Types of Courses - ACA


Types of Courses

Take a Paddling Class

Flatwater Canoeing

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Freestyle / Canoe Touring

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River / Whitewater Canoeing

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Recreational & Sit-On-Top Kayaking

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Sea / Coastal Kayaking

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River / Whitewater Kayaking

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Surf Kayaking

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Flatwater Stand Up Paddleboarding

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River / Whitewater Stand Up Paddleboarding

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Surf Stand Up Paddleboarding

Coastal Stand Up Paddleboarding

Paddle Rafting

Oar Rafting


River / Swiftwater Safety & Rescue

Universal Paddling

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Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF)

Community Paddlesports Leader (CPL)

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.