Frequently Asked Questions


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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where are you located?
Potomac Paddlesports is located in Potomac, Maryland, just north of Washington DC. Our paddlesports programs operate on the breathtaking 10 mile stretch of the Potomac River and C&O Canal on the Maryland side of the Potomac in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Our access points are just outside the DC beltway at the Angler's lot and Great Falls Park on MacArthur Blvd, as well as Pennyfield Lock and Riley's Lock and off of River Rd. We also teach our sea kayaking lessons at Truxtun Park and Mayo Beach, both in Annapolis, MD. Our retail store is located at 9812 Falls Road, Potomac, Maryland 20854 in the mall next to Citbank.

2. Why should I sign up for lessons?
Our lessons maximize fun while providing students with an organized, professionally run experience, so that they will learn faster, stay safer, and be more likely to stick with the sport. We've become the region's top paddling school for beginners without sacrificing the personal attention, small class size, and client service levels that got us established in the first place. We are also actively engaged in restoring and protecting the health of the Potomac watershed. Please take a moment to read what our clients are saying about us here and read more about our company here.

3. Do I have to bring my own equipment?
We provide all equipment for all outdoor lessons, trips, and skill clinics. The only exception is our Level 2 Whitewater Lessons. Equipment is available for hire for our Intermediate Sea Kayaking Trips. We do not provide equipment for indoor pool sessions unless you are signed up for the Indoor/Outdoor Package.

4. What kind of kayaks and paddleboards do you use?
We use forgiving and stable designs that are perfect for beginners!

5. How do I schedule my lessons?
Schedule at you own pace. Each trip or lesson is offered on multiple dates and you select one date for each event. We let you choose the dates for each lesson that fits with your schedule and pace. Scheduling is available online 24 hours a day with our self-scheduling software.

6. How long do I have to complete the program?
When you register for any "package", you have up to two years to complete all of the lessons or trips.

7. What if it rains?
We would have missed some great paddling experiences had we cancelled because of the forecast. All lessons and trips meet rain or shine and we make a decision just prior to start. We will postpone if there is thunder and lightining.

8. Do you sell equipment?
Yes! We have a retail store in Potomac, Maryland. (See question 1 above.) We have the best selection of quality paddling gear and our store is staffed by friendly, world class paddlers and certified instructors. Come visit a paddling shop that's owned, stocked, and run by paddlers! Click here for more information.

9. I have been paddling for a while. Can I skip the Fundamentals lesson?
Our experience has shown that most students who have either been paddling for a while or have taken lessons with other organizations reap tremendous benefits by attending the Fundamentals lesson.

10. Can I schedule two lessons in the same day?
The physical and mental challenges associated with learning to kayak are often underestimated. Individuals who have insisted on attending two lessons in the same day report that they should have listened to us when we advised against it.

11. Do I really need the items listed in your lesson packet?
Yes. You'll want proper paddling clothing if your lesson plan includes in-water exercises where your body will be immersed, especially when air and water temperatures are less than 75 degrees. (Keep in mind that the high temperature is usually reached in the middle of the day.)

12. How do I redeem a Gift Code?
New clients should enroll themselves in the trip or class to redeem a Gift Code. Copy and past the Gift Code at the bottom of the registration form. Existing clients need to log in and click the "upgrade/purchase" link.

13. How old do you have to be to participate?
We find success with ages 13 and up for our whitewater and sea kayaking programs. Younger paddlers enjoy our new teen camp or our beginner trips.

14. Do I need to bring a waiver to each lesson or trip?
Yes, please bring a completed waiver to each lesson or trip. It's a good idea to complete one (leaving the signature and date blank), photocopy it, and have a supply in your glove box.

15. Can I show up a few minutes late to Skill Clinics?
No. Please arrive fifteen minutes early to all scheduled events. We like to start on time. Individuals late to Practice Clinics will not be eligible to participate.

16. Do you offer private lessons?
Private lessons with our Program Directors are available for $200 for two hours and $275 for three hours on Thursdays or Fridays. Please call our office to arrange a private lesson.

17. Do you just show up at Skill Clinics and get gear or are there instructors there?
Our Free Skill Clinics are structured and coached like lessons except we do not maintain our normal class ratio. Many of our students have major breakthroughs at these sessions. We go out to socialize aftewards, too.

18. Do you rent equipment?
We rent equipment to our students and guests during lessons, trips, and practice.

Be Safe. Be Skilled!

Potomac Paddlesports
Potomac, MD 20854

(301) 881-2628

Office Hours:

7 Days: 8:00am-6:00pm