Curriculum
Evolution Guide School
Sunshine Coast & Haida Gwaii

We cover the curriculum topics required to qualify for Association of Canadian Sea Kayak Guides certification.  The ACSKG's primary training emphasis is incident prevention, followed closely by the requirement to comprehensively train for incident response.

Additionally, we practice numerous leadership and communication skills that can be successfully applied to many aspects of everyday life.  In order to most effectively lead a group, one must first effectively lead oneself.  Our course provides countless daily insights into who we are and who we may become in order to maximize effectiveness.  Simple, universal communication skills are taught and practiced daily.  There are opportunities to share, develop and experiment with guiding principles and philosophies.

Our Haida Gwaii course explores a challenging, world-class kayaking destination.  Simply spending a week paddling in this remote area tends to profoundly affect people.  Combining this with our daily course material enables us to offer a unique and memorable expedition that can permanently enhance the way a person perceives guiding, leadership, kayaking and communication.

Our Sunshine Coast course is more easily accessible from Vancouver.
Both courses follow the same curriculum and practice the same universal guiding principles.



Leadership, Communication & Decision Making
  • Group Travel
  • pod formation and spacing
  • lead and sweep positions
  • group communication
  • travel hazards
  • recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses
  • balancing the group's strengths and weaknesses
  • Judgment & Decision Making
  • importance of forethought
  • identification of factors involved in decisions
  • probability and consequence
  • deferring to the conservative decision
  • awareness of the group and environment
  • stress as a factor
  • Communication & Conflict Resolution
  • inter-group, group-leader and leader-leader communication
  • conflict recognition and resolution
  • Leadership Styles
  • awareness of different styles
  • pros & cons of different styles
  • development and effectiveness of personal style

Capsize Recovery & Incident Response
  • Capsize Recovery
  • prevention
  • ongoing contingency planning
  • assisted rescue
  • solo rescue
  • rolling (an exposure to rolling only)
  • managing the group
  • post-rescue assessment
  • flares, emergency equipment and clothing
  • Incident Response & Evacuation Procedures
  • pre-trip organization
  • implementing evacuations
  • documentation and reporting
  • Towing
  • pros & cons of towing
  • options for towing with one and two kayaks
  • tow system designs


Trip Planning & Camping Skills
  • Menu Planning & Preparation
  • recognizing and accommodating dietary needs
  • packaging and organization techniques
  • cooking techniques
  • sanitation
  • presentation
  • Pre-Trip Planning & Contingency Plans
  • reviewing the group's medical information
  • route and schedule planning
  • alternative routes and schedules
  • familiarization with local weather and sea state
  • evaluating route hazards
  • assessing food and equipment
  • creating evacuation plans
  • Ongoing Trip Planning & Contingency Plans
  • group assessment
  • keeping a log
  • continual assessment of conditions
  • reassessment of pre-trip plans
  • Campsite Selection
  • exposure, access and condition of foreshore
  • drinking water
  • suitability for group size
  • Minimum Impact Camping
  • familiarization with minimum impact practices
  • campsite selection
  • cooking; location and fire use
  • harvesting
  • visual impact
  • inter-group etiquette


Equipment & Clothing
  • Kayak Design & Features
  • parts of kayak
  • design features affecting kayak performance
  • singles and doubles
  • flotation (bulkheads & hatches)
  • construction and materials
  • Kayak Repair & Maintenance
  • pre-trip maintenance
  • field repair of kayaks and equipment
  • repair kits - supplies and tools
  • Clothing Options
  • fabrics and layering
  • rain, wind and sun apparel
  • Communication Devices
  • licensing
  • emergency use
  • weather reports
  • storage, accessibility and care
  • pros & cons of different devices (region-specific applications)
  • Other Equipment
  • Coast Guard requirements
  • paddle designs and maintenance
  • sprayskirt designs and maintenance
  • PFD designs and maintenance
  • group care of equipment


Paddling Skills
  • Launching & Landing
  • loading and unloading kayaks
  • beach surfaces
  • methods of launching and landing
  • order of launching and landing
  • kayak stability while launching and landing
  • group safety
  • Paddling Mechanics
  • paddle grip
  • body position
  • torso rotation
  • feathered & unfeathered
  • Propulsion Strokes
  • forward stroke
  • reverse stroke
  • Maneuvering Strokes
  • sweep & reverse sweep
  • draw (in-water & out-of-water recovery)
  • Stability Strokes
  • low brace
  • high brace

Navigation
Navigation
  • Chart Interpretation
  • chart preparation and accessibility
  • colour scheme
  • scale and distance
  • shoreline features
  • land features and topography
  • sea floor bathymetry
  • common symbols and hazard symbols
  • use of: Chart 1 Symbols, Abbreviations & Terms
  • interpreting tide and current tables
  • Compass Use
  • types of compasses
  • parts of compass
  • deviation and variation
  • orientation of chart with compass
  • taking a bearing from landmarks
  • taking a bearing from the chart
  • planning a route with bearings
  • paddling a bearing
  • drift compensation
  • triangulation
  • Currents
  • current tables
  • current speeds and effects
  • eddies
  • narrowing and shallowing effects
  • ferrying
  • wind opposing current
  • predicting slack and maximum flood/ebb
  • Launching
  • assessing sea state and weather conditions
  • near shore hazards
  • Natural Ranges
  • using ranges to determine drift and progress
  • using ranges to complement compass bearings
  • On Water Navigation
  • awareness of sea state
  • recognizing developing seas
  • recognizing landmarks
  • Surf Management
  • on shore evaluation of surf
  • refraction, diffraction, diffusion and concentration
  • sets
  • launching in surf
  • landing in surf
  • Tides
  • tide theory
  • tide tables
  • seasonal and geographical variations
  • consequences of high and low tides
  • overnight tide height predictions
  • low pressure and storm effects


Weather
  • Weather Forecasts
  • obtaining marine forecasts
  • update times
  • terms and language
  • importance of ongoing monitoring
  • using local knowledge to interpret forecast
  • Weather Interpretation
  • recognizing wind direction and speeds
  • recognizing fronts and system changes
  • effects on sea state
  • daily wind speed variations
  • lee and windward shores
  • combining forecasts and local observation
  • keeping log entries
  • Weather Theory
  • atmospheric pressure
  • high pressure systems - characteristics
  • low pressure systems - characteristics
  • fronts
  • local effects - funneling and bending
  • onshore and offshore winds
  • fog