East Coast Paddlesports Symposium

April 20-22, 2018 at James Island County Park

The 28th annual East Coast Paddlesports Symposium is a 3-day immersion in the history, technique, hands-on experience, and fun of kayaking, canoeing, SUP, and more. The symposium is the heart of the Charleston Outdoor Fest, and paddling enthusiasts will not be disappointed. On-water classes are designed to enrich your symposium experience. Symposium participants will also have access to unlimited boat demos from the world's leading manufacturers, social opportunities with the world's top instructors, an event t-shirt, and much more.

I Love It! Where do I Begin?



Determine Your Skill Level.


Assess your skills using the guidelines and descriptions below to best determine where you are as a paddler.

Entry Level to Intermediate Paddler
Courses identified for this group are introducing new skills and environments to entry level paddlers or refining skills and strengthening confidence within the given environment for intermediate level paddlers.
  • People in this group are new to receiving formal instruction or have had some basic formal instruction.
  • You normally paddle in flat-water environments with wind less than 10 mph and may have experience in moving water and/or waves.
  • You should feel some level of comfort in or on the vessel.
  • You understand rescue theory and/or have varied degrees of proficiency executing various rescue techniques.
  • You can safely exit the vessel and/or can comfortably execute a wet exit with a spray skirt on.
All paddling begins with fundamental skills. We refine these skills and are able to paddle in more challenging conditions. Mastery of fundamental paddling techniques with real-world application is the goal of advancing paddlers.

Intermediate to Advanced Paddlers
Courses identified for this group are introducing new skills and environments to intermediate level paddlers or refining skills and strengthening confidence within the given environment for advanced level paddlers.
  • People in this group should have a variety of experience in the cockpit and an ability to perform in unfavorable weather conditions: winds up to 10-12 mph, moving water up to 3kts and/or swell/waves up to three feet.
  • You can perform all of the desired fundamental skills efficiently and effectively. 
  • You can paddle backwards, and maintain a course in wind and current. 
  • You should be able to brace for support. 
  • You are proficient with basic rescues and have an understanding of towing systems.
  • You have some degree of comfort and confidence launching and landing your vessel in surf conditions. 
  • You should have the beginning of a basic roll in flat water. 
  • You understand paddling theories like trip planning, group management, basic navigation, and equipment selection. 

All of the courses within the symposium provide opportunities for paddler growth. Each course is a group experience, and paddlers should be relatively close in skill level to ensure maximum learning potential. Many courses bridge skill levels and are appropriate for the spectrum of paddler skill. If you are unsure how to classify your skills, contact the Paddlesports Coordinator or staff at: 843-795-4386.