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GUIDES: Certification: 2008 Exchange

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  • January 7, 2017
    2017 Spring Exchange:
    Hosted by Gabriola Sea Kayaking on Gabriola Island, BC! More...

  • July 6, 2016
    2016 Fall Exchange:
    Hosted by PIKA on Pender Island, BC! More...

  • June 2, 2016
    2016 Fall Exams:
    Level Two and Three Exams Dates Posted! More...

  • February 1, 2016
    2016 Spring Exams:
    Level Two and Three Exams Dates Posted! More...

  • January 7, 2016
    2016 Spring Exchange:
    Hosted by Terracentric and Footprint Nature Exploration in Lund, BC! More...

  • August 14, 2015
    2015 Fall Exchange - Skookumchuck:
    September 24-26, 2015 - Current, skill sessions, socializing!

  • March 3, 2015
    2015 Spring Exchange:
    April 17-19, 2015 - Sooke! Skill sessions, seminars, socializing!

  • March 17, 2014
    2014 Spring Exchange:
    May 9-11, 2014 - Salt Spring Island. Skill sessions, seminars, socializing!

  • March 17, 2014
    On-Going Training Policy Update:
    The SKGABC has evolved the On-Going Training policy to give options to more members! More...

  • Dec 22, 2013
    Northern Gateway Pipeline: SKGABC working to safeguard the BC coastline and sea kayaking industry.

  • Oct 25, 2013
    2013 Annual General Meeting: Nov 9, 2013 - Nanaimo, BC.

  • May 15, 2013
    Toquaht Bay Closure
    Alternative launch sites available at village of Macoah. More...

  • March 26, 2013
    Electronic Guide Logs
    Submit your logs using an easy electronic spreadsheet! More...

  • August, 2012
    Wolf Advisory: Vargas / Flores Island Park - Clayoquot Sound Due to wolf activity on Vargas and Flores Island this summer, BC Parks has issued a Wolf Advisory More...

  • June 1, 2012
    Tsunami Debris Reporting Environment Canada - Tsunami Debris Sighting and Reporting Information

  • May 25, 2012
    Online Resource Sheets Printable equipment list, emergency contact list, earthquake and tsunami notification, operating standards summary and more!

  • May 23, 2012
    Pacific Coast - Marine Weather Guide Environment Canada Marine Weather Guide for the BC Coast updated and online!

  • February 14, 2012
    Updated - Water Classification Maps: Outlining water classfications within British Columbia

  • February 14, 2012
    New Pro-Deal: Killarney Kayaks joins the SKGABC Pro-Deal Program! Deals for members from companies like: Aquabound, Brooks, Broform, Delta, Level Six, Nimbus, North Water, Ortlieb, and Seaward! Members Area

  • Technical Guides Manual
    The SKGABC has produced a manual for guides of every level. For more information Click Here


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Fall 2008 Exchange

The Fall Exchange in Ucluelet was a hit.  The weekend was marked by some big weather, great food and a good time by all.  A special thanks to the hosts; Majestic Ocean Kayaking and Rainforest Kayak for creating a comfortable and well organized atmosphere.  The article below submitted by Sheila Porteous. Its a great perspective of the exchange and the SKGABC from a newly certified Assistant Overnight Guide.


My First Guides Exchange  by Sheila Porteous

This October I completed all of the requirements and to become an Assistant Overnight Guide (AOG) with the SKGABC. Part of a guides training includes attending a kayak “guide’s exchange” once every three years. This October 3rd to 5th an exchange was held on the wild west coast of BC, in Ucluelet.  Wanting to take my training further, I signed up for the weekend and convinced my favourite paddling partner to do so as well. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for such an event but the surf session offered at the exchange was a carrot that I simply couldn’t resist.

