Ryan Learned To Kayak At Pelee Wings (and he only fell in once!)

Published On June 27, 2017 | By Ryan Crits | Afternoons

There I was, upside down, in a kayak, underwater.

I reached forward for the handle on the kayak skirt and gave it a good yank. It released me and the water pushed me out of my vessel as it flooded in. I then floated to the service and grabbed onto my capsized boat.

This might sound like a rough day, but that was actually a perfect execution. It was all part of the Kayak Training course at Pelee Wings in Leamington! I took part in the course last Saturday and could immediately see why it was so highly recommended to me by a few Kayaking enthusiasts I know.

If you have any interest in kayaking, what-so-ever, I recommend you take this course. They will teach everything from the basics of paddling, how to rescue yourself from tipping, and how to rescue someone else who has completely capsized.

The day started on the shores of Lake Erie, right at the shop at 636 Point Pelee Drive, learning the equiptment and how to use it. This is where they showed us how to get into the kayak, how to attach the skirt – which keeps water out – and how to properly paddle.

That might sound fairly simple, but it turns out I was paddling all wrong! Van, our instructor, was able to show me why my shoulders and arms always tend to get sore after a long day on the water. With a little instruction, he was able to entirely correct my technique.

The group was made up of about six people, which was perfect, because It allowed the instructor to give each person in the group personal attention to ensure we were perfecting everything he taught us. The group is coached in a friendly atmosphere that relieves any pressure, and allows you to socialize and get to know the others in the group.

After that demonstration we hit the water, where we got to practice moving forward, backwards, and how to properly turn the kayak. After a quick lesson, we were able to completely turn our kayaks around while sitting stationary on the water. The value of this lesson became very apparent once out on the water exploring the streams that come off Lake Erie.

After a break for lunch we headed out to learn a few other tricks of the trade. We learned the “kiss my butt” move, which allowed to you glide across the water on an arch, with one end in the air, as if you’re in the movie Tokyo Drift (easier than it sounds, trust me), and how to stop yourself when you feel like you’re about to topple over into the water.

Quite possible though, the most important thing we learned, was the “T” rescue. Safety is always important, and in the event that you, or someone your with flips their kayak, you need to know how to get them back in it, and dry! Each person in our crew got a chance to be the person being rescued, and the rescuer. Honestly, nothing will instil more confidence in you while on the water, then being assured in your mind that you know just what to do in the case of capsizing. You cannot put a value on  safety.

After we learned all we needed to know, we headed out for a late afternoon paddle, chatted, and enjoyed ourselves. When it was all said and done, we all felt like pro kayakers, and made a bunch of new friends!


Pelee wings Nature Store, as mentioned above, is located at 636 Point Pelee Drive in Leamington. The level 1 kayaking course costs $95 with their Kayak and gear, or $75 if you bring your own. They also offer personal kayak training at $50 per hour, or just $35/hr if you have two – four people in your group.

They also offer Friday Night Paddling, where you can head out on the water with other paddlers, learn from them, or just meet some new friends!

If you haven’t been in Pelee Wings Nature Store, you should stop by as well. They have a large inventory of Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Canoe’s, Camping Gear and much more. They also have everything you will need in accessories and safety equipment.

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