NZKI Three Star Sea Kayak Scope

NZKI 3 Star is an advanced sea kayak skills qualification.

3 Star Profile

A NZKI 3 Star paddler will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency in kayak paddle strokes and rescues on intermediate water conditions;
  • Eskimo roll a sea kayak in surf conditions;
  • Be comfortable surfing a sea kayak;
  • Demonstrate a good general knowledge of kayaks and kayaking;
  • Demonstrate a good knowledge of safety management and weather;
  • Plan and prepare a multi-day sea kayaking trip;
  • Lead and manage groups on a multi-day trip;
  • Role model accepted environmental practices and
  • Role model best kayaking skills.

The assessment of the skills for NZKI 3 Star will be carried out in intermediate conditions as follows:

  • Wind 15 to 25 knots;
  • Up to 1.5m swell and
  • Moderate tidal flow.

Instructional Scope

A NZKI 3 Star kayaker will be able to lead and instruct the Canoe and Kayak Introductory Sea Kayak Course and Eskimo Rolling Course on flat sheltered conditions. 


The NZKI 3 Star assessment will be carried out in a single sea kayak as follows:

  • Enclosed cockpit with;
  • Three or more compartments including the cockpit separated by fixed bulkheads.


To be assessed for the NZKI 3 Star award the participant must:

  • No less than 50 logged kayak trips in a variety of locations, conditions and durations and at least 20 of these trips being in intermediate conditions and
  • Hold an NZKI 1 Star or equivalent qualification.


As this is a skills based qualification the holder of a NZKI 3 Star award there is no revalidation requirements.  It should be noted that in order to maintain their skill at the level of the award practice and paddling in intermediate conditions will need to be maintained.

Progressing to NZKI 4 Star

To progress to the next levels a 3 Star kayaker will:

  • Gain the necessary logged experience as detailed in the relevant syllabus;
  • Be able to eskimo roll in surf;
  • Be able to complete a re-entry and roll;
  • Be able to perform a sculling support stroke and
  • Be able to demonstrate the necessary advanced rescue and paddle skills.

NZKI 3 Star Assessment Notes

Reference – NZKI Syllabus


The assessment of the skills for NZKI 3 Star will be carried out in intermediate conditions as follows:

  • Wind 15 to 25 knots;
  • Up to 1.5m swell and
  • Moderate tidal flow.

Technical Competencies

Practical assessment

  1. Preparation, Launching and landing.
  2. Forward and reverse paddling.
  3. Forward and reverse static turning. (Sweep Stroke)
  4. Moving sideways. (Draw Stroke, sliding draw)
  5. Stopping.
  6. Turning on the move. (Stern Rudder, Bow Rudder, bow draw, stern draw, sweep stroke)
  7. Supporting. (Low Brace)
  8. Rescuing another paddler in deep water. (T Rescue, Leg over, swimming, stirrup)
  9. Self-rescue in deep water. (Paddle Float, John Wayne)
  10. Eskimo Rescue.
  11. Eskimo Roll.
  12. Recue another kayaker using a simple tows. (Short or long tow line, contact tow)
  13. Rescue another kayaker who has lost their kayak. (Stern Deck Carry, Bow Carry)
  14. Surfing

Theory (60 minute multi-choice and long answer exam paper)

  1. Kayaking and Kayaks
  2. Weather
  3. Navigation

Role Modelling

  1. Personal risk management
  2. Team work
  3. Awareness of others
  4. Environment

Trip Planning

  1. Location
  2. Weather interpretation
  3. C&K Safety Systems

Group Management and Leadership

  1. Plan and prepare a multiday sea kayak trip
  2. Lead and manage the planned sea kayak trip
  3. Apply effective safety management


  1. Undertake a sea kayak skills course
  2. Prepare and deliver an eskimo rolling course


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