Driving to the coast, I was so nervous that I thought of backing out several times. If I hadn’t booked a luxurious B&B for the weekend at Majestic Ocean Kayaking, I just might have. Arriving in Ucluelet on the Friday night I drove past the hall where the exchange was going to be held - several times. I scoped out all the cars with kayaks on the roof and was immediately intimidated. To delay the inevitable I went to the B&B and checked in. I almost never left. It crossed my mind that a king size bed, luxurious tub and waterfront view may be all I needed for the weekend. Luckily my curiosity got the best of me and I packed up and headed out to absorb the first tidbits of kayak guide wisdom.

On the way to the hall I began to panic anew. My fears revolved around the issue that I am short and wide and don’t look like a guide. Plus, being an AOG I am still developing my paddling skills; I was convinced that I would make a complete fool of myself during the on the water sessions. Even worse, I was wearing cotton shorts – the ultimate kayaker taboo. My fears all began to run through my head like some insane version of a Dr. Seuss book: short, wide, not a guide. Cotton, forgotten, they’ll laugh inside... Taking a deep breath, I remembered that the first evening only involved a presentation. If the exchange was more than I could handle, I would simply spend the rest of the weekend lounging about with a good book.

Entering the hall, my worst fears were instantly realised. They did, they did look like guides! I saw a sea of wool toques and nylon clothing. There was an abundance of rugged looking men that looked like they lived outdoors year-round. On the other hand, I saw a lot of female guides and friendly smiles, from both sexes. I was immediately approached and welcomed. I was introduced to Chris Nagle the Executive Director of SKGABC. He was kind and encouraging even though I had been badgering him for the last few weeks about my AOG paperwork. To ease my social anxiety I browsed through clothing and gear samples, checked out the munchie trays, and enjoyed a chart of the Broken Group that was labelled with the original aboriginal names for the area. I felt like I might survive after all.

Saturday morning began with more interesting presentations then we headed out onto the water after a spectacular lunch. We were divided into groups and assigned our very own level 3 guides. The wind was blowing 23knots from the Northeast that day; the rain alternated between light and sideways to heavy and not so sideways.  Although I began to worry, I figured the time to push my paddling ability was with a group of people who had similar or much better skills sets. We set off and practiced bracing, turning and edging and other ‘guidey’ things. The guides hosting my small group were very supportive and helped me correct a few bad habits while we all had a lot of fun on the water.

After reviewing basic skills, my small group went to take a peek at the open ocean and got to play where the swell rushed through a channel. The guide in charged asked who wanted to practice a self-rescue in the mess of seas. If I didn’t watch where my paddle was I wouldn’t be practising, so I quietly declined. Another level three guide was up for the challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him wrestle with his boat in the pounding surf. On the way back to the put-in we got to paddle directly into the headwind, in the middle of the channel where the wind was the strongest. It felt good to challenge myself while feeling safe and supported.

Dinner was held back at the hall and what a spread it was! A ten-foot long table was adorned with a delectable array of food including seafood chowder, sushi, daikon salad and much, much more. We sat together at tables and told stories of paddling and guiding. I was beginning to feel like I really fit in. I never felt judged, ridiculed or belittled for anything I said or did that weekend. People respected me for who I was, just the way I was. Maybe this open attitude encompasses the true spirit of a kayak guide. At the end of my adventure filled day I went back to the B&B and dreamt of playing in the surf the following day.

The morning dawned sunny and clear with a light breeze. After a hearty breakfast, I set forth to gather at Long Beach with the other guides. Dan and Bonny from Rainforest Kayak Adventures instructed the surf session. We climbed up the hill to read the surf and get some safety information. We were taught a few basic surf drills, buddied up, and then we jumped into our boats to practice our new skills. My partner kindly let me go first. I lasted but a few minutes before being dumped in the surf. Having only the first half of my roll mastered, I needed to get back to shore and bail.

