Are the Sea Kayak Australia (SKA) staff qualified and experienced?
All SKA guides have at least 5 years sea kayaking experience, a current Sea Kayaking Instructor or Sea Guide award from Australian Canoeing and a current first aid certificate. They also have a background in outdoor education and a passion for the wilderness of Australia.
What size are the tour groups?
Group sizes vary from 4 to a maximum of 16 people. A ratio of 8 clients (in 4 double sea kayaks) to 1 Sea Guide.
What is your client to guide ratio for courses?
1:6 for Introduction to Sea Kayaking, 1:3 for Intermediate Skills.
Do I have to book for sea kayak tours/courses?
You will also need to download, complete and return the following forms
Do I need to be an experienced sea “kayaker” in order to go on a day or multi day tour?
We recommend coming along on a half day kayak tour with us before a multi day expedition. It is a good idea to help you become comfortable in a kayak for a few hours before booking onto a multi day tour where you will be paddling 3-4 hours every day for 3 days. We offer a half price deal on 1 half day or full day tour when you book onto a multi day expedition in advance to give you the opportunity to get some experience prior to the expedition.
Do you provide transport and where do we meet for the tours?
You are normally responsible for getting there. Naturally you could car pool with other participants. We can take up to 5 people as long as we are given sufficient notice (3-5 days) and we have the 7 seater vehicle available. Tour meeting locations are listed on the web site under each tour and will also be emailed to you once a booking is made.
What forms will I need to complete before the tour or course?
Before the trip all clients must complete an Assumption of Risk form and a Adults Medical Form.
How fit do I need to be?
You will get more out of the experience if you are reasonably fit however all tours suit clients with only average fitness. Sea kayaking is about technique not muscle bulk. The sea kayak guide will factor in when rest stops and snack breaks should be taken to ensure energy levels are maintained. SKA staff has the right to exclude any clients who may cause danger to themselves or others before commencement of the tour.
How much and how far do we paddle in a day?
For half day tours, no longer than 6 km or 2 hours. For day tours 8 to 12 km or 4.5 hours. For Multi day tours 8 to 15 km a day or 3 to 5 hours, however that really depends on the weather, tides, activities along the way, group fitness and skill.
Do you accept single bookings for a sea kayak tour?
Yes don't worry, sea kayaking is very social and there will be a lot of people who don't know each other. You will be matched up with another "single" in the group to paddle in a double sea kayak. If there are only couples in the group then your kayak guide will make up a pair.
Can I book a large group on a tour?
Yes you can. Group bookings are great fun for participant and guide. You will receive a cheaper rate per person if you have 6 or more people and have the ability to chose your own date. Let us know if you have a group larger than 12 to ensure we can cater for your needs.
What type of sea kayaks does SKA have for hire?
SKA has single and double sea kayaks. The double sea kayaks are plastic "Esperantos" (6.0 m long) and fibreglass "Pittaraks" (6.6 m long) both of which are fast ocean going sea kayaks. These sea kayaks are also very stable with ample storage space and are equipped with a rudder for easy turning. The single sea kayaks are plastic Venture "Capellas", Q Kayak "Penguins", "Skua" and Wilderness Systems "Tsunamai 16". We also hire out kayak trailers, dry bags, spray jackets, tents, sleeping mats and stoves. Why not hire and paddle down the Yarra River - just 300m from our base or take the kayaks away for the weekend?
Do I need to be able to swim?
Yes you must be able to swim at least 50 metres non-stop. If you can't swim give us a call to discuss.
What equipment do you supply for day and multi day tours?
Sea kayak, paddle, spray deck, buoyancy vest, pump, spray jacket, dry bags, paddle, thermal top, spray jacket. Equipment the sea kayak guides carry includes: first aid kit, spare paddle, tow rope, EPIRB, VHF radio, mobile phone and satellite phones where applicable. Multi day tours also includes the supply of tents, sleeping mats, stoves and plates etc.
What do I get for my money?
What do I need to bring?
Hat, sun glasses, sun block, shorts/bathers, water bottle, old runners/wet suit booties/thongs, spray jacket and thermal top (SKA can supply). Don’t forget change of clothes. No wet suits. Dry clothes and camping gear for multi day tours. An Equipment Checklist and How to Pack Your Kayak documents may be downloaded from the web site. For day tours lunch is provided.
Under what circumstances would a tour or course be cancelled?
How old do I need to be?
I am a large person, will I be able to fit into your sea kayak?
What type of kayak can I use for your tours?
What type of lunch do you provide on your day tours?
Do I have to go on a guided tour or can I hire kayaks to paddle down the Yarra River?
No, you don't have to go on a tour. We also hire out kayaks from our base in Abbotsford for self guided trips down this very easy section of the Yarra River. Meeting at our base in Abbotsford we will provide you with all appropriate paddling and safety gear, walk 300 metres down to the river with you with the kayak on a trolley, give you some basic instruction and paddling technique and away you go!
Do I need kayaking experience to hire out a kayak on the Yarra river?
No, most people who hire kayaks from us haven't paddled since school or have never been in a kayak before. The Yarra River is super safe with virtually no current and the double kayaks we provide you with are extremely stable. Experience is preferable for hiring a single kayak but not totally neccesary, we would always recommend paddling in a small group for first timers in a single kayak without previous experience.
How far and for how long should I paddle from Abbotsford?
Due to Dights Falls being a short distance upstream from the put in point, downstream towards the city is the only option from Abbotsford. The choices you will need to make include whether you would like to do a half day hire (upto 3hours) or full day hire (upto 8 hours) and also if you would like to turn around half way and return to Abbotsford or paddle one way and organise for us to pick you up at Herring Island or in the city for a small fee. First time paddlers need to take into account their fitness, likely paddle speed and any breaks along the way when deciding which option to go for. If you have children or young people in your group, the half day option may be the best idea. From Abbotsford to Herring Island is around 9kms one way (2 hour paddle) and Pricnes Bridge in the City is around 12kms (3 hour paddle).
Can I bring my kids along on a hire down the Yarra River?
We can accomodate children of most ages for kayak hire down the river as long as they are with at least one adult. For kids 8 years and up who are willing to paddle, they can sit in the front seat of the kayak with a responsible and fit adult in the back. For young kids around 5-8 years old, we have a middle seat in some of our double kayaks which is a great spot for a young child who isn't likely to paddle much but wishes to come along.
What do I need to bring to hire a kayak?
We will provide you with all kayak specific equipment including kayak, PFD, paddle, pump, map and dry box. You need to wear clothing appropriate for the outdoors i.e. not cotton clothing or jeans. Shorts, sport shirt, hat, sunglasses and a warm jumper or rain jacket depending on the day. You should bring sunscreen, a drink bottle, at least one phone (can go in a dry bag or box) and some snacks or a packed lunch to have along the way depending on how long you are hiring for. It is a good idea to either bring a packed lunch or eat a meal just before kayaking to ensure you have enough fuel for your body.
Am I likely to capsize my kayak if I hire?
The double sea kayaks that we hire out are extremely stable and very difficult to capsize in the ocean let alone on the calm flat water of the Yarra river. Single kayaks require slightly more concentration but are still quite stable. As long as you remain concentrating and are resonably fit and well balanced, you will find paddling a single kayak without capsizing easy.