Trip Ratings

Paddlers should be aware that paddling on the ocean is generally more physically demanding than on sheltered waters. A reasonable fitness level may be required for even moderate distances. Being unfit or out of practice, may reduce your ability to safely take part in a proposed trip.

WAKE trips are all rated for intended conditions, paddling distance and speed. As weather changes a trip may become more or less difficult. The list below describes these ratings.


  • LEVEL I:  Wet exit ability or permission of leader. Expect protected waters, possibly light breeze.  Current not a factor; easy landings.
  • LEVEL II:   Experience with wet exits, assisted rescues and bracing. Potential for enough wind to create waves. Wind waves of 1-2′ might break over bow. Potential for some chop. Current to 1-2 knots. Easy to moderate landings.
  • LEVEL III:  Confident assisted and self-rescue abilities and bracing. May be swells, eddy lines to cross, moderate to strong wind effects, moderate to difficult landings. Current to
    3-4 knots.
  • LEVEL IV:  Ability to brace automatically. Confident self-rescue ability; Eskimo roll preferable. Navigation skills. Expect some exposed water and crossings, moderate to strong currents,  swells, moderate to strong wind effects for extended periods of time, moderate to difficult landings, possible surf conditions.
  • LEVEL V:  Advanced paddling and seamanship skills. Self-reliant paddling and rescue skills.
    Dependable Eskimo roll ability. Possibly long crossings, rugged and/or exposed coast,
    large swells, surf, strong currents, turbulent water, difficult landings and/or strong
    wind effects.


  1. Daily paddling expected not to exceed three hours and/or 6 nautical miles.
  2. Expect 3-4 hours and/or 6-10 nautical miles.
  3. Expect 4-6 hours and/or 10-15 nautical miles .
  4. Expect more than 6 hours paddling and/or more than 15 nautical miles.


  1. < 3 knots. Putsy Paddle. You may have a love affair with your sofa. When a good wind is in your face, you may be going backwards.
  2. 3 to 4.5 knots consistently. Average touring speed. You are in good paddling shape.
  3. > 4.5 knots consistently. Working pretty hard, sweaty and tired. When the conditions get tough, you can shift into a higher gear. Last one buys the beer!

Important! Club trips are planned and led by WAKE Trip Leaders. Whether a trip is carried out as planned or not, will depend on conditions on the day and the composition of the group on the day of the trip. The trip leader has the right to refuse any paddler who does not meet the required standard (must be able to wet exit safely) or does not have the required equipment for the trip (at a minimum: a PFD, sprayskirt, paddlefloat, extra clothes, a kayak with bulkheads or comparable flotation, and dress for potential immersion).

You must be candid with the trip leader when discussing your participation in a trip. If you have any doubts about your fitness or ability to paddle at the expected level, you must fully disclose all of your concerns. If asked, you must be ready and willing to demonstrate your skills.