Level 1: Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboarding Instructor Certification Workshop (IDW/ICE) - ACA

Upcoming Events

05.18.24 – 05.19.24

Level 1: Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboarding Instructor Certification Workshop (IDW/ICE)

Colorado Springs, CO, USA


This 2-Day (16 hours) instructor certification course follows the ACA curriculum that can be found here:


The course focuses on Technical skills, Teaching Skills, