Paddling

Paddling (Kayaks, Surfskis & SUPs)

The club has a fleet of 15 plastic sit-on-top kayaks, 4 surfskis and a half-dozen SUPs for member use. Kayaks and SUPs are most commonly used to help support our swimmers, but may also be taken out recreationally, or for competition.

The Fleet

Many of the kayaks are owned by members. You may use any of them, but please take care of them as if they were your own. 

Sit-on-top Kayaks

Most of the kayaks at the club are of the ‘sit-on-top’ variety. These are easy to use, robust and very stable. They’re great for recreational paddling and swim piloting.

Sit-inside Kayaks

The club has two sit-inside kayaks. These should only be used by people with significant sea-kayaking experience. You should already know how to eskimo roll, or self-rescue. Always take a paddle float, water pump, and kayak skirt with you.

Stand-up Paddleboards

The club owns several standup paddleboards. Five are stored by the boatshed with the paddles nearby. We also have a mish-mash of member owned boards behind the weight room.

Surfskis

The ‘Epic’ brand kayaks are surfskis. These are longer and narrower than the regular sit-on-top kayaks. Please don’t use these until you’ve had an orientation in these too.

Where Can You Go?

Remember: Kayakers and paddlers must also become members of US Rowing. Membership costs only $10/year and ensures you, and the club, are covered by insurance. You’ll need the club code: FM7HD. Go here to sign up or renew: https://membership.usrowing.org/ 

Kayaking & SUP orientations are typically offered to small groups every month. You can find out about them on the notice board, the club calendar, and the mailing list on groups.io.

If the scheduled orientations do not work with your schedule, email kayaks@dolphinclub.org and there may be opportunities for one-on-one instruction.

Certification for Out-of-Cove

Once you’ve had an orientation, you’re welcome to practice inside the cove by yourself, or go outside the cove with club swims and other certified members. But to go further afield alone, you’ll want to become a certified paddler. If you’re already comfortable kayaking, certification will likely be a quick process. 

  1. Gain experience.
    Become comfortable kayaking on the water in the cove and with others.
  2. Study the Bay Safety Guide.
    You can read the documents and watch the videos online. There is a short test that you can take on your own time. 
  3. Go on a checkout paddle with another certified kayaker.
    This might often be associated with a small swim. You’ll plan a trip, explain safety considerations and demonstrate your competence at paddling. At the end of this paddle, and if all goes well, you’ll be certified.

Mentors

The following members have significant kayaking experience and are able to provide mentoring and certification.

  • Duke Dahlin
  • Terry Horn
  • Simao Herdade
  • Tim Dumm
  • Kent Redwine
  • Add pictures…. ?

Once certified, you’ll be able to: 

Paddle further afield

Beyond the cove, there are many fun destinations to kayak. Particularly the stretch along the north shoreline of the city towards Chrissy Field. 

Do not paddle in conditions above your ability. If the wind is blowing more than 10kts, consider staying in. If there is a strong ebb or flood, plan your outbound trip against the current, so you have an easy ride home.

Build experience before planning more exposed journeys. If you plan on crossing the Bay, or to Alcatraz, please bring a buddy, and be aware of currents and shipping traffic as you learned in the Bay Safety course.

Pilot private swims on a kayak

Club swimmers rely on pilots to complete longer and more adventurous swims. If you are willing to help pilot such swims, please join our Swim Piloting Class and join our non-motorized pilot mailing list. 

Surfskis

These advanced kayaks are a lot of fun, particularly in the afternoon winds. They do require extra agility and more care. Email surfskis@dolphinclub.org

Crabbing and Fishing

Bring a rod or a hoop net and see if you can bring home dinner. Have a valid fishing license, and be aware of regulations

Join Expeditions

Several times per year longer “expedition” paddles to faraway places are conducted. Destinations include China Camp, Petaluma, and Sacramento. These trips often involve overnight stays and by definition require a certain degree of skill and fitness.

The key to these longer distance rows is preparation and planning. If you’d like to organize an overnight trip, you must arrange with the Boat Captain well in advance. New rowers should keep an eye on the mailing list for opportunities to join experienced club kayakers on such trips. 

Borrow Kayaks 

Four of the club kayaks are available for you to borrow. (which four). Suggestions for destinations further afield include 

  • Tomales Bay
  • China Camp State Park
  • Sausalito
  • Oakland Estuary
  • California Delta

Use this form to request to borrow a kayak. It needs to be approved in advance by the Boat Captain.  You are responsible for any damage that occurs while the kayak is in your care. 

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