Reviews and Links

The kayaking and outdoor community is a tight-knit group of people who share a passion for exploration, being healthy, and active environmental stewardship. The links below will help you to discover folks and businesses that share these attributes.

Florida Kayak School and Tours Customer Reviews

Here's what our incredible customers have to say about us:

"I took the 4 hour Paddle Stroke and Safety/Rescue Course this week as part of learning to paddle my new kayak, which replaces an older and less responsive boat. The instructor could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable. It was a terrific experience and I recommend it highly." - Kent P.

“I just finished the 4 Hour Paddle Stroke and Safetycourse today. I learned a lot, not only increasing my skill set and ability to enjoy this phenomenal activity, but even more importantly; I learned how to self-rescue and how to rescue others. Tommy is a dedicated, experienced and supportive instructor who draws upon personal experience and years of water travel. I recommend this to anyone!” - Leslie B.

“Took a half-day paddle stroke and safety class with Tommy and it was fantastic. He is so knowledgeable, but also fun and a great teacher. I'm sure his tips will make me a better paddler, but there is an even more important benefit.
Tommy not only helps you practice self-rescue, he shows you how to help other boaters who may be in trouble. I've been paddling 30+ years (mostly canoes) and wish I had taken a class like this decades ago.
Also while kayak fishing is great (I do a lot) too many shops today are basically just fishing outfitters. That's not going to help you in a life-threatening accident. Tommy can help you have more fun and be safer. Can't ask for more than that.”  -Kevin B.                                                                                                                         

“Awesome time on the Wacissa today! Tommy had everything set up before we got there, from boats to PFD's to a map of the river. After a quick safety check and talk about where we were going we were off. He led us in and out of coves and over springs, pointing out birds, gators & turtles we would not have noticed without him. He told us interesting tidbits about the critters, history of the area and some very disheartening facts about the environmental degradation happening over the last few years around the Wacissa. And he helped make sure our technique was good and we were all having fun as we paddled up & downstream. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tommy and the Florida Kayak School and Tours to anyone.”   -Jeremy C.

"Just wanted to thank you again for your help with my roll. I definitely would not have progressed as fast if I had not met you!  - Bill P.

"You are really a gifted instructor!  Your love of kayaking and teaching both shined through today.  Thank you for sharing you're expertise and "top secret" info with us. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 I've got a better idea on what I need to work on now."  - Lynn W.

“We are hooked. Our first experience kayaking was beyond wonderful. We had a tandem, sit on top kayak provided for our adventure. The equipment, instruction and experience were all top notch. Tommy's passion for the sport is contagious. His teaching and guiding style was informative and entertaining. He was very knowledgeable of the sights (wildlife and flora) in the area and pointed out things we might have missed on our own. There were ample breaks for us beginners, so we didn't tire. Tommy provided commentary but also allowed time for quiet enjoyment of the surroundings. I can't say enough about the amazing experience. Tommy gets 10 stars for his out of this world "customer service." This experience was affordable and a great value! Don't wait if you have been considering kayaking. You won't be disappointed with Tommy!” -Renee A.

“Just wanted to say "Thank you" to Tommy for coming over to the Gainesville area yesterday to do a custom class for our local kayak group. Combining elements from Level II and III Tommy crafted a class for our needs that will help us better enjoy our days on the water. The class was great and we all had a good time. Education, entertainment and Florida waters - what more can you ask?” -Deborah B. 

"Tommy your lessons were great! You gave me confidence in being able to get my own roll and also you showed me a great way to teach it."   - Bill P.

"We had Tommy Thompson come to Miami to give us Level-2 instructions. The instruction was amazing. The difference you’re experiencing with Tommy isn’t a different curriculum but a difference in passion. Tommy genuinely wants you to succeed. Sometimes in jobs where the routine is the same everyday people lose vision but because Tommy has a genuine love for what he’s doing, every step feels like he’s teaching you with the same commitment and passion as he was when he started 35 years ago. Hire these guys if you want a patience, loving, and compassionate instructor to help you learn and grow into kayaking!! Thanks, Tommy!” - Joe and Amber.

“I'm a relative newcomer to kayaking and had the GREAT fortune to have a private session with Tommy of the Florida Kayak School and Tours.  We toured Piney Z lake and Lake Lafayette.  It was INCREDIBLE!  First, the supplies were really nice (nice kayak, paddle, etc.) and fit me perfectly.  Second, Tommy is a great teacher and tour guide!  He made me feel very comfortable in the kayak and he gave me a few pointers which were instantly useful.  Tommy also knows seemingly all there is to know about the wildlife (both above and below the water...definitely some gators out and about...), the lakes and the environmental challenges that they face.  No joke, go to Florida Kayak School as soon as you can!  I plan to go again soon, next time with the wife and kid!” -Daniel C. 

