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Summer Skills sessions continue for 2023.  Save the Dates !

Sue H.

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Summer Skills sessions continue for 2023.  Save the Dates !

Skills Practice sessions are a series of on-the-water events, offering NSPN members opportunities to practice and improve their fundamental paddling skills. These sessions will be held in coastal saltwater locations, allowing us to practice in a range of real-world conditions from protected water to open ocean. 

Each session is dedicated to specific kayaking skills, with peer facilitators from the club who will assist the practice and development of strokes and other ocean kayaking skills. The goal for these sessions is peer-facilitated practice, not professional coaching or instruction – those are great things, but not what we are offering with our sessions. 

Sessions will typically split into pods, each with its own facilitator(s). Although there will be a topic-of-the-day for each session, the activities of each pod are steered by its members, so not all pods will do the same things in the same way.  All attendees are encouraged to contribute their own practice ideas. Skills Practice is a dogma-free zone!

Who can benefit from Skills Practice? Any NSPN member, from newbie to expert, can get something out of a Skills Practice session. Practice at the level that works best for you.  If you are familiar with a topic and want to help others gain that knowledge, consider being a facilitator.

Is this some kind of official NSPN course on “How To Paddle” ?  Nope, it’s not official, and it’s not even a set course. The focus is on picking up skills from each other, without prescribing any single way to paddle.  What you get at a given session depends on who is there and your willingness to “practice” (sometimes this is simply listening, observing and asking questions, remember, you are in the driver’s seat!)

Where and when does this happen?  Sessions begin in the am (times TBD for a particular date) on Saturday or Sunday mornings at various locations in the North Shore/NH area.  The end times may vary as we intend to incorporate a short journey after am sessions. See date listing below, and NSPN trip calendar for dates. Exact locations and activity focus will be announced a few days in advance to reflect weather and sea conditions. 

Want to attend a session? A link to a sign up form will be posted about 1-2 weeks before each session. There are no level requirements: all members are welcome. The number of slots will be limited depending on the number of facilitators available for a given session. However, some sessions may work best if you’ve done a preceding session that lays some foundation.

What do I need?  First, to be an NSPN Member and have a signed participation agreement! Our sessions use American Canoe Association insurance, so you will need either an annual ACA membership ($40) or a 1 day membership ($10) for each session that you attend. You will need a closed-deck sea kayak suitable for coastal paddling, with sealed bulkheads or float bags, and grab lines along the perimeter. Dressing for immersion and a spray skirt are required, and a helmet for any play near ledges or coastal rocks. Bring lunch, snacks, fluids for yourself and sunscreen.  Optionally, bring a tow line, radio, and spare paddles.  If you would like to practice using a tow line and don't have one, PM (Sue H) and the same goes for a helmet !

Want to facilitate a session pod?  We want you on board to share your knowledge!  Please PM (Sue H) with your availability, contact information, sessions of interest, experience helping other paddlers improve, and gear you may be able to lend. 

How does facilitation work?  Although demonstration and explanation are part of the picture, the main aim of Skills Practice is to give paddlers the experience of performing a skill. This often involves breaking it down into clear, approachable steps.  Before each session, we’ll have some online exchange among facilitators to share our thoughts.

Got another question?  Post it here or send a PM (Sue H). 

Tentative dates:  Subject to change and will be kept up to date on the NSPN Calendar. 


Sunday    6/25/23 #1

Sunday    7/09/23 #2

Saturday  7/22/23 #3

Sunday    8/06/23 #4

Saturday  8/19/23 #5

Saturday  9/23/23 #6

Edited by Sue H.
update dates
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Will the skill session be happening next Sunday? I can’t find details and want to be able to plan as far ahead as possible. This would be my first event since joining the group.

what kinds of clothes would one need for immersion? Is a seals splash deck enough for a spray skirt?

Edited by Devon Winkler
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Hi Devon,

I am working on the posting this am and coordinating with others involved.  It should be posted later today.  The trips described in the kick off paddle will largely be the same for 6/11 as we will be calling this event welcoming journeys with some learning along the way.  Our launch spot will be Pierce Island Boat ramp, no reservation required, fee of $10. 

Your questions regarding the event will be answered by the posting later today.


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