ISK is here to help our members

Looking for a little guidance? Helpful links? How to? Look no further.

Not seeing what you’re looking for? Reach out to us. Board member emails are at the bottom of every page. We always love to hear from you.


Members Only

ISK has two websites?
You’re on our main site. It’s fun and user friendly, but it doesn’t handle administrative duties, like membership dues, trip and pool registrations, and forum communications.

That’s why some links will take you to our members-only portal where you can register for events, post in the forums, and donate to the club scholarship, for instance.

The bottom of every page includes a button to jump over to the Member Portal. Ready to jump over now? Click here.

If you still have questions after looking through the FAQ, feel free to reach out to any board member. Our emails are below, at the bottom of every page.

I don't see how to register for events on the member site.
Once you get to the event on the member site calendar, make sure you sign in. Look at the top-right. It will either say “Member Login” or your name. If it says “Member Login,” you know what to do, and snag that spot!
I could use a tour of the Member Portal
Would you like a guided tour of our Member Portal? Ask and it is done.

Watch this video. <<<Need to Make it.>>>

I need to register a family member or guest.

In this 6-minute video, I walk you through registering for a trip that includes multiple options, like adding a guest. Still have a question? Email a board member. Our email is at the bottom of every page.

How do I connect with other members?

On our membership portal site, you can look up contact information for your fellow paddlers, sign up to get forum updates, post in the forums, and register for events.

When you set up your profile, adding a photo so other members can put your face to your name is appreciated.

The best way to stay in touch is to turn on messages from the forums. Whenever someone plans an impromptu paddle, you’ll hear about it. When a member is ready to part with some gently used gear, you’ll know. You might just find that item you have been searching for. Updates about events and news from the Board…you got it. Sign up for the forum.

Go to the Member Portal. Log in and click the Directory or Forum tabs.

How do I access the Member Library?

Our Members-only Library of recorded presentations is on a password protected page. The password is available to all active members in the Member Portal. Need help? Email us using the button in the footer of every page.

Go to the Library.

How do I apply for a grant?
Looking to add to your skillset? We love to hear it!

Hop over to our Grant page, get the details, and apply today.


New to Sea Kayaking

What kind of gear do I need to get started?
There’s a lot to consider when you’re getting started in a new outdoors pastime or sport.

At a minimum, you’ll need a kayak with bulkheads and deck lines, a PFD, paddle, and sprayskirt. In addition to gear, remember to dress for water temps. Cotton has no place on the water. Look for synthetic fibers.

Kayak type varies. You can safely paddle with us in a smaller touring kayak (14′ +). A longer kayak, 16’+, will track (hold its course) better and be faster. If you’re getting started and don’t have a lot of gear yet, we encourage you to join us on social paddles. Check out what members have, ask questions, and try things out. Most of us are happy to gear swap on paddles so you can get the feel of something different.

How is a sea kayak different from other kayaks?
Sea kayaks are seaworthy. This means sealed bulkheads, full perimeter deck lines, combing around the cockpit to secure a sprayskirt, and length and hull design suitable for both distance and big water conditions.

There are a lot of factors to consider. How a kayak fits you is one of the biggest. Test paddle as many kayaks as you can. You should “wear your kayak” and be able to rotate your body. If the seat back is high, it will make it difficult to drop back into your seat after a rescue.

Do your homework, join some club paddles, ask questions of your fellow kayakers.

What should I look for in a paddle?
As with your kayak, check out as many as you can before you buy. You’ll want to consider length, weight, and blade angle.

You will be propelling your kayak with your body using your paddle. It’s an important piece of gear! The basic paddler height + boat width calculation you’ll find in shopping guides probably won’t get you to your ideal paddle. Test. Test. Test before you buy. Try both Euro blade and Greenland style paddles. Get a feel for whether you prefer a high or low angle stroke. Join our social paddles and talk to members. We will generally be happy to let you try ours!


I feel like such a newbie...

We all had to start somewhere. We don’t expect new club members to have a full range of gear or impressive skills as beginners. Please join us. If you aren’t sure about anything, email a Board Member. Our contact info is at the bottom of every page.

Gear is an investment, and there is no timetable on upgrades. We encourage you to join us on social paddles, skill sessions, in the pool, and more. Get to know us and you’ll find many friendly paddlers happy to tell you about their favorite essentials. It’s common for members to post gear for sale on the forum and our Facebook page. You could find some great deals as you’re putting together your kit.

And skills are developed with time and practice. Why not get on the water today and start learning with us?

*The only caveat is to use common sense. You wouldn’t want to capsize in lake water that’s 40 degrees, miles from your car, unless you’re dressed for it.



Is this trip for me?
Every trip is different. Check the full description on the registration page.

Be honest with yourself about your paddling and/or camping abilities. Descriptions should give you an idea of paddling time, distance, and conditions. If you aren’t sure, email the trip leader or organizer. Contact information is listed on the registration page.

How do I pack for a trip?
The best way to prepare for traveling with your kayak is to talk to other people going on your trip. Ask how they’re ensuring they’ve got the right clothing and gear for expected conditions? Gather tips and tricks from your fellow ISK members. And don’t forget to check in with your trip leader. The leader should have plenty of intelligence about the trip.