Friends and Links

If you do not find a link that might help just give us a call or drop us an e-mail.  Glad to point you in the right direction on your journey.

The American Canoe Association:  The ACA is your voice for paddle sports in the U.S. The mission of the ACA is to put people on the water safely through certified instruction and engaging in the ever-changing landscape of the evolving paddle sports community.

Apalachee Canoe and Kayak Club:  The ACKC is your Big Bend paddle sport club:

Apalachicola Riverkeeper and RiverTrek:            The Apalachicola Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and stewardship of the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay. As part of the Waterkeeper Alliance and with the support of our 1400+ members, Apalachicola Riverkeeper is voice of the River. We focus public and political attention on the importance of saving this truly unique resource. We are a 501(C) 3 organization, which means that your donations to Apalachicola Riverkeeper are fully tax deductible.

THE BAG LADY:   For professional, custom kayak covers there is none-better than our good friend, Sue - "The Bag Lady" :

Benjamin Fontenot Paddles:    Hand crafted from solid, premium grade, Western Red Cedar, custom sized to each order, and rubbed with an oil finish. Thesebeautiful paddles are greatly influenced by the West Greenland styled qajaq paddles, a design that has been tried and tested by Inuit hunters for the last 500 years. These paddles are known for ergonomic and performance advantages due to symmetrically designed powerfaces, dihedral tapering blades and flexibility:

BoatABag:   By far and away, this is our choice for an expedition water container.  Virtually indestructible! This is a local, Tallahassee-made product:

Buying a Kayak: Almost every day clients ask, "Where do I start in looking for a kayak?" We do not have a dog in this hunt since we do not sell kayaks. Our mission is to enhance your on-the-water experience, whatever that looks like for you. This video is an excellent starting place in deciding which kayak is best for you.

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Cuba Adventure Company: The Cuba Adventure Company is our international partner for our "Ultimate Kayak Adventure" tours in Cuba. For tour availability and itineraries check-out this site. 

Fit and Functional:  For physical fitness and nutritional coaching we visit our buddies at Fit and Functional.  Talk to our personal fitness guru, Sherman Rosier and his staff:         

Florida Office of Greenways and Trails: Paddling and hiking trails in Florida - Trail Maps & Descriptions.

Interactive Paddle Trail Map: From Florida Office of Greenways and Trails.

Florida Parks - Maclay Gardens State Park:         We absolutely LOVE our state parks and Maclay Gardens State Park is a perfect place for a quick trip to adjust your priorities and get outside.  This is our favorite venue for local, flat-water skills kayak classes.:          

Florida Paddle Trails Association:   The FPTA is an association of dedicated paddlers that are focused on establishing and maintaining our state's blueways and paddle trails:

Harry Smith Outdoors:  Harry is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and certainly the most knowledgeable kayak fishermen we know. Harry can help you with a customized fishing guiding service:

MTI Life Jackets:   The Florida Kayak School and Tours uses MTI life jackets on our tours. These life jackets provide unequaled comfort, utility, and safety. MTI specialize in one thing:  designing and building USCG approved life jackets for what we like to call “human powered boating.”:


Net Knots: Knot tying seems to be a lost art today. However, it is never too late to learn this useful skill. A great place to start your knot-tying matriculation is this animated knot-tying site:

NOAA Tide Predictions:  If you are heading to the coast or tide-effected coastal areas a "must-do" is to check the tide predictions:    

Savannah Canoe and Kayak:  The Florida Kayak School and Tours supports our good buddies at SC&K as a state-of-the-art kayak retailer, outfitter, and training center.  When you are in the Savannah area you owe it to yourself to drop by and say "Howdy!" Good vibes abound!:

Trail and Ski:  The staff at Trail and Ski is your Tallahassee, outdoor experts. They can help you to outfit your next land-based adventure:

Turning Point Boatworks: Turning Point Boatworks offers everything from a complete make-over for your favorite paddle craft to minor repairs and custom builds.  Contact our good buddy, Joey, to breathe new life into your kayak and paddling day.

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Uncommon Adventures: The Florida Kayak School and Tours is partnering with Uncommon Adventures to provide a warm-water travel and instruction destination to Roatan, Honduras.  We offer American Canoe Association certified kayaking skills courses and Instructor Development Workshops at a world class, private lodge with guided day-trips and gourmet food.

USCG Auxiliary Boating: Campaign to educate boaters on the four principles of safer boating: Get a free safety check.                                    

US Geological Survey: Maps, stream flow data.

Visit Florida: Official Florida tourism and travel site.

How to Roll a Kayak video: This is an excellent "How to" video: