Form the first trip out on the water to acquiring the following skills.
A beginner can paddle in both moving and flat water
Familiar with basic strokes paddler can handle class I moving water and mild wind conditions on lakes.
The novice paddler can handle basic strokes in both positions of the tandem kayak.
Paddler is becoming comfortable in moving water
Paddler has the ability to read the water for obstructions and best routes through evenly flowing water. This paddler is competent enough to tackle Class II moving water and breezy winds on lakes that create small water caps.
Negotiates Class II or III moving water with rapids that may require linked maneuvers to avoid obstacles
Capable of making eddy out moves in rapids
Can paddle class III in a tandem kayak.
The intermediate paddler is comfortable making advanced strokes in linked sections of whitewater requiring some maneuvers to avoid obstacles and obstructions. He/she can make effective eddy turns and advanced strokes from all possible positions in a canoe. The intermediate paddler is comfortable in class III in tandem and Class II in solo kayaks.
The advanced paddler can equip a kayak for heavy whitewater and can handle most river conditions
Advanced paddlers can perform "must make" maneuvers around obstructions in heavy white water.
Advanced can perform rescue maneuvers and remount unaided in heavy seas.
The advanced paddler can handle Class IV rapids, he/she reads the water and is capable of handling of the craft in heavy white water. The paddler knows how to properly equip the craft for the conditions and it capable of instructing and leading groups on paddleable water and wilderness conditions.