Need a packing list? Go to the Member Library and check out two downloadable PDFs.

Remember: it’s easier to pack many small dry sacks than a few large ones.

Where do I file my trip report?

Thank you so much for leading a trip (or writing a trip report for your leader or co-leader)!

Please fill out the trip report form here and send your images to the Trips Coordinator using the email button at the bottom of the page. All the details are in the form. If you have any questions as you fill it out, send me an email. I’d be happy to help!

Get downloadable resources, too.
Visit the Member library for lots of handy downloadable PDFs from packing lists to float plans to Leave No Trace principles.

Member Library

ISK Trip Level 1
Traits of a Level One trip:

  • Flat and protected water.
  • Rest stops and places to get out of the boat are frequent with easy access.
  • Total trip duration up to three hours and up to five miles.
  • E.g. Social paddles.

Recommended skills for a Level One trip:

  • Paddle forward
  • Paddlebackwards
  • Turn
  • Stop
ISK Trip Level 2
Traits of a Level Two trip:

  • Extends the time and distance of a Level One trip and adds a more dynamic water environment.
  • May encounter waves that spill onto the deck of your kayak.
  • May share the water with larger boats such as sail or power boats.
  • Rest stops and places to get out of the boat may be up to two hours apart.
  • Duration may be up to six hours and cover a distance of up to 15 miles.
  • E.g. Lake Minnetonka.


Recommended skills for a Level Two trip:

  • Level One skills
  • Move sideways
  • Rescues
  • Comfort with bumpy water
ISK Trip Level 3
Traits of a Level Three trip:

  • Shares trip distance and duration with Level Two and adds current to the environment.
  • Moving water may be fast and may change throughout the trip.
  • Expect additional hazards in the water such as trees, obstructions, and debris.
  • E.g. St. Croix River.


Recommended skills for a Level Three trip:

  • Level Two skills
  • Crossing eddy lines
  • Use paddle stroke anticipation
ISK Trip Level 4
Traits of a Level Four trip:

  • The highest ISK trip level in a non-coastal environment.
  • Raises the expected conditions above Level Three.
  • May experience waves that consistently break over your deck.
  • Waves may cause instability.
  • Scattered whitecaps may be present.
  • Places to rest or get out of the kayak may be up to three hours apart.
  • Difficult landing spots.
  • Heavy boat traffic that requires two-way communication.
  • Trip duration up to six hours and covering up to 15 miles.
  • Carry an emergency kit for unplanned overnight stays.
  • E.g. Apostle Islands.


Recommended skills for a Level Four trip:

  • Level Three skills
  • Awareness of your impact on the group.


Remember, active trip participants create successful paddles.



What counts as safety gear?

What kind of safety gear you need depends on conditions. A newer paddler with less gear can safely paddle in a group in which several other members carry safety gear, so not having something does NOT preclude you from joining us on the water. That said, most paddlers start to acquire some safety basics right away.

  • PFD: Make sure it’s designed for kayaking. Ensure it fits by having someone lift at your shoulders, the jacket should only rise about ½”. Pockets are great for holding snacks, a handheld compass, a pocket emergency gear like sun screen, bandaids, electrical tape, etc. A spot for weather radio. Do you want some hydration on your back?
  • Whistle, water-activated lights, paddler’s knife: These small items are carried on or in your PFD to assist with rescue situations.
  • Paddle Float: Do you need a paddle float to get back into your kayak?How about a sponge and/or pump to remove water from the cockpit.
  • Tow belt: You will see many members with a tow belt around their waists. Please take some training on using a tow belt – remember Clip UP.
  • Electrolyte gel: When fatigue sets in, an energy gel, easily stowed in a pocket can get you through the final miles of a paddle. They typically have sugar, carbs, electrolytes, and/or caffeine.

For more on gear, check out the downloadable slides from our gear presentation in the Member Library. Thanks, Rob!


What paddling skills do I need to be safe?
  • Awareness: know where you are, who you’re with, and keep abreast of conditions from boat traffic to wind and stormy skies.
  • Honesty: be honest with yourself and your fellow paddlers about how you’re doing. Are you feeling confident and comfortable enough for the paddle ahead of you? Has anything changed, like fatigue, hunger, or illness?
  • T-rescue: you and your paddling buddy should be able to aid in each other’s rescue.
  • Cowboy rescue: if you’re ever paddling alone, you need to be able to get yourself back in your kayak, drain it, and paddle on.
  • Knowledge: If you got it, know how to use it. If you’re wearing a tow belt, packing a first aid kit, or have a chart and deck compass on your kayak, be prepared to use them.
Seasick...oh boy

Turning green? It’s no small problem when seasickness strikes a paddler.

This article posted on Superior Paddling by Jeffrey Lee has helpful information.


Charts, weather, water

How do I find out water levels?
Which charts do I need?
How do I prepare for cold water?
Places we love to go.

Parking permits: We recommend a City of Minneapolis Parks and Recreation permit, especially for the Chain of Lakes.  Washington and Anoka county have reciprocity