - Natural Bridges: Wind and Waves

The journey to Natural Bridges is a classic Santa Cruz day paddle.  We’ll launch from the Harbor in the morning and make our way west along the coast before the wind picks up, and on our return trip we will learn about paddling in wind waves and more exposed conditions along the beautiful north coast of Santa Cruz.

Progression and Exploration - Elkhorn Slough: Tidal Planning

The Elkhorn Slough is a very special place in the Monterey Bay.  It is the perfect venue to learn more about tidal currents and trip planning, all while paddling alongside some of the largest populations of sea otters and harbor seals in the Monterey Bay. 

Progression and Exploration - Cannery Row: Group and Incident Management

This journey starts from the beautiful Monterey Harbor and heads out to Lover's Point and back.  We will be practicing basic bracing, edging, and rescue skills in some rougher, choppy conditions, all while paddling alongside sea lions and harbor seals.  We will also introduce group and incident management and discuss pod dynamics, hazard and risk assessment, and how to manage real life rescue scenarios.  This trip explores some of the most beautiful coastline on the California coast.

Introduction to Surf Zone (Moss Landing)

Some of the most beautiful and remote beaches in the world are only accessible by kayak. Most capsizes we see happen in the surf, and having the skills to be able to land on those beaches will make your excursion to those hidden beaches far more enjoyable. Learn to land and leave a beach with your spray skirt firmly attached!

Maneuvering in the Surf (Moss Landing)

Don’t just survive in the surf, have fun playing with it!    Maneuvering in the surf is all about getting comfortable in waves and learning how to control your kayak in a dynamic environment.

Short Boat Surf Kayaking (Moss Landing)

Surfing kayaks designed specifically for that purpose can dramatically increase your kayaking skills and is incredibly fun!  Our instructors can work on anything from the very fundamentals to becoming more dynamic on the wave!

Long Boat Surfing (Moss Landing)

Imagine flying across the surface of the water as you carve your sea kayak along the face of a wave.  We can help get you there.

Ocean Rescues and Towing Scenarios (Elkhorn Slough)

Every paddler should be able to rescue both him or herself and their paddling partners in whatever conditions they paddle.  This course refines fundamental rescues and presents more advanced techniques for managing a rescue situation.

Dynamic Boat Control (Elkhorn Slough)

This course will focus on techniques and strokes to efficiently control your kayak.

Rolling (Elkhorn Slough)

Knowing the technique to right yourself in a kayak without getting out of the boat is an invaluable tool! Rolling safely is more about technique and not strength, so learning it the right way will save you months if not years of frustration.

Rock Garden Series

The California Coast offers some of the most beautiful and scenic paddling in the world, especially when it comes to paddling among rock gardens.  Paddling among rocks can be very fun and exhilarating, but also has its fair share of hazards.  Our instructors will coach you on how to identify hazards, manage risk, and paddle confidently in rock gardens.

Private Instruction

Private instruction can propel you into the sport like nothing else. Spend one-on-one time with an instructor to learn everything from basic strokes to advanced ocean paddling. Private group rates are available. 

Kids Camps and Classes

Kids camps and classes at the Kayak Connection are the best way to have the best summer ever while learning all about kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, the monterey bay, and so much more!

Elkhorn Slough Outdoor School

The Elkhorn Slough Outdoor School combines the fun and excitement of kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough with the intriguing exploration of beach-hiking around Monterey Bay's coastal dunes.   This summer day trip is a great way to expose your child to the wildlife of the Elkhorn Slough and the Monterey Bay.  

Kayak Fishing Classes

Learn all the basics of kayak fishing with our professional fishing guides on a trip to catch the big ones out on the Monterey Bay

Sit on Top Safety and Rescues

This class is created for the Sit On Top kayaker that is looking to learn the skills to safely paddling in the ocean and the Monterey Bay.  We will discuss equipment, planning, weather forecasting, basic paddling skills, and self-rescue techniques.  This is a must-take class for people who are going kayak fishing on the ocean.

Kayak Fishing Clinic

This exciting clinic will teach you the basics of fishing from one of our fishing-specific kayaks. Taught by experienced local kayak fishermen, this clinic will bring you to some of the best kayak fishing locations in the Monterey Bay and teach you how to get the best fish around. (Available June through August)

Stand Up Paddle Board Classes

Stand up paddle boarding improves balance and core strength, but most importantly, it's a lot of fun!

Introduction to SUP - Santa Cruz

This introduction to Stand Up Paddle boarding class engages your core muscles to promote balance, stability and performance on the water.  The class takes place in the wonderfully flat conditions of the Santa Cruz Harbor and is great for people wanting to increase their skills or try the sport for the first time.


View Gallery