I started looking into having some lessons, and the person I was reccomended to charges $30/hour and thinks around 3 hours will get me the basics (entering/exiting, stroke technique) and self rescue. Is this a competitive rate? Are there any other things I need to be interested in other than the above? I will be suing it for exercise on the lake (90% of use) and to paddle MILD rivers when a group of friends want to get together for a float trip.

sounds decent
The few instructors I have talked with about private lessons are like $200 a day. Standard group lessons that cover this in my area are $75-100 per class.

private instruction
Endless River Adventures charges $150 for a half day of private instruction ($120 if you provide your own transportation). Nantahala Outdoor Center charges $190 for a half day of PI so a rate of $30 hr is probably quite reasonable. You might see if there is a local paddling club in your area. Clubs will often have instructional programs for relatively low rates.

knowledge is power
the best thing it will give you is movement from novice towards intermediate paddler thru experience with the essential safety, directional control, forward stroke, and confidence in wind, waves, current, etc.

as novices we fear what is safe and are fearless about what is dangerous.

by the end of the three hours the instructor will give you a real life experience in what you will need to go from there.

that is the no pressure way of learning, rather than say, OK I will have the essentials at the end of the three hours.

I remember being required to get Wilderness Medical training, starting with a weekend certification. We all thought, piece of cake, OK, when done we will have all we need. WRONG! It totally blew my mind how little I knew, and how much one could know to deal with outdoor emergencies. I eventually got my Wilderness First Responder Cert as part of the excitement in learning new skills and seeing the need up close and personal.

Enjoy it!

rate fine; more sessions, more people
I agree the rate seems good or even cheap. You might get more out of it if you could have 3 or more different sessions of one hour each on different days, where you could follow up by spending several hours trying to apply what you learned and being able to ask questions about your experieince at the start of the next class. Then you might get even more than that if there were other people in the class with you who could join you in the after-class practice sessions. And then you might get even more if some of these people turned out to be available as future paddling partners of a similar skill level who are interested in doing the same kinds of trips as you.

Perhaps with the help of your prospective instructor you could find 2-3 more people who are interested in lessons, and make it worth the instructor’s while to have a multiday class.

by the way, Peter-CA
California instruction prices are virtually double what they are in Oregon. Figure that in next time you choose a place to vacation.

well said
All of that is absolutely true. Sometimes you have to try a skill, fail at it, sleep on it and then try it again the next day for it to “click”.

As for taking instruction with others, it is often very easy to see the mistakes others are making when you can’t see your own. But sometimes seeing others make the same error you are making allows you to spot the flaw in your own technique and correct it.

If you haven’t paddled a lot, spending several hours on the water working on new skills nonstop can be tiring. Having others in the group gives you a little break as you watch them take their turn.

I appreciate all of the responses and advice!! Want to start out the right way, rather than forming bad habits that are hard to break!!

Learning from people in the class
You will learn far more with a class of several students than a private lesson. You will get to see some people struggle and fail with things and get to hear commentary about that as well as seeing how certain techniques adapt better with different boats. Plus you’ll get a chance to try group rescues with different body types.

good approach
I have noticed beginners who first capsize can have on their spray skirts and panic and not remember to pull the cord to slip out. I got lucky that this hapended to someone else and not me on my first day. this guy had his friend helping him out and gave me some tips as well. He was fine but managed to inhale some water and was really shaken up.

I find it was frustrating learning the proper strokes on the first day but at least I retained the right technique and soon had it down.

I had a pretty good forward stroke but after good instructions and video discovered some subtle variations that relieved a lot stress points.

All day group lessons are a good deal and a great way to meet other kayakers.

price of lessons
From many years of kayak instruction I am now convinced that lessons don’t give students skills. They teach students how to practice correctly and that practice (experience) produces the skills.

The $30 an hour is relative to the instructor’s teaching skills, again gained by practicing instruction.