On my second launch disaster struck. Practising in the soup zone, I was bowled over by one heck of a big wave and ended up swimming once again. I remembered to keep my boat between myself and the shore, but as I grabbed for my toggle my arm got tangled in the bow lines of my boat and I had to let go. As I lunged for the toggle once again a large wave came up from behind me and rammed my thigh into my boat. The pain was indescribable and for a moment I didn’t know what to do. I paddle a Nimbus Telkwa HV and can tell you that it is very heavy when it if full of water and its bow becomes a deadly weapon in the surf. Then I remembered the hand signal I had just been taught to summon help. I waved my arms furiously and almost wept when I saw several people come running out into the surf toward me.

First aid is a crucial part of being a good kayak guide, and I was honoured to give some guides the opportunity to practice their skills. I was helped off the beach and into my paddling buddy’s car for an inaugural trip to the Tofino hospital. Nothing was broken, but I wouldn’t be walking without crutches for a while. I was given phenomenally strong painkillers and loaded into the car for the long ride home. A quadriceps contusion is an injury typically reserved for football players, but apparently can be obtained by kayakers that make mistakes in the surf zone. I wasn’t sure what hurt more after the weekend: my thigh, my pride or recognizing that I only got to play in the surf for a few short minutes that day.

Regretfully, I didn’t get to say good-bye to all the new people I met and the friends I made. This message is my thank you to everyone for making the weekend welcoming and a big hug to those people who saved me in the surf and dragged me to the car. I eagerly wait for the announcement of the next exchange and promise myself that I will not make such a dramatic departure the next time! I encourage all new guides, and anyone working toward being a guide, to give an exchange a try. I did increase my kayaking skills that weekend, but experiencing what it was like to be supported by competent kayak guides was worth much more.   I hope to accumulate enough skills to support future clients in the same positive and caring manner.


Ucluelet October 3-5, 2008

Hosted by Majestic Ocean Kayaking and Rainforest Kayak Adventures

Meeting Place:  meeting place for the exchange is at the UAC Hall in Ucluelet.  5:00 pm on Friday night. 

All indoor sessions and presentations will be held here. 
It is on Peninsula Road right next to the Fire Hall.

Meeting Place (water sessions): Majestic Ocean Kayaking, 1167 Helen Road, Ucluelet, 

To Register:
Contact Majestic Ocean Kayaking, 800-889-7644.

Cost:  $75 to register. You must be a member to attend.  

Food Provided:
Snacks on Friday night, lunch and supper on Saturday. You will provide your own breakfasts, and bring a lunch to Long Beach on Sunday.

Kayak Rentals:
Bring your own gear or you can rent kayaks from Majestic-call for details.


   * Majestic is offering reduced rates at their B&B.
   * C&N Backpacker's Hostel, 250-726-7416.
   * Surf Junction Campground, 250-726-7219.
   * For other options check www.uclueletinfo.com.


Oct 3 Friday

VHF Marine Radio Operators Course - $70  -- 9am-4pm  contact Majestic to Register

5:00pm -7:00 Registration, meet and greet...snacks.
7:00-9:00 Local Jen Pukonen's presentation: Nuu Chah Nulth Root Gardens. Local First Nations traditionally cultivated intertidal plants such as Cinquefoil and Chocolate Lily. After Jen's presentation you will be inspired to look for signs of these gardens while out paddling, and better prepared to explain them to your guests!

October 4 Saturday

9:00   Toquaht Nation Speaker  Anne Mack
10:30  Bob Hansen from Parks Canada presenting on  the "Predators, Prey and People" study in Pac Rim park
12:00-1:00 Lunch.

1:00-4:00 On water sessions:  Choice of Sessions: Strokes, Rolling, Open Water Paddling, Surf
Surf  Day Prep Session -Bonny Glambeck & Dan Lewis (mandatory for first-time surfers). Slip into your wetsuit and splash around! We'll walk you through a progression to review and finesse edging and bracing skills.
Other Level 3 guides will offer sessions Saturday afternoon, tentatively a Class 3 paddle to George Fraser Island.

5:00-6:30 Supper.
7:00-9:00 Kayaking Canada's Rainforests: slideshow by Bonny and Dan.

