We offer a range of classes for paddlers interested in becoming an instructor or guide. If you are interested in working for Portland Paddle let us know before you sign up, and check out our job posting here. 

Maine Sea Kayak Guide Training

Two consecutive weekends: May 9-10 & 16-17, 2020
 8:00 AM to 5:15 PM each day
$375 (includes use of kayaks and paddling gear)  
$100 deposit to register (refundable until 20 days before course) 

This intensive 4-day course is designed to prepare students for the state testing process involved in becoming a licensed Maine Sea Kayak Guide. Although our course is focused on the goal of passing the state guide exam, we also intend for students to develop skills and knowledge that will make them better paddlers and a more competent outdoor leaders. The course is designed to be enjoyable and educational for any sea kayaker who is interested in topics ranging from marine navigation to effective paddling instruction. Please keep in mind that taking this class and passing the exam does not necessarily mean you are a competent guide. Many individuals may need additional practice and study before they are ready to professionally lead trips.


We will spend roughly half the course indoors in a classroom setting and the other half outdoors, mainly on the water. On the last day of the course we will schedule a mock exam in the weeks following for any student who wants one in preparation for the state-administered exam. Portland Paddle can provide kayaks and paddling gear for students to use during the course or they can provide their own.

Why Become a Maine Guide?

Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby

Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby

The state of Maine requires that all professional wilderness guides in Maine (including sea kayaking guides) have a guide license from the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This requirement, which is unique to our state, helps to maintain a high reputation for Maine guides and to encourage best practices. Earning a guide license can open up many professional opportunities. Every year many outfitters and other organizations throughout the state seek out licensed Maine guides to lead trips. Beyond Maine many outfitters also recognize a Maine guide license as an indicator of experience and competence.

When you become a Maine guide you become part of a long history of professional guiding in Maine, starting in 1897 with the legendary Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby, the first licensed Maine guide.

There are several specializations within the state guide licencing system (hunting, fishing, whitewater rafting, etc). Our course is specifically focused on the sea kayaking specialization, and it will only prepare students for taking the sea kayak guide exam. This license can only be used to lead paddling trips (sea kayak or SUP) on Maine’s tidal waters.

Taking the Guide Exam

Our course prepares students for the state exam, but we do not administer the exam or have any control over who passes or fails the exam. Students are responsible for applying to take the exam (which involves a criminal background check) and traveling to Augusta on the date they are assigned by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The state charges a $100 fee to take the exam. If you pass you must pay an additional $135 for a 5-year license.

To learn more about the exam process and start the process visit this webpage on the website of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. We recommend applying early so that you can take the exam shortly after our training ends.

Registering for the Training

We recommend contacting us by email or phone if you are considering registering for this course. We can discuss your past paddling experience and offer you guidance on applying for the state exam. Click the button below when you are ready to register and pay the $100 deposit. Remember that this only registers you for the training — not the exam.

ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor Certification Workshop

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May 15-17, 2020

This intensive 3-day course will help you develop the SUP skills and technical understanding needed to teach others to standup paddle safely & effectively.  It's a great course for anyone who teaches SUP now or plans to in the future.  Also suitable for anyone who desires total immersion into the sport of standup paddling.  This fast-paced workshop includes sessions on personal skills, teaching & learning theory, leadership, paddling concepts, trip planning, incident management and much more.  We'll review all the strokes & maneuvers, discuss board & blade dynamics, practice teaching models, go on a journey and have fun.  Candidates will be assessed on their personal paddling skills, teaching skills, communication, demonstration skills, leadership and technical knowledge.  70% of the course will be on water, 30% on land.  Successful candidates will be certified by the American Canoe Association at Level 1 or 2, but completion of the course does not guarantee certification.  Candidates should have previous sup experience before this course.  Limited to 10 candidates.  The course will be taught by ACA Instructor Trainer Matt Palmariello. 

Cost: $350
Certification Prerequisites:  First aid & CPR certification, 18 years of age or older, ACA membership
How to Sign Up: Click on the blue button below and fill out the form. You will be asked to pay an $80 deposit to reserve your spot. If you need to cancel for any reason you can receive a full refund up until 20 days before the course starts. You will be contacted by the instructor at least 4 weeks before the course starts with additional information about the course itinerary. 

SUP Yoga Teacher Training 

June 12-14, 2020
(See course schedule below)

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Join this fun-filled Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and learn how to safely and effectively teach SUP Yoga. This hands-on course is designed to cover equipment, technique, safety protocols and yoga styles. You'll learn how to properly handle, manage, and assemble all equipment for SUP Yoga, including boards, fins, anchors, paddles, and accessories. You'll learn SUP paddle techniques through the instruction of experienced Maine Guides. And you'll learn the basic water safety and regulations that are critical to minimizing the risks that come with doing yoga while floating. You'll encounter examples of real-life scenarios involving safety and etiquette and you'll get practice dealing with them. 

In addition to basic pranayama techniques and an anatomy overview, the course will cover how to teach two different styles of SUP Yoga: Gentle SUP Yoga and Flow SUP Yoga. There will be particular focus on proper yoga alignment, sound teaching methodology, SUP Yoga for the SUP athlete, and the use of yogic philosophy. We will also discuss the business of SUP Yoga, including how to market your instruction effectively.

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Yoga teachers are eligible to earn 20 hours in Continuing Education credits from Yoga Alliance. This course is also open to individuals who are not yoga teachers but are looking to deepen their yoga practice with SUP Yoga or hone their paddling skills.

This YTT course will be taught by Sarah Graham of Wildcraft Yoga and Healing Arts. Sarah is an E-RYT 500, ASI Level 1 Instructor. She is also a licensed Maine Guide and a Wilderness First Responder.

Cost & Registration 

COST: $400 per person (includes manual and certificate of completion) 

To register please click on the blue button below. You'll be asked to pay a 25% deposit to reserve your spot. The deposit is fully refundable up until 20 days before the course starts. 


Friday June 12, 6:00 PM -9:00 PM
Saturday June 14, 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday June 15, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM