Novices : Program Description

Novice Program Description

What to Expect

Our group of experienced instructors begin with the basics on land to familiarize you with the different functions and elements of the outrigger canoe, the mechanics of the stroke, the calls and commands, and the safety protocols. This is followed by a half hour to an hour session on the water with a group of our experienced paddlers that will allow you to practice what you have learned on land and continue with additional instruction. We will provide the paddles and the personal flotation devices. All you need to bring are clothes you are not afraid to get wet, some water to bring in the boat and sunscreen.

When and Where

The Novice Sessions typically take about 1-1/2 hours. The sessions take place at the Pier 66 Boathouse at Hudson River Park located at West 26th Street and West Side Highway just north of Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River. The boathouse has changing and showering facilities. You will need to bring your own lock for the lockers and your own towel and sundries for the shower.


The novice sessions are completely free, although a donation that would go towards supporting the program is greatly appreciated. Should you wish to donate, you can make a donation here, or you can give your donation to your instructor at your novice session. You are welcome to take up to three novice sessions, at which point, we welcome you to join our organization so that you may continue paddling with New York Outrigger for the remainder of the season. As a paid member, you may join in on any of our organized OC-6 practices which are held throughout the week, have access to our small boat fleet (after taking our small-boats orientation) and join in on NYO’s various paddling clinics and training sessions.

Health and Fitness

OUTRIGGER PADDLING IS A GREAT WORKOUT! You should be in generally good health and capable of performing moderate intensity exercise or cleared by your doctor to participate in this level of activity. Paddling an outrigger canoe requires a degree of effort and concentration that you should be prepared for. This is not a leisurely paddle. For your own safety and those in your crew, we have set the following requirements.


  • All participants must be at least 14 years of age.
  • All participants must be a local Tri-State resident.
  • You must know how to swim and/or tread water.
  • Must be comfortable performing moderate intensity to strenuous exercise for up to 30 minutes

Signing Up

Due to limited space, you must sign up for classes in advance. Please sign up on our Meetup site to reserve a time. Due to the popularity of the program, registration is filled on a first-come-first-serve basis. You may not sign up more than two people (including yourself) at a time.

The Meetup site will show your confirmed your seat in a session or if you are placed on a waiting list. If you are unable to make your session, please adjust your RSVP on the status on the Meetup site as soon as possible so people on the waiting list can plan accordingly. Each member of a crew is important and one missing person could mean the rest of the crew may not be able to go out.


Each session is limited to 6 novices which are then divided into 2 groups of 3 novices per canoe. For safety reasons, we couple an experienced paddler with a novice paddler.

Group Sessions

If you are associated with a nonprofit or corporation and wish to schedule a Novice Session for a group of nine people or more, you may be able to arrange an event through our Nonprofit Partnerships or Special Events programs.


For more information, please contact us at or visit our NYO Novice Facebook page.