Types of Courses
Take a Paddling Class
Flatwater CanoeingRead More
Most commonly taking place on lakes, bays, and calm sections of river, flatwater canoeing is the perfect way to explore incredible scenery with friends and family. Want to relax on the water while enjoying the weather, eating a picnic, spending time with family, and even furry friends? Flatwater canoeing would be a great fit for you!
Freestyle / Canoe TouringRead More
Freestyle / Canoe Touring
Canoe touring and freestyle canoeing emphasize smooth, efficient flatwater paddling and precision boat control. Freestyle Canoeing is considered the “art and science” of quietwater paddling, and is often called “obedience training for your canoe.”
River / Whitewater CanoeingRead More
River / Whitewater Canoeing
River or whitewater canoeing can be a fast paced, adrenaline pumping experience! Whitewater canoes are designed to be more agile and more easily put on edge to adapt to the dynamic style of paddling that river rapids demand. Rivers are broken down into sections of rapids that are rated on a scale of I-V based on the complexity of the moves needed to safely navigate each rapid, current, and obstacle.
Recreational & Sit-On-Top KayakingRead More
Recreational & Sit-On-Top Kayaking
This style of kayaking is well suited for people who love the water, enjoy fishing, sightseeing, and prefer a boat that is simple to operate. Family friendly and fun for all, the stability of recreational and sit-on-top kayaks make it easy to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
Sea / Coastal KayakingRead More
Sea / Coastal Kayaking
For those who love wide open waters, sea/coastal kayaking is the sport for you. Intended to be paddled on large lakes, bays, and the ocean, sea kayaks have covered decks, are built for speed, track well through wind and currents, and can be packed for overnight trips and long journeys!
River / Whitewater KayakingRead More
River / Whitewater Kayaking
Whitewater kayaking is a dynamic, fast-paced sport where paddlers use river currents and features to navigate downstream. Surfing waves, catching eddies, zig-zagging through currents, and splashing through holes are among whitewater kayakers’ favorite things to do.
Surf KayakingRead More
Love salt water surfing? Love kayaking? If you said yes to either or both questions, then surf kayaking is a sport for you! Designed to surf crashing ocean waves, surf kayaks can be seen on the same shorelines frequented by surfers and stand up paddleboarders.
Flatwater Stand Up PaddleboardingRead More
Flatwater Stand Up Paddleboarding
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a water sport born from surfing, with modern roots in the Hawaiian islands. Stand up paddleboarders stand on boards that float on the water, and they use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. SUP is a great entryway into paddlesports, as you can lay, sit, kneel, or stand. If you fall off, simply climb back on! Both hard boards and inflatable boards are used, and inflatables in particular have made board sports more accessible than ever thanks to their ease of transportation.
River / Whitewater Stand Up PaddleboardingRead More
River / Whitewater Stand Up Paddleboarding
Want to add a little excitement and splash to your SUP game? Try paddling on a stretch of river, whitewater, or at your local surf wave for a little more excitement. SUPs used on rivers are often inflatable, are rounded and shorter for maneuverability, have a fin on the bottom to help the board track, turn, and edge through current with ease!
Surf Stand Up Paddleboarding
Coastal Stand Up Paddleboarding
River / Swiftwater Safety & Rescue
Universal PaddlingRead More
Since 1990, the ACA has led the adaptive recreation industry through the of training instructors and program providers in the best practices of inclusive paddlesports.
The Universal Paddling programs enhance the skills and knowledge of ACA Instructors and the general public by teaching how to outfit equipment and modify teaching styles to allow people of all abilities to participate in paddlesports activities as safely, as comfortably, and with the same performance potential as all others.
Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF)Read More
Community Paddlesports Leader (CPL)Read More
Types of Courses
- Skills courses which are designed to introduce you to new skills, build confidence through competence, and increase paddling proficiency in your chosen craft.
- Skills assessments are designed to evaluate your existing skillset. You should arrive at the course with previous paddling experience, and you will be evaluated alongside a checklist of skills, experience, and knowledge. If successfully completed, you 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. Learn more, here.
- Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF) courses are designed for those seeking to introduce paddlecraft safety and knowledge to the beginner paddler in a land-based setting. Learn more about the PSF program, here.
- Community Paddlesport Leader (CPL) 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.
For a complete listing of the ACA’s instructional curriculum, please click here.
ACA’s instructional curriculum has been third-party verified to be in alignment with the National On Water Standards for human propelled craft.
Become A Certified Instructor or Trip Leader
Want to share your passion for paddling with others? Becoming a certified instructor or trip leader is the place to start!
If you’re looking to embrace a more advanced leadership role within your club or community group, ACA Trip Leader assessment courses are the perfect next step! Filled with training content surrounding leadership, judgement, group management, and technical facets of rescue and care on longer distance or extended trips, these courses require existing experience, they will challenge you, but will also help you become the best leader you can be! To review the curriculum for each type of trip leader course, please click here.
If you already have experience leading trips and interacting with new paddlers, becoming a certified instructor may be right for you! Instructor Certification Workshops (ICWs) are comprised of technical skill development and evaluation of your paddling experience, knowledge, and teaching ability. To learn more, please click here.