Wind and Water Learning Center Orange Beach
Orange Beach Wind and Water Learning Center- Activities for Water Lovers
Co-written by Elise Hatten and Jackie McGonigal
Besides the obligatory and much anticipated beach time, what other outdoor activities and resources are you planning to take advantage of? Are you searching for other water-centered activities to add to your vacation itinerary? Have you ever considered taking a sailing class, or creating a watercolor masterpiece WHILE kayaking on Wolf Bay? If yes to any of these questions, look no further than the City of Orange Beach’s Wind and Water Learning Center, one of the best kept secrets when it comes to outdoor watersports and educational facilities on the island! Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the many programs that the WWLC has to offer.
The Wind and Water Learning Center [WWLC] is a great resource for fun, water-related activities and education. Located on the shores of Wolf Bay, just off of Canal Road East, this facility also has a public kayak launch that is easily accessible and open during daylight hours.
The WWLC offers a variety of programs that are very popular with both locals and visitors, including a Youth Sail Camp, ACA Kayaking Classes and Instructor Certification Workshops, Paint and Paddle Kayak Excursions, and so much more!
The Youth Sail Camp is a summer program offered to youths ranging from 6 years old to rising high school seniors. These week-long sessions have morning and afternoon timeframes that focus on the basics of sailing theory, good sportsmanship and on-the-water safety, as well as basic boat handling. By the end of the week, students have the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate around a beam reach racecourse during a friendly regatta!
Adult Sailing Courses
For the adults who are envious of the Youth Sail Camp, the WWLC also offers adult sailing education. There is a week-long summer Sail Camp session for “grown ups” and several Women’s Sailing Workshop Weekends offered July through October. Adults can also book private and small group sailing lessons throughout the year. Boats and lifejackets are provided, but if you book a sailing lesson in chilly water during the late Fall through late Spring seasons plan on wearing your own wetsuit and cold water gear.
All sailing courses are taught by certified U.S. sailing instructors.
Kayaking classes are offered at the WWLC and are taught by ACA certified instructors. If you’re new to kayaking, come try out the Intro to Kayaking, Safety & Rescue course. If you already have paddling skills and are looking to train a bit more in depth for a multi-day excursion or an instructor certification workshop, then the Essentials of Kayak Touring is the course for you. This course expands upon the concepts taught in the more ‘basics’ courses, and instructors can help you plan your trip with the mindset that safety is top priority.
All kayaking courses focus on stroke refinement, trip planning, water safety and capsize recovery, and kayaking safety with assisted and self-rescue techniques.
Lastly, the WWLC offers an ACA L1-L2 Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification workshop and skill assessment each Spring. This 5-day workshop is ideal for anyone who might be responsible for other kayakers and groups on the water [camp counselors, tour operators/ guides, etc.]. This course is taught by an ACA L-3 Coastal Kayak Trainer.
Fun in Wolf Bay
Paint and Paddle Kayak Excursions| Late Summer and Fall
After paddling out into the serene waters of Wolf Bay, kayakers participate in an actual watercolor technique class. Using the water straight from Wolf Bay, put paintbrush to canvas and let your inner artist shine!
Held in the late summer and early fall, these sunset kayaking adventures are a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t want to miss out on.
These excursions can also be booked privately for small groups of 2 to 6 people.
Past Events at the WWLC
Last year, the WWLC organized a Pumpkin Paddle- an event that combined a Halloween costume contest with an amazing sunset kayaking adventure on Wolf Bay. Cetacean Cruises was honored to provide the Halloween costume contest grand prize. We had so much fun during the sunset kayak, and we can’t wait to see what kind of festivities the WWLC has in store for 2023!
All WWLC activities, courses, and workshops are taught by certified instructors, so you can rest assured that you are receiving high quality education and information delivered in a safe and friendly way! If you are interested in booking private sailing or kayaking lessons, please reach out to the WWLC for more information. You can now also rent the waterfront facility for your own small event (weddings, showers, reunions, meetings, birthdays, etc).
I would like to extend a special thank you to Jackie McGonigal, Coordinator of the Wind and Water Learning Center and US Sailing/ACA Kayaking instructor, for providing us with activities information.
To learn more about what the Wind and Water Learning Center has to offer, please visit their website https://www.orangebeachal.gov/386/Wind-Water-Learning-Center
WWLC Location: 26233 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561
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