Salmon Bay Paddle - SUP Instruction & Tours in the Pacific Northwest Tel: 206-465-7167 /


How to Train your Kayak / SUP Guides to Protect Themselves and their Guests

Just in, a tragic Yellowstone area kayak guide fatality last summer. 

Poorly or (not) trained guides in cold water thus leading to an easily avoidable outcome.

How to avoid:

-Train your guides on cold water immersion issues.

-Train your guides on self and group rescues which includes rescuing other water craft - kayaks, sups, boaters, swimmers.

-Only hire PSUPA, ACA or similarly certified instructors as guides. Or hire then pay to train your instructors through one of these programs before giving them co-lead or lead positions. 

-Make sure staff have a clear understanding of how and when to hire Emergency Medical Services and have the tools to do it - cell and/or vhf?  Do you have reception on the trip?

-Make sure your guides can swim.  What??  Yep, once a raft guide in WA State drowned on a Class 1 river as he didn't know how to swim.  

-Require guides to always wear a PFD and leash. It's common in the SUP industry for guides and instructors to go without one or both even while their students are equipped. Lead by example.  

Back-up emergency rescue options:
- Laser Flare - Great option but not as bright in daytime and can't fire high if you're obscured.
- Rocket Flares - Shoot to direct others to your location. 
- Whistle - Required by the  CG. Simple, light, no reason not to have one. Doesn't work upwind.
- Plastic Signal Mirror - super light small mirror that can be used at night as well if a light is directed in your location.
- Wear hi-vis colors. Popular with downwinders, can be seen 1 mile away in most situations.  
- Know hand signals to alert EMS or passerby folks or other boaters / paddlers. My SUP book has a page dedicated to hand signals. Our PSUPA Flat Water 1 manual also covers VHF protocol, hand signals, risk management etc. 
- White blinking or non blinking light for night seen in 360 degrees.  Great time for laser flare in distress.  
- Establish a Float Plan. Tell your staff or a friend of your departure time, route, plan and time of return - then contact them when you return.  Our local paddlers have a FB Messenger page for Float Plans.   

 I've found people are reluctant to call 911.  It's ok to do so even if you're not sure.  Better to call than not.  If you are planning to perform a rescue, call first then go.  Or if the rescue is out of your league or may put you into danger, lead a visual rescue directing EMS services to the scene. 

-Consider making a Staff Training Manual and hands-on and on-water Training Class to teach these tips plus your company's mission and procedures on-water. 

-Ask guides to carry extra non-cotton thermal clothing on-water for themselves and/or guests. A small neoprene hood can go a long way on a cold day. And/or hydration in hot climates.

-Dress for the water temp. I was in a 5/4 full suit yesterday, air was in the 70's but water was 45f. When i get hot, i jump in to cool off.  We regularly put our students in immersion clothing in colder air/water temps.  If they're not sure if they need it, bring it anyway.  

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training


SUP Rescues Classes April 28 & May 3rd

My students have already been involved in rescuing rental kayakers from the cold waters of Shilshole Bay twice this Spring!

The silly season is here - occasional blue sky days that inspire summer thinking paddlers to get out in 46F waters dressed in summer clothing - usually lacking basic skills.  

Last week, my student Lisa was out downwinding and came across two capsized rental kayakers who didn't have PFDs on, were dressed in cotton and were paddling in 25kts of S wind, 50F air temps - 46F water temps and 5 knots of snow melt Locks current.  Both lost their boats and paddles beyond the Shilshole jetty.  

Equipped with basics SUP rescue skills, Lisa pulled one of of the water onto her board, and a sailboat helped to complete the rescue.  

A month before, my instructor training class had the opportunity to rescue another kayaker capsized on a sunny yet cold March day.  The paddler was in a cocktail dress and her loose fitting PFD rose above her head while in the water. 

We plucked her out and pushed her gear to shore.  

This happens a lot in Spring-Summer here.  Be ready for it.  

My SUP Rescue Skills Class will teach you how to rescue SUPs, Kayaks and fatigued swimmers.

- The Flip Rescue so you can pull people out of the water onto your or their board
- T-Rescue to rescue capsized kayakers
- Towing - to tow fatigued or capsized paddlers to shore
- Alternative tow/push techniques to get folks to shore
- 3 Ways of getting on your own board - and how to instruct others to do so.
- Inflatable SUP rescues and re-mount (6" thick makes it hard to get on). 
- How to conduct a visual rescue - Direct EMS services to a situation if you can't help.
- How to be aware of trouble, be ready for it, what gear to carry and how to improvise.  

Saturday 4/28 - 9-11 - Free 
Thurs Evening 5/3 - 7-9pm - $45ea.  

