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 11-12 & 18-19, 2019
 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 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. 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. Please contact us by email or phone to discuss your past paddling experience before booking a spot in the course.

Learn more...

Among the areas you can expect the course to cover are sea kayak navigation; sea kayak rescues; stand-up paddleboarding strokes & rescues; managing on-water crises; trip-planning; dynamics of tides & currents; and wildlife of the Maine coast. We'll customize the course based on the background of the students who sign up.

WHY BECOME A GUIDE? Anyone who leads sea kayaking or coastal stand-up paddleboarding trips in Maine must have a guide license. Maine's guide licensing system is unique in the country, and a Maine guide license has become a widely-respected credential. Although there are other national and international professional certifications for sea kayaking and SUP, the Maine guide license is the only credential that allows you to legally lead trips in our state. The sytem also has a rich and long history: Maine's first licensed guide, Cornelia "Fly Rod" Crosby, passed her exam in 1897. Job prospects for Maine sea kayak guides are generally good. There are many paddlesport outfitters in Maine and they are often searching for qualified and licensed guides to hire.

HOW THE GUIDE LICENSING PROCESS WORKS: The Maine guide oral and written exams, which are coordinated by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, are challenging and require significant preparation. Our course prepares you for the state's exam process, but we do not administer the exam. We will help you with the process of scheduling the exam with the state. Most people take the exam immediately after taking a guide training course like ours, but some prefer to continue gaining experience and knowledge for several months or longer before testing.

Read this page on the state website for more information about the process: (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/programs-resources/registered-maine-guides.html). You should expect the testing process to play out over a few weeks and possibly a couple months. Please note that the state charges $100 to take the exam and another $135 to receive the license if you pass. Starting in 2018 applicants must also undergo a criminal background check and there is also a cost associated with that. You must renew your license every five years, but you do not have to retake the test.

YOUR TRAINERS: This course will be led by Suzanne Blackburn and Zack Anchors, who together have roughly 40 years of experience as licensed Maine guides. They are both ACA-certified instructors and have spent much of their lives exploring the woods, mountains and waters of Maine. Suzanne and Zack will be assisted by other Portland Paddle guides, including several who have taken the guide exam in recent years and can offer up-to-date insight on the testing process. We will also bring in a couple guest speakers to share their expertise on topics that could include marine navigation, natural history, the Maine Island Trail or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

OUR GOALS: Our ultimate goal for this course is for students to pass the guide exam and make progress towards gaining the skills, kndowledge and experience needed to work as a professional guide. However, many students will need to devote a significant amount of time to studying after the course to be fully ready to take the test and/or work as a guide. By the time the course is finished we intend for every student to have a concrete sense of what they need to study and practice in order to be as prepared as possible for the test. We also design the course for students to have fun, learn a lot about a wide range of topics and spend a significant amount of time paddling Casco Bay with other folks who love the Maine coast.

Contact Zack at portlandpaddle@gmail.com or 207-370-9730 if you have questions. Upon registration you will receive an email with additional information.

Sign Up Now

ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor Certification Workshop

SUP Paddleboard Guide Tour Portland Maine.jpg

June 21-23, 2019

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. 

Sign Up Now

SUP Yoga Teacher Training 

June 14-16, 2019
(See course schedule below)

yoga mw.jpg

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.

Copy of P1390939.JPG

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 14, 6:00 PM -9:00 PM
Saturday June 15, 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday June 16, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Register Now