About Us

Welcome to California Canoe & Kayak, the West's finest and most extensive Paddlesports company since 1972! We have been committed to providing safe and enjoyable classes and trips for 40 years and would love to have you join us this year.

Our commitment extends to the community and the environment as well. We actively support Friends of the River, the Tuolumne River Trust, American Whitewater, Save San Francisco Bay and others in their efforts to preserve wild rivers, clean oceans and pristine coastlines. Our special events enhance paddlesports, build community, and raise money to support local kids and non-profit organizations. This commitment is just one of the reasons we were voted 'Retailer of the Year' by Canoe & Kayak Magazine in 2000.

Our mission is to provide the best instruction possible - whether in a sea kayak, whitewater kayak, canoe or recreational boat. Our goal is to help you discover the joy and freedom of paddling and to provide you with the instruction you need to become the kayaker you want to be.

Our teaching style is interactive and action-oriented. Our curriculum is nationally recognized for teaching kayaking safely and effectively, for all levels. Our instructors are the best in the business. We accept no less.

We provide a dynamic learning environment for our students and a flexible curriculum, keeping our program creative, original and current.

Come experience the adventure that's waiting for you in your own backyard!

California Canoe & Kayak was founded in 1972 by Ann Dwyer as Canoe Trips West. Shortly thereafter Canoe Trips West was sold to Don Thoman, a retired USAF Captain and sailor. From 1975 to 1982 Don ran a low key retail operation, canoe , kayak and small dinghy sailing livery on the bank of Corta Madera Creek in Greenbrae, Marin County, California. In 1980 Keith Miller, a Red Cross Canoe Instructor, began teaching canoe classes at Don's site. They became good friends and in the fall of 1982 the merger of Keith's backyard/garage whitewater canoe, kayak and raft business in Novato and Don's creekside store gave birth to Canoe Trips West/Marin Whitewater. Together they ran the business for three years.

Early on in their partnership Keith sold a beautiful wood canoe for $2,000 expecting to use the cash to purchase more inventory. Don had other ideas. Within days Don had purchased a Used Apple Computer much to Keith's dismay. Little did Keith realize that this was the first computerized point of sale and inventory control system used in a paddlesports shop and at the time put their store on the cutting edge of technology.

In 1985 the shop moved to Pt Richmond and Don decided to retire a second time from the paddlesports business. He continued to come by and work in the shop part-time, fix boat trailors and share great adventure stories. The move prompted a name change to California Canoe & Kayak, Inc. For eight years the company grew in "the Point" focusing on it's paddling programs. CCK was the first to invite the ACA to the West Coast and assisted in the development of a national sea kayak certification program. Many Northern California Whitewater instructors can trace their roots to California Canoe & Kayak ACA courses. CCK has always and continues to be a program driven paddlesports company.

In 1991, California Canoe & Kayak purchase Adventure Canoes & Kayaks and open a retail shop in Rancho Cordova.

In 1995, Our shop and program site opened it's location on Pillar Point Harbor at the HMB Yacht Club.

Locations & Hours