What Level Are You?

It is important to us at UKSGS HQ that everyone has an enjoyable, comfortable and safe experience at the 9th UK Storm Gathering Symposium in Pembrokeshire in 2018.

Of course, weather conditions will have an effect on whatever classes we take part in afloat, but our coaches will seek to deliver activity sessions that meet your goals and reflect the publicised activity.

To help you make the best choices, we have set out three levels that link to the activity sessions we plan to run as part of the event. So think about your aims, your current level of experience and how much of a challenge you want during the symposium. Try to be realistic, as we aim to ensure that everyone finds the right activity, the right group and has the right experiences at UKSGS 9.

Many paddlers will find themselves at or around the standard of ‘Level 2.’ With this in mind, many sessions will be ‘Level 1 – 2’ and ‘Level 2 – 3.’ This will allow you to choose activity sessions that will be either within your comfort zone or will stretch you somewhat. It’s your choice!

We will be asking participants to make activity session choices in advance and these will be advertised before we begin to take bookings from December 30, 2017 and closes on March 9, 2018. There will be a little flexibility during the main event to make changes and we will do our best to ensure that you get your first choices.


These sessions can appeal to paddlers of all abilities and levels of experience. The aims are broad and inclusive and do not require specific sea conditions.


If you are used to paddling as a member of a led group and/or have previously restricted your sea kayaking adventures to relatively protected waters and calm conditions (BFT. force 2-3), consider yourself to be at Level 1.

A Level 1 paddler has had some formal instruction and can perform self rescues and peer rescues in sheltered water. They can paddle forward with efficiency, steer their kayak, move sideways and prevent a capsize effectively. They are able to manoeuvre a kayak in tight spaces and can paddle 6 to 10 miles in coastal waters over the course of a day.

We will ensure that Level 1-2 sessions offer the right amount of challenge for your current experience, whilst helping you progress to the next level.


If you are a self-sufficient paddler who has good group awareness, can assess hazards confidently and are comfortable in moderate conditions, Level 2 activity sessions are aimed for you. You should be used to dealing with winds up to BFT. force 4-5 and ocean swells up to six feet, as well as be able to self-rescue effectively.

A Level 2 paddler can maintain an effective course in wind and swell, as well as be able to roll their kayak in open water. They should be proficient with deep water rescues and use of towing systems. A Level 2 paddler has an understanding of trip planning, navigation and equipment selection and be capable of paddling 8 to 15 miles over the course of a day.

If you join a ‘Level 1 – 2’ session you can expect a more relaxed, comfortable experience as an intermediate paddler.

Be prepared for more challenging conditions on ‘Level 2 – 3′ sessions as an intermediate paddler.


If you are used to paddling with competent peers in more challenging conditions (BFT force 5-6) and are confident in breaking waves, surf and stronger tidal streams, you’ll be looking for the more challenging activities at the symposium. Level 3 sessions for will be suitable for sea kayakers looking to enjoy the best conditions we can find each day.

A Level 3 paddler will have a well-rounded sea kayaking background and be able to perform all the fundamental skills in moderate to rough water. A Level 3 paddler will have a reliable roll in open water, is in good physical condition and can paddle 15 to 20 miles over the course of a day. At this level, paddlers should possess good seamanship skills such as environmental/weather and sea state awareness, tidal and trip planning, on-water navigation and be knowledgable about emergency procedures and rough water rescues.

We aim to ensure that you get the right level of challenge, while placing the safety of the group first in our decision-making each day.

Contact us if you have any questions, queries or want more information about the event.

All the best.

The UKSGS Team –  Mark Tozer & Helen Tozer-Wilson & Mike Mayberry 2018

George Maskell-Rough01

Location: Trearddur Bay, Anglesey. Photographer: George Maskell


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