October 5 Sunday

9:00-2:00 *Surf Session at Long Beach! Learn or review the basics of launching and landing as well as side-surfing in the soup zone. Guides with previous surf experience can get out in the green room and rip it up (bring a playboat if you have one!). Helmets and wetsuit or drysuit mandatory.





2008 Exchange
Victoria April 18, 19 and 20th

The 2008 Spring Exchange is going to be held in Victoria April 18, 19 and 20th. 

This springs exchange is going to be hosted by the premier kayaking retailer Ocean River Sports, located at 1842 Store Street in Victoria.

Guides of all levels are encouraged to attend.  Preregistration is not necessary.  Please register at Ocean River Sports upon arrival.

This exchange will begin earlier than usual as the CPR C re cert will be beginning in the morning on Friday at 11 am and should be completed by 3pm. Registration will open at Ocean River's Adventure Centre at 10am, and the cost of the exchange is $75.00. Friday evening will be open and up to you what you do.

Slipstream Wilderness First Aid will be doing the re cert for us at a cost of $15.00 per person.
This re-cert is limited to all current holders of CPR C that need to be updated for this year.

Friday and Saturday night camping will be available at Brian Henry's vast estate complete with availability to a washroom and shower. 
There are other alternatives in Victoria like The Backpackers Hostel.

Saturday morning will begin at 8am at the Sunset Room beside ORS with breakfast and then continuing onto a session regarding Parks “pack it in/pack it out”  requirements.
The next on-land session will be a follow-up with David Lecovin on his presentation of Risk Management continued from the Skook exchange.

We will then move to McNeil Bay and Trial Island for the afternoon on water sessions. We have been able to entice some the “old” gurus of kayaking to lead sessions on currents, rough/moving water rescues, tide lines and just having a ton of fun on moving waters.
Ocean River, Delta Kayaks, and Current Designs are offering some boats for us to use at no charge. Way to go guys! Just remember that waivers have to be signed  when you attend an Exchange. Ocean River will also be supplying a van and a trailer so that we will be able to move some boats to and fro.

Saturday night will hosted by Ocean River at the store with a BBQ and slide show on Hiada Gwaii. The format for Saturday night will be more social so that guides that hardly ever see each other off the water can talk and chat. Those of you that are raconteurs may want to get up and tell us of your more memorable good or bad trips.

Sunday morning will begin at 8am sharp with a scenario being put on by Slipstream First Aid till noon. That should get all our senses up and running prior to the season starting up.

Schedule of Events

Friday April 18, 2008.

Register at the Adventure Centre Desk at Ocean River Sports

9:30am to 5:30 pm

11am-3pm CPR “C” Re cert

4:30 to 6:00pm On the Gorge from ORS dock –

peer practice/coaching - any takers for leader?

Saturday April 19th

9am – David Lecovin/Basic Legal Issues That Will Affect Me.

1045am -Noon Navigation/Shawn Quinton

BYO Lunch 12-1

1pm – 5pm On water sessions

Playing in Currents with Gary Doran/Enterprise Channel

Baynes Channel/Exam based scenarios with Jack Rosen

Something with Liam Edwards somewhere

*volunteer assistants may be required please

Dinner 6-7

7-730pm Icebreaker Presentation (Pro-deals also!!!!)

745pm Haida Gwaii Slide Show with Jordie Allen-Newman


Sunday April 20

8am-Noon Slipstream Scenarios

8am-Noon on water sessions

On water navigation at Gyro Park Beach with Shawn Quinton

*volunteer session leaders step up please

BYO Lunch 12-1

1-3pm On Water Sessions

something with Liam Edwards??

*any ideas – volunteers requested



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The Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of B.C. operates in the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Kwakwaka'wakw,
Nuu-chah-nulth, Oweekeno, Nuxalk, Heiltsuk, Haisla, Tsimshian, Haida, Nisga’a, and Tlingit First Nations.