**Add $45 for a toasty wetsuit, booties, gloves and a hood? (Recommended for this class)

Contact me to RSVP - / 206-465-7167

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training


Paddler's Tips - How to Move Forward with Less or No Effort

If you're planning a long trip, expedition or for those of us participating in the first annual 70 mile Seventy48 race on Puget Sound, you're probably trying to figure out how to get to your destination within a specific time frame with the least amount of exhaustion and/or pain. Some like pain, but that's not my thing, so I'm always looking for the easiest way to get there.

Here's a few tips on how to get there easier and to take advantage of every opportunity to move forward, especially when fatigue sets in..

Ready to Take a Break?  Take your Break on the Board..
If you have river current, tidal current or wind going in the direction of your destination, take advantage and take your break on your board or other water craft while moving forward. I'd rather gain a few hundred feet or more floating forward than sitting on a log on-shore getting cold and not moving.  

Drafting is an easy ways to save your energy for a long haul trip or race. And it's commonly practiced during long paddling races, even between different types of craft - surf ski on shells, sup on ski's sup to sup, etc.  Draft trains are an interesting thing to see during big races with up to 20 sups or other craft all drafting a single paddler thus stretching the train out 50 more yards.  

Team benefits of drafting - Those paddling with each other or on the same team may draft each other
Draft Train
and take turns, leap frogging every 15-20 min or for set distances. 

How to do it - Paddle up to another paddler's tail (stern) and get within a few inches of bumping them. When you reach the sweet spot, you'll feel a sense of surfing or moving forward without working for it - this is the same as an eddy on a river.  You do have to paddle, but for the most part the other paddler in front is doing most of the work.  Front paddlers who can't keep straight are the hardest to track. And pintails (V shaped tails/sterns don't leave much wake to surf.

You can find positive forward movement either directly behind the forward board and in it's wake as it spreads in a V behind their tail/stern.  

Ethics of drafting - Some paddling race rules only allow to draft others within your same craft of division but often it's not enforced.  For more open races, it's whatever works. Once a SUP I know was drafting a sea kayak. The kayaker got pissed and put on the breaks - not a smart move as the SUP could've (or should've?) fallen on him.  

Boat Wake Surfing
Often in races, I see paddlers paddling over boat wakes or trying to avoid wakes as if the wake is in their way. If the wake is going their way - they missed a great opportunity to get a free push forward and/or possibly an epic ride lasting several minutes to dust those around them.  

Boat Surfing
Learn how to surf any wave or wake going in your direction. It takes practice but when you get the basics, you'll ultimately save your energy while getting a free ride, you will increase your speed considerably when surfing (up to 7-10kts) and you'll have more fun vs trudging ahead on flat water. 

When learning to surf boat wakes, respect boats - don't cut them off.  If there's 2 boats coming, take the second boat in case you fall.  

Reverb or Clapotis
Reverb waves are those that bounce off a wall or bridge then bounce back into waves coming in thus creating a triangular shaped funky wave (or a bit of chaotic wave shapes).  Many paddlers avoid these thinking they'll fall.  Learn how to paddle in these as the reverb waves can push you along and give you a free ride.  

In a local Seattle race I used to put on weekly, paddlers always avoided a cliff section at high tide that had a lot of reverb. I plowed through and got free rides and was able to get ahead of paddlers whose go-around manuver just added more distance to their race.  

How to Padddle in Reverb - Short quick strokes, bent knees, stay loose (hands loose too), smile and enjoy the ride. 


Puget Sound Paddling and Seventy48 and Training Clinics

If you're planning summer overnight SUP trips or are doing the Seventy48 June 12th take the following classes to learn how to outfit and pack your board, decide where and when to go, and use a kayak paddle as a backup for upwind sections and how to negotiate fast tidal currents.

Upcoming Spring clinics.. 

How to Paddle in Tidal Rapids at Deception Pass - May 12th

PT Canal on the Flood - Routes to Take
Worried about PT Canal on the Flood? Tidal currents are common in the San Juans and many other
areas in the Sound such as Port Townsend Canal, Deception Pass and the South Sound.  Learn how to paddle with control and confidence in (and up) fast tidal current.

Seventy48'ers - Give me a holler for training on PT Canal on the Flood.   

Learn how to Kayak your SUP - April 22, 9am / Seattle

Paddling with Karl Kruger, Orcas Island
Taking a Kayak Paddle for up-wind and/or as a back-up?  Paddle like a pro and do so with finesse and efficiently so you get the most distance pain free. We'll talk about different types of paddles, demonstrate kayaking technique, bracing, paddling in wind, turns and how to blend strokes together.

Prepare your SUP for an Overnight or Extended Trip - April 24th / Seattle

Outfitting, Packing and What to Take on an Overnight SUP Trip on Puget Sound or the San Juans.

Privately scheduled classes welcome for any of the above classes

More Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training


Seventy48 - Paddlers Guide - Where to Find Water Pt Defiance to Port Townsend

One question that has been coming up this week for those doing the first annual Seventy48 race on Puget Sound June 11 is where to get water along the way.

