Sea Kayak Coaching and Instruction

Over the years I’ve refined my coaching/instruction style and preferences to primarily focus on individuals and small groups that want to enhance their existing paddling skills. This format allows me to really customize the kayaking instruction and maximize our time together to help you accomplish your goals, rather than teaching to a standard, pre-determined agenda.

I’m also happy to teach any ACA Coastal Kayaking course for your group, or even a combination of courses in preparation for a trip, skills assessment or similar challenge.

An ideal scenario is an individual or small group that are already doing a fair amount of kayaking, but are ready to take their skills to the next level with bracing, edging, rolling, rougher water, the surf zone, rolling, leadership scenarios, etc.

Most sessions are based in Virginia Beach, on the Eastern Shore, or Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I also travel up and down the east coast to teach and coach.

Some of the more typical skill sessions requested include:

  • Bracing, edging and boat control
  • Blending and transitioning strokes
  • Surf Zone Strategies
  • Beginner through advanced sea kayak surfing
  • Advanced Sea Kayak Surfing
  • Open water paddling, navigation and maneuvers
  • Rescues, Recoveries and Eskimo rolling

Please contact me for availability and rates, or visit my courses page to see classes already on the schedule.


A few words from happy kayakers:

“I have taken classes from many instructors – somewhere between 11-13.  My learning experience with you really stands out; I made more progress and in a shorter time frame as a result of your clear and methodical demonstrations, your keen observations of my attempts, and the detailed and specific feedback you provided.  You were also able to break down more complex skills into smaller components which allowed me to master the bigger skill through a series of progressively harder steps.  I felt equally challenged and supported.”

– Laurie C.


“Tom is an expert paddler who teaches in a very approachable and carrying manner.   He makes learning basic strokes and kayaking fun and enjoyable and he formats classes to ensure that learning occurs easily.  Tom particularly excels in helping you take the basic kayaking skills to the next level.  He has a through understanding of nuances of using the body, the paddle position, and  boat edging to be a more effective kayaker.   He has a great eye for spotting what can help an individuals stroke and then layering these opportunities into making a significant difference.

“Tom makes sure you not only understand but also develop a feel for the improvement so it is sustainable.   One aspect of Tom’s coaching that is a real hallmark is the quality of his feedback.   In addition to the engaging on the water, Tom spends the time afterward to provide a focused review of what is working well and suggestions for what you can continue to work on and challenge yourself.   You definitely leave a session with Tom feeling as though you learned a great deal and that your appreciation was exceeded only by how much he enjoyed helping you improve.”

– Tim, Houston, TX


“I have taken classes with many different instructors, including some of the “big” names in the business.  Without a doubt Tom’s teaching style, patience and skill have had the biggest effect on my progress as a paddler.”

Jamie, Charlottesville, VA