If you have never been on a kayaking trip, the Norrie Short Tour or Norrie Evening Tour are ideal. This program is just three hours long and includes some basic instruction and a kayak trip on the Hudson River. The Kayak Fundaments is a good next step after paddling a couple of times.
If you have already kayaked a few times, then a full-day beginner program or a sunset program might be the best next step. Full-day beginner programs are for experienced paddlers who want to paddle at a faster pace with fewer stops. Beginner kayak tours cover 10 miles or so at a 2.5 to 3 knot pace with a few breaks for rest and water. Also, think about taking some of our enjoyable and effective Instructional programs to enhance your skills and your enjoyment of the sport. You want to be in a longer touring or sea kayak for these programs.
Intermediate kayak tours cover up to 20 miles at a 4 knot pace with fewer stops than the beginner programs. While we try to avoid rough conditions on beginner tours, on intermediate tours we are happy to find them. A few intermediate trips includes surf landings. If you have been on beginner tour, have taken a few instructional programs, and find beginner programs easy, then an intermediate program is your next step. You might want to try the Norrie to Kingston as your first intermediate program. As an intermediate paddler, you should be carrying more safety and preparedness equipment, including a compass, first aid kit, tow line, paddle park, storm cag, etc. Good self and group rescue skills are required.
This is where it really becomes fun. An advanced kayak tour can include any combination of longer distances, faster paces, and potential for rough conditions. Beginner programs try to avoid rough conditions, intermediate programs deal with rough conditions, and advanced programs look for rough conditions. A 4 knot pace is common on advanced programs. Advanced paddlers need to have reliable skills and high group-awareness. You need to be able to take care of not just yourself, but also others in the group. A full kayak kit should be carried. This would include all the same equipment needed for an intermediate tour, plus a chart, signaling equipment, flashlight (headlamp), repair kit, extra food and clothing, helmet and a boat designed for advanced conditions.