Types of Courses - ACA


Types of Courses

The ACA National Paddlesports Instruction Program has been acknowledged as the premier paddlesports education program throughout the United States and in over 30 countries.

Take a Paddling Class

  • Skills courses which are designed to introduce students to new skills, build confidence through competence, and increase paddling proficiency in the chosen craft.
  • Skills assessments are designed to evaluate a student’s existing skillset. Students should arrive at the course with previous paddling experience, and they will be assessed alongside a checklist of skills, experience, and knowledge. If successfully completed, the student will receive an assessment credential from the ACA.
  • Instructor certifications are the next step for individuals wishing to teach paddling technique and skill refinement to students. A key component that sets instructor certification apart from other course types is the evaluation of not only paddling skill and knowledge but also teaching ability, group management, and judgement.
  • Endorsements are specialized courses designed for currently certified ACA instructors. Endorsements provide the opportunity for instructors to teach additional skills and curriculum that are not included in traditional instructor certification workshops.
  • Paddlesports Safety Facilitator courses are designed for those seeking to introduce paddlecraft safety and knowledge to the beginner paddler in a land-based setting.
  • Community Paddlesport Leader courses explore and develop solutions to “big picture” paddling challenges including venue selection, group management, participant competency, and rescues across a variety of paddlecraft. These non-discipline specific courses train leaders that engage with the broader paddling community to provide safe, fun, paddling experiences at the entry level.

ACA’s instructional curriculum has been third-party verified to be in alignment with the National On Water Standards for human propelled craft.

Course Disciplines

The ACA offers courses in the following paddlesports disciplines:

  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking (River, Coastal, Sit-On-Top, Surf)
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
  • Rafting
  • Safety & Rescue
  • Prone Paddling
  • Packrafting
  • Surfski
  • Universal Paddling

Course Levels & Offerings


River Kayaking

Coastal Kayaking

Sit-On-Top Kayaking

Surf Kayaking

Stand Up Paddling

Safety & Rescue

Prone Paddling



Universal Paddling

Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF)

Community Paddlesport Leader

Paddlesports Fishing