Also check out my other post on where to find food and/or groceries along the way.

Here's a few options - Yellow = Water / Red = Restrooms

Al's Market in Olalla is on the water and open 9am to 9pm.  Winslow and Kingston have marinas and waterfront parks with water. Hansville Grocery is open 9am to 10pm.

Find restrooms at: Olalla, Vashon and Southworth Ferries, Blake, Winslow, Fay Bainbridge, Kingston marina/ferry, Eglon Boat Ramp, Pt No Pt, Hansville, Pt Ludlow, Oak Bay Cty Park or across the canal at the Portage Park and Ft Flagler.

More Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training


Seventy48 - How to Paddle Puget Sound and Stay Overnight in Style!

Eagle Harbor Inn - Bainbridge Island
If camping with blown up mattresses, bivy bags and tarps aren't your thing while paddling up Puget Sound, no worries!

From Tacoma to Port Townsend there's 3 luxury inns and several AirBnb's and VRBO's...

Hotels – Travel in Style… There's 3 along the route: 

Bainbridge Island, SE corner in Winslow:

Port Ludlow, just north of Cape Foulweather and the entry to Hood Canal:
Port Ludlow Inn

Port Hadlock, just after passing through the Port Townsend Canal (last check-point):

Rent a Home or Room:

VRBO - Accommodations from Vashon to Port Hadlock

AirBnB - Accommodations from Vashon to Port Hadlock

VIP AirBnB Listing - Hot tub on Beach in Kingston (epic). 

Where to Find Food 
Old Alcohol Plant - Port Hadlock
-Vashon ferry dock – La Playa Mex Café - 
Epic Airbnb - Garden Studio - Kingston, WA
-Blake Island – Tillikum Village Salmon Dinner – call to reserve a spot, (206) 623-1445 
-Manchester – Manchester Grill, 8am-9pm (360) 871-8199 – Right above boat ramp 
-Winslow/Eagle Harbor – In Marina - Harbor Public House and Doc’s Marina Grill 
-Suquamish - Agate Pass Cafe – 5-10pm - 360-930-0911 (And grocery across street)
-Indianola – Indianola Country Store – Above beach (Darrell Kirk recommends it) 
-Kingston – Drifter’s Galley/Café. Above marina. 
-Hansville (Pt No Pt) Hansville Grocery 7am-10pm / 7532 NE Twin Spits Rd, Hansville, WA 98340-7779 
-Port Ludlow – Small grocery 
-Port Hadlock – Ajax Café – Soon re-opening! Classic spot, great food, right above boat ramp. 

More Dining/Grocery Info: 

Additional Guides for the Route: 
- My book – Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips – Mountaineers Books 

- Waggoner’s Cruising Guides (books and online) 

More Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training

Port Ludlow Inn


Seventy48 Training - Are you Training Enough? If Not - No Worries....

In the paddling community here in Seattle, I know several folks signed up or are planning on signing up for the Seventy 48 race in June.

One thing I'm hearing from many paddlers is that they're worried how they'll do.  A few have had weird dreams about it, including myself.  This is a result of other paddlers who are either stressed out and/or from highly competitive paddlers who already are training hard and bragging about their progress / miles paddled per day.

Another paddler told me today someone was surprised in a sarcastic way that she was doing the race 'You?' She replied, 'Yes me!'.

Here's my take - Don't worry about it.

It's supposed to be fun.

I've heard from 3 groups of paddlers, each with a different take on the race..

Ultra Racer Personalities
These folks plan to paddle non-stop to the finish as fast as the can go. Not sure where/how the sit-down paddlers plan on peeing during the 13hrs? Or SUP'ers, standing for 13hrs?

Those Who Plan on Stopping For a Few Hours at Blake
These folks will paddle to Blake Island or a similar good stopping spot, take a few hours off then jump on the minus ebb at 3-4 am to the next good stopping spot, then continue again.

Those Who Plan on Staying 1 Night
I've spoken to quite a few looking to spend a night at Blake Island or a similar good gunkhole for the night, then start again in the morning. Look for legal camping at the site or guerilla camp where necessary.

Those Who Plan on Staying 2 Nights
These folks will be seeing the race as a great opportunity to do what they can, and/or see it as a Tour - Race opportunity. Enjoy the views and get there probably just under 48hrs.

Good camping options include Blake Island, Manchester or Ft Ward the first night. Then guerilla camping or the WWTA sites on Marrowstone/Indian Island the second night (Kinney Pt, etc)

Or stay the night in style at the 3 hotels along the way - Eagle Harbor Inn, Port Ludlow and Port Hadlock Alcohol Plant.

The One That Plans on 3 Nights
What?? Yep, there's at least one.  I'll update with him to see if that's still the plan.

Support the Washington Water Trails and Cascade Marine Water Trail to keep paddlers' access and paddle-in camping spots open along the Salish Sea. 

More Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training