San Juan Sea Kayaking



Best kayak instructors on San Juan Island – we are often asked to train the guides of other regional companies.

Learn new kayak skills while paddling in the best area for kayaking with killer whales in the US.

Kayak the beautiful sea cliffs & lighthouses of the rugged San Juan Islands nearest Canada.

State-of-the-art kayaks & paddling gear in new condition.

Sea Quest has led kayak tours in the San Juan Islands since 1989 without an accident.

Join An Adventure Of A Lifetime!

Ready to Start Your Adventure?


Would you like to develop your sea kayaking skills and become a safer and more confident paddler? Perhaps you want to lead your kayak expedition or feel better prepared for your daily kayak workout. We can help you reach your goals via a private kayak lesson or our scheduled three-day kayak instruction class in the San Juan Islands.

You can pick any topic for a private kayak lesson or a custom instruction class. We can teach you everything from the basic paddling strokes to a variety of different assisted and self-rescues. More experienced kayakers often want to learn how to brace in rough seas, or perform a roll. And then there are lessons for trip planning, navigation, weather and tide prediction, and much more. If you would like the broadest overview of sea kayaking techniques, we recommend our scheduled three-day kayak lessons class on San Juan Island. We cover it all and you will be able to practice these skills in a safe learning environment under the supervision of experienced instructors. Our sea kayak school has three different sections over the three day class. Part one takes place on a calm lake where you will learn self-rescue and how to rescue others. Part two will take place on the ocean in a protected bay. Here you will learn how to use the various paddling strokes, bracing, and other skills. Part three will emphasis weather interpretation, reading charts and tide tables, navigation, and more. By moving into open waters for part three, we will be able to put this knowledge to work and enjoy the currents and weather that create the kayaking environment.


Private Kayak Lessons – scheduled on a custom basis so call us with your needs. $399 per day.

Pre-scheduled 3-day Kayak Instruction Classes – call/email for dates and availability

Meeting Time & Place: Per custom arrangements, usually Friday Harbor or another location on San Juan Island.


1 to 5+ days

Group Size

All Group Sizes

Age Range

All Ages

Activity Level

Beginner Friendly

Starting From



Every Day Every Day


San Juan Islands, WA

RATED 4.8/5

(134 Reviews)


Frequently Asked Questions​


Yes the price for the lesson includes access to equipment. Kayaks and equipment can be purchased from us after instruction period.
If you are asking the question the answer if likely yes! We highly recommend kayak lessons for anyone who has ambitions of sea kayaking. There are a lot of dangers most people are unaware of until they take a class and most of these dangers can be mitigated with specific techniques.

Kayak lessons cost $350/day for private instruction.

You can roll a kayak in a number of different ways. Most people roll their kayak with their paddle but you can also deploy a paddle float and stick it on the end of your paddle for increased buoyancy.

You can can back into a sea kayak in manner different ways. These include but are not limited to:

  • The cowboy re-entry
  • The vault re-entry
  • The scramble re-entry
  • The paddle float outrigger re-entry
  • The re-enter and roll
  • The storm roll (with assistance of paddle float)

You can turn a sea kayak using the following techniques:

  • Forward sweep stroke
  • Reverse sweep stroke
  • Edging/weighting the kayak to one side
  • Alternating paddle sides and directions

You can move a sea kayak sideways using the following techniques:

  • diving draw stroke
  • sculling draw stroke

You can paddle your sea kayak backwards using the following techniques:

  1. Lean all the way back
  2. Place paddle into the water as far back as possible
  3. Push/pull you paddle forward while performing a sit up
  4. Continue the sit up into a crunch and push as far forward as possible
  5. Repeat on the other side
The most powerful sea kayak stroke blends the use of all muscle groups in your body. You want to focus on locking our your arms somewhere between 90 and 180 degrees at the elbows and then focusing on driving the power from your core and torso. You should be engaging your arms, shoulders, upper back, lower backs, obliques and core all at the same time.
Capsizing and hypothermia are the two greatest dangers while sea kayaking. It is important that you have the skills necessary to reenter your kayak and perform proper kayak maintenance to avoid these dangers!



We provide the following:

Sea kayaks, all related sea kayaking trip gear, safety equipment, transportation to and from Friday Harbor and the launch beach, instruction and expert guides.

We can also provide more technical paddling gear upon request for an additional fee.

What you need to bring:

Beach clothing, beach foot wear, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lunch. Bring a hat, warm sweater and rain jacket if cool, cloudy, windy or rainy. A detailed packing list of camping related household items will be provided after you book your tour!

Depending on the skills you desire to learn you may need a wet suit or dry suit and dive mask.



Click the chart above to open a full-size version in PDF format that you can zoom and print!

For private kayak lessons, we offer tailored training sessions that cater to your schedule and skill level. Training may be conducted at a local lake for foundational skills before intentionally venturing out into challenging conditions.

Our lessons are designed to enhance your kayaking abilities, focusing on safety, technique, and confidence. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine advanced skills, our experienced instructors provide personalized guidance.

With flexible scheduling, we accommodate your availability and pace of learning. You’ll have the opportunity to practice in real-life scenarios, including navigating through varying conditions and honing your decision-making skills.

Through hands-on instruction and constructive feedback, our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and skills needed to enjoy kayaking safely and confidently.


We offer highly customized and flexible training and itineraries for kayak lessons. If you can dream it we can make it happen! Reach out to use over phone or email if you have something specific in mind.