Kayak Touring



Course Syllabus








Kicking Back on a Kayak TripKAYAK TOURING WORKSHOP

(PEAC 1167A)


Department of Sports Science & Physical Education - Idaho State University




Course: Kayak Touring (PEAC 1167A)

Semester: Fall Semester


Time: Workshop Class: held over a long weekend - usually the Labor Day Holiday - check schedule for exact dates

Jackson Lake - Tetons
Place: Course is often held in the Tetons.


Instructor:  Dana Olson

E-mail: olsodana@isu.edu





No text required, but course materials are found on the class Moodle site.


“Introduction to: basic kayak touring skills, safety considerations, overnight camping considerations and backcountry ethics through the Leave no Trace principles..”



The Sports Science and Physical Education Department’s Outdoor Education curriculum at Idaho State is based on a foundation of five national recognized standards.  The following standards apply to this course:  Standard 1 (Content Knowledge), Standard 3 (Safety and Minimal Impact), and Standard 5 (Experiential Skill and Field Experience).



Definition: A sea kayak or touring kayak is a kayak developed for the sport of paddling on open waters of lakes, bays, and the ocean. Sea/touring kayaks are seaworthy small boats with a covered deck and most have the ability to carry overnight gear. They trade maneuverability of whitewater kayaks for cargo capacity, ease of straight-line paddling, and comfort for long journeys.


Sea/touring kayaks are used from a few hours to many weeks, as they can accommodate one to three paddlers together with room for camping gear, food, water, and other supplies. A sea/touring kayak usually ranges anywhere from 10–18 feet for solo craft, and up to 26 feet for tandem craft. Width may be as little as 21" and may be up to 36".


History: The first kayaks made their appearance 4,000 years ago in the Arctic region.  Eskimos used kayaks for hunting, fishing and for transportation purposes in the oceans surrounding the area.  These kayaks were mainly constructed using stitched animal skin that was stretched over a frame.  This frame was made from driftwood or whale bones. The interiors of kayak were lined with animal fat to make it water proof and keep the paddler dry.

The use of kayaks gradually grew around the world and the design varied from place to place depending on the specific need. Kayaking as a sport and as a recreational activity was first developed by a Scottish explorer, John Mac Gregor. He traveled along the shores of Europe and Middle East in a sea kayak, "Rob Roy". Since then, recreational kayaking has been a favorite pass time for many paddlers.

Modern day kayak designs are based on the "Rob Roy".  Recreational kayaks are designed in such a way that it allows hours of comfortable and casual paddling. The cockpit is generally large and has sections to store accessories while paddling.

Over a period of time, kayaks have varied in structure and use.  With a rise in interest in kayaking, many kayak manufacturing companies sprung up in the 1970s. The developers have added to the designs of the kayaks, and today we have different kayaks for every type of kayaking.


Philosophy: Kayak touring puts together challenge, serenity and gives one the ability to paddle inland and ocean waterways.  Touring is a sport that most people can enjoy in some capacity.  Water is a great equalizer which allows for participation at many levels.   Touring is not without risk.  Wind, cold water and currents could still put someone in danger.  Kayak touring as in other sports requires respect of the environment in which one paddles. 




Objective 1 (Academic Objective): To gain an understanding of the history of kayak touring, the evolution of kayak design, and the function and use of accessory equipment. 

Objective 1 Learning Outcomes - By the end of the course, students will:

1a. Have an understanding of the development of the touring kayak from ancient times to the present, including how kayak design has changed over the years, and the progression of materials used in kayak construction.
1b. Understand the function of and the use of kayaking equipment including curved and flat-blade paddles, spray skirts, flotation bags, and other accessories.
1c. Be able to demonstrate the proper use of kayaking safety equipment include helmets, protective clothing, life jackets, and throw ropes.

Objective 2 (Academic Objective):  To develop an appreciation and understanding of the safety procedures involved with kayak touring.

Objective 2 Learning Outcomes – By the end of the course, students will:

2a.  Understand the risks associated with cold water, the procedures to minimize and prevent cold water problems, and treatment of cold related injuries.
2b.  Have an understanding of the role weather and wind plays in kayak touring and how to protect oneself from weather vagaries.

Objective 3 (Motor Skill Objective):  To develop basic motor skills in kayak touring

Objective 3 Learning Outcomes – By the end of the course, students will:


3a.  Know how to properly lift, carry, launch, and sea kayaks.
3b.  Be able to execute efficient paddling strokes.
3c.  Have the opportunity to practice paddling, turning, ferrying and rolling on a multi-day kayaking trip



Grades for this course are determined by using a point system.  The final grade is reached by adding points from three components:

Total Points: 100 pts

25 points - attendance & participation in first evening session
75 points – attendance & participation in the 3-day weekend workshop.



If you have a diagnosed disability or believe that you have a disability that might require “reasonable accommodation” on the part of the instructor, please call the Director, Center of Services for Students with Disabilities, 282-3599. As a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the responsibility of the student to disclose a disability prior to requesting reasonable accommodation. 






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