I moved to NYC in 1981 soon after buying my first kayak. Paddling on the Hudson River,I had the good fortune to meet some of the first sea kayakers in the area, and quickly became enamored of exploring coastal waters. Work demands and the move to inland Washington County in upstate New York led to a hiatus from paddling for several years. Before long the irresistible lure of the open water brought a return to paddling. Returning from a week long trip around the highlands of Cape Breton in 1996, it was decided that love of kayaking, combined with the frequent interest met when launching our sea kayaks into Lake George and the Hudson River, meant that Upstate New York needed quality instruction and well designed sea kayaks. Thus was born NORTHCOUNTRY KAYAK.

In the last few years larger shops offering quality sea kayaks have opened in the area, so I no longer sell kayaks. I concentrate solely on offering skillful teaching and enjoyable lessons. I continue to offer Kokatat paddling gear because of the importance of proper clothing to the safety and enjoyment of kayaking.

I am certified by the British Canoe Union at the 4-star skill level of sea kayaking(formerly called advanced proficiency). In 1998 I attained certification as a British Canoe Union Coach level 3, and currently progressing toward Coach level 4.


The British Canoe Union (BCU) system is a highly developed and comprehensive program of training, assessment, and coach education for kayakers. In the U.S. a large number of sea kayakers have participated in the BCU scheme, improving their skills and safety awareness. BCU Instuctors work to constantly improve their skills while honing their teaching methods. The quality of BCU instruction is regarded as first class worldwide due to its dedicated coaches, some 30 years of development on the often challenging coastal waters of the United Kingdom, and its programs for advanced paddlers. Although the BCU is the governing body of paddle sport in the UK (England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland) its popularity in the U.S has allowed the establishment of a North American branch and an associated body of coaches and students. More than 20,000 BCU coaches worldwide teach more than 800,000 students annually. See www.bcuna.com for more information.

The BCU Coaching System offers two tracks - Skill ("Star") Awards, for training in individual kayaking skills, and Coaching Awards, for the professional kayak instuctor. A BCU paddling skills course will focus learning on a progression of skills appropriate to a paddler's level of experience helping him/her to become an independent paddler as soon as possible. In the personal skills training used by the BCU, students are exposed to proper practices in the training programs, and then encouraged "practice" (code for go have fun paddling) in order to develop and incorporate these skills into their "motor memory", making the skills second nature.

Within each BCU discipline, the BCU has produced a series of personal paddling skills syllabi. These syllabi provide guidance for coaches and students in the proper performance of the skills, and are also the assessment criteria for each skill level, (available at: http://www.bcuna.com/Pages/Main-Pages/Literature.shtml).

Personal skill and leadership awards, the Star Awards:

1 Star

A one-star paddler will have some basic knowledge of kayaking and paddling in general. This level encourages safe practice, regard for your equipment, and fun.

2 Star

A kayaker with knowledge of basic strokes on flatwater - "emphasizing being able to create the desired movement of the boat through developing an understanding of cause and effect rather than concentrating on rigidly defined strokes". A sampling of 2 Star skills includes: efficient forward paddling, moving the kayak sideways, good bracing either side, good stern rudder, low brace turn. Also included are the beginnings of sculling draw, sculling for support, Eskimo rescue emphasizing the "use of hips and knees to recover from an upside down position", deep water rescues and edging.

3 Star

A kayaker with excellent control of the boat on flatwater, beginning to control the boat in conditions - The beginning of intermediate level paddling, showing comfort and confidence, with crisp, definite strokes and maneuvers. 3 Star skills includes: efficient forward paddling, paddling a reverse figure-8 course cleanly, turning the kayak by low brace turn and a bow rudder, moving the kayak sideways while on the move, sculling draw, draw on the move. This award also includes committed high and low braces on both sides, edging to assist turning, hanging draw, deep water rescues, towing and use of tow line, and the beginnings of rolling.

4 Star 

A kayaker with the skills, equipment, and judgement necessary for a day trip in conditions, the beginning of advanced paddling, with transferal of 3 Star skills to the sea. This enables you to take your kayak out in up to three feet of surf (4.5' breaking waves), three knots of current and 17 knots of wind in a group with a competent leader. An important part of 4 Star skills involves having good knowledge of the kayak and equipment, the effects of tide, current, and wind, basic safety procedures, hypothermia/first aid, the use a chart and compass to plan a paddling trip, and group awareness.

5 Star  

Five Star Sea is a leadership award for advanced conditions. Successful assessment states that you have sufficient knowledge and skill to lead a group of adequate ability with safety in British conditions, i.e., more than three feet of surf, tidal streams of over 3 knots, and more than 25 knots of wind. This is intended for paddlers who paddle in areas where tidal races, headlands, open crossings, swell and challenging coastlines are encountered.

Coaching Awards:  

Coach 1

A supervisory award

Coach 2

Coaching on sheltered waters

Coach 3 

Coaching on the open sea

Coach 4 

Coaching in more extreme conditions


including equipment for 1st time kayakers (will schedule sessions for 2-4 people)

$45 first hour, then $25 per hour (Individual), additional $15/5 per Person (Group, max. 4)  (rental of equipment in addition, if needed)


CUSTOM LESSONS (or trips) $160/ 6 hours for 2, plus $40 each additional person, plus boat rental if needed, $60/ for 1day for 2, plus $30 each additional person.

in our pond, no further charge until you roll successfully


  • INTRODUCTION TO KAYAKING: 3 hours on quiet water for new paddlers

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Contact us at 290 Brownell Hollow, Eagle Bridge NY 12057, tel# 518-677-3040 or contact via email

©1998, 2006 last revised 1/10/06