Santa Cruz Harbor Classes

We offer the highest quality sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding instruction taught by friendly ACA- trained instructors.

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

Essentials of Kayak Touring Trip Leader Training and Assessment

This ACA Level 2 Course is intended for paddlers who want to develop into leaders on the water and for those who would like to advance their basic skills and have them assessed against a professional standard.  This two day course will include coaching and evaluation of the practical skills and knowledge necessary for leading a group of kayakers in protected conditions.

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 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

Our goal is to introduce you to sea kayaking while you enjoy the amazing wildlife of the Monterey Bay. 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 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

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 the Paddle Float Rescue which are essential skills for Sea Kayaking on the ocean.

Coastal Sea Kayaking 1 & 2 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

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 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

Being in Absolute Control of your kayak is important! This fun class focuses on bracing, more advanced strokes, and good paddling technique.  Learn how to make the most of your kayak to maximize performance on the water.

Coastal Sea Kayaking 4: Introduction to Navigation (Santa Cruz Harbor)

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. You will learn about tides, currents and wind, along with how to read a nautical map. We take these skills and apply them on the water, with exciting practical scenarios and real-life ocean conditions. 

Coastal Sea Kayaking 3 & 4 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

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. 

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 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

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 (Santa Cruz Harbor)

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

Rolling (Santa Cruz Harbor)

Knowing how to recover from a capsize without getting out of the boat is an invaluable skill! 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!

Kids Kayak Camp

If you’re looking for the perfect way to ensure that your child has the summer of a lifetime, this is the ideal choice.  Combining education with fun, this four day camp will teach kids the fundamentals of kayaking, ocean safety, and teamwork.  Through a series of educational skill-building games, children will become comfortable out on the water and learn how to gauge factors such as swell, currents, and wind to determine ocean safety while learning the basics of kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and boogie boarding.  

SUP for Kids

Your child will have a blast this summer learning the fun sport of stand up paddling.  Students will learn paddling techniques, balance and how to read the ocean during this two-day course.  This sport is a great way for kids to build their confidence about being on the ocean and their own athletic abilities.

Boogie Board Bash

Send the kids to the beach for an awesome day of fun, friends, games, and a whole lot of boogie boarding!  A quick orientation will be followed by a lesson in ocean safety and surf etiquette, wave mechanics, and a how-to session.  Then it’s time to grab the board and hit the waves! The class will meet at Kayak Connection and walk down to Twin Lakes Beach. 

Teen Kayak Camp

This fun two-day class starts with a review of basic paddling and rescue techniques in the Santa Cruz Harbor. Once students are comfortable handling their kayaks, we’ll head into the bay for a tour of the local kelp beds and marine life.  On the second day, we’ll paddle over to a local beach for an adventurous day, learning how to handle kayaks in the surf zone and launching them from the beach. 

SUP for Teens

Your teen will have a blast this summer learning the fun sport of stand-up paddling.  Students will learn paddling techniques, balance, and why it has become the fastest growing water sport in the world! This sport is a great way for teens to build their confidence on the ocean and meet new friends. 

Advanced Kids Kayak Camp

If your child is a graduate of Kids Kayak Camp and is looking for more fun and increased kayaking skills then this advanced camp is for them.  Our experienced instructors will teach advanced paddling techniques while participating in team-building and games. 

After School Kids Kayak Adventure Camp

Looking for the best camp for your child to get out onto the water during the school year? By popular demand we created the 6 week After School Kids Kayak Adventure Camp so your young adventurer can stay on the water beyond the summer kayak camp season.  (Click for more info)

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 

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)

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.

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.

SUP for Fitness

This 2-part class will focus on building core strength using stand up paddling as a medium.  Get outdoors and explore the waters of Santa Cruz as you work on balance and stamina while toning your legs, arms and abs.  In the beginning, students will learn how to handle their SUP board, paddling techniques, as well as turning and balancing.  We will conduct our workouts with seals, otters and a fantastic view of the coastline.


After completing our SUP 1 class, or if you have some experience on a stand up paddle board you are ready to take our SUP II Class!


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