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Sea Skills for Women: A Two-Day Course on Peaks Island

a man rowing a boat in the water


Portland Paddle instructor Suzanne Blackburn is teaming up with Maine Island Kayak’s Liz Johnson to offer two special days of building skills, confidence and power on the water.

Course Description

Building our skills on the water develops our competence as paddlers. As our abilities increase, our confidence grows. Learning how to plan and problem solve, we become “captains of our own ships”. It’s a journey we take both as individuals and as a community of women, empowering each other as we expand our horizons. Join us for this weekend of learning, challenge and fun in a supportive environment.

Saturday – Body, Boat, Blade

We’ll focus on refining basic strokes for propulsion, maneuvering, support and recovery; then linking those strokes while paddling in a variety of sea conditions. During our “working lunch”, we’ll learn some chart & compass basics. We may try a bit of surfing and rock gardening! – depending on sea conditions and skills. We’ll also “take a dip” into rescue practice.

Sunday – A Journey

We’ll plan and take a journey beyond the harbor: to develop observation and understanding of sea states, waves, and tidal flows. Together, we’ll chart our trip using data on weather and sea state, and delve further into navigation. We’ll learn how to choose “safety spots” as we paddle.

Dinner & Lodging

On Saturday night, we’ll share a celebration dinner.  For those wishing to spend the night on Peaks Island, we’ve reserved rooms at the rustic 8th Maine Oceanfront Museum & Lodge, with its wraparound porch and spectacular views over Whitehead Passage. Accommodations at 8th Maine have shared bathrooms and a large shared kitchen and dining room.

Skill Level

Women on Water is suitable for beginner to intermediate paddlers. You should have some sea kayaking experience. Not sure of your level? Please don’t hesitate to contact Liz with any questions. For those interested, we may be able to arrange a tune-up session prior to the course.


  • 2-day Course $290, includes use of kayaks and gear

  • Course and Dinner $310

  • Course with Double Occupancy Lodging and Dinner $390

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