New York Paddlefest On-water Classes

Offering a schedule of both Kids and Adult Kayak Clinics. Sponsored by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company,  WeKanu, and volunteer Paddlesport Instructors certified through the American Canoe Association (ACA)

Class size is limited. Pre-register today!

Saratoga Paddlefest Classes, Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7

Quick Start Your Kayak

(1.5-2.0 hours, $24)

Geared toward: Beginners

Are you new to kayaking or have you been paddling for a while, but never had the opportunity to learn proper technique?  This course is for you.

We will cover:  handling your kayak on shore, entering and exiting the kayak, forward stroke, basic turns, stopping, going backwards, sideway movement, stability, wet exits, and we will demonstrate some assisted rescues.


Beyond the Basics

(2 hours, $24)

Geared toward: Advanced Beginners

Are you a “newish” paddler or one who had been paddling for a while but never had formal instruction? This course will provide you the opportunity to nail down the basics (e.g. forward stroke, sweeps, draws) and then go beyond them to learn new strokes that will let you maneuver with grace and precision.


Safety & Rescue Demonstration (1 hour, Free Demo)

Observe multiple ways of: 1) getting yourself back in your boat after a capsize, 2) getting other paddlers back into their boats quickly and safely AND 3) getting weak or incapacitated paddlers to shore or a safe area.


Instructors: Mike Cavanaugh & Alan Mapes

Class Schedule for Saratoga Paddlefest



10:00am - Quick Start Your Kayak

2:00 pm - Beyond the Basics


10:00am - Quick Start Your Kayak

12 noon - Safety & Rescue Demo

2:00 pm - Beyond the Basics


Adirondack Paddlefest Classes, Saturday & Sunday, May 21 & 22

Kids Kayak Clinics ($20)

In these introductory clinics, children will be introduced to the safety and paddling basics: life jackets, getting in and out of a kayak, going forward, backward and easy turns. Then it’s on to the games where learning becomes fun as they will have races, tug of war and obstacle courses.


Adults: Novice Paddler Clinic ($20)

Foundational skills for the beginner to help you start out right. This session is designed to give the new kayaker exposure to some basic skills and concepts that will help build a strong foundation. We use simple language, examples and experiential techniques to get you on the water and on the right path.


Adults Advanced Paddling Technique Clinic ($20)

This session is designed to help competent kayak paddlers jump start their season through learning and practicing some great training drills and techniques. We will focus on the integration of Body, Boat and Blade for more effective boat control, effortless maneuvers and efficient travel.

Couples Tandem Canoe Clinic (NEW FOR 2017! $20 per person)

Tandem canoeing is a highly rewarding and satisfying way to experience the outdoors. But many partners struggle to find symmetry and flow. This session will challenge the old ideas of “the stern steers, power in the bow” and equip paddling partners, both novice and experienced with new perspectives, techniques and teamwork.


Instructors: Laura and Jeff Liebel

Class Schedule for Adirondack Paddlefest


10:00am - Adult Kayak Clinics (Novice & Advanced)

12 noon - Adult Tandem Canoe Clinic

2:00 pm - Kids Clinic

4:00 pm - Adult Kayak Clinics (Novice & Advanced)



10:00 am - Adult Kayak Clinics

(both Novice and Advanced)

12 noon - Kids Kayak Clinic

2:00 pm - Adult Kayak Clinics (Novice & Advanced)

About your Saratoga  Instructors


Instructors: Mike Cavanaugh & Alan Mapes

Quick Start Your Kayak

Beyond the Basics

Safety & Rescue Demonstration


Mike Cavanaugh sits on the NYS Executive Committee for the American Canoe Association and holds an ACA Level 3 Instructor certificate with Adaptive Paddling and Trip Leader endorsements.  He also holds a British Canoe Union (BCU) 3 star skills rating, instructs and leads trips for Atlantic Kayak Tours and the Adirondack Mountain Club.  Mike is lead instructor for the David Fisher Upper Hudson Heroes, a kayaking program for disabled veterans.

Alan Mapes is an American Canoe Association Level 3 Instructor and a British Canoe Union Level 1 kayak coach. He instructs and guides kayak trips for Atlantic Kayak Tours,  Adirondack Mountain Club, Capital District Kayakers Meetup Group and David Fisher Upper Hudson Heroes.

About your Old Forge Instructors


Instructors: Laura and Jeff Liebel


Laura and Jeff are the owners and co-founders of WeKanu, a canoe and kayak paddling school specializing in developing and certifying paddlesport instructors.

Laura Liebel is an ACA Certified Instructor Trainer, in L3 Freestyle Canoe and L2 Touring Kayak.

  • Co-author of the two recent books published by the American Canoe Association, Canoeing and Kayaking.
  • Past Chair of ACA Freestyle Canoeing Instruction Committee
  • ACA “Top 5” Nationwide Instructor Trainer
  • She holds a degree in Elementary Education and has received awards from the professional training community.


Jeff Liebel is an ACA Certified Instructor Trainer, in L3 Freestyle Canoe and L2 Touring Kayak.

  • Chair of the Board of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
  • Past Chair of the Freestyle Touring Canoe Committee of the American Canoe Association
  • Past President of the American Canoe Association.
  • Past President of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail


Jeff and Laura’s firsthand experience of getting their own family outdoors and on the water many years ago has developed into a passion for helping other families, couples and individuals to attain the confidence and skills to have their own outdoor experiences in canoes and kayaks. Through their Wekanu Paddling School, Laura and Jeff have certified and taught paddle sport instructors and camp counselors the skills, techniques and games to engage kids and adults in kayaking and canoeing to hopefully spark a lifelong interest. Laura and Jeff also lead family oriented canoe and kayak outings to introduce others to the great spots to paddle in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas. For fun they engage in Freestyle canoeing, exploring new places to paddle and camp, like the NFCT, but are most proud that all of their 4 children are avid paddlers and campers and two are even ACA certified canoe instructors.

Additional Contact Information:

Laura and Jeff Liebel

ACA L3 FreeStyle Canoe Instructor Trainers

ACA L2 Essentials of Kayak Touring Instructor Trainers

ACA L2 Essentials River Canoe and Kayak  Instructors

"Promoting Well Being through Canoe and Kayak"


Old Forge Locations
Paddlesports, Outdoor Gear and Rental Store
2855 Route 28, Old Forge, NY 13420

Paddlesports Shop: (315) 369-6672
Moose River Trips & Boat Rentals: (315) 369-6672
Outdoor Gear & Apparel Shop: (315) 369-6672

Saratoga Springs Locations

Saratoga Outdoor Gear & Apparel Shop
490 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 584-3500

Saratoga Paddlesports Shop
251 Staffords Bridge Road on Fish Creek, Saratoga Springs, NY
(518) 584-0600

Copyright Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company. 2014.

Prices are subject to change with out notice. Call us at (315) 369-6672 to verify prices and availability. Mountainman is not responsible for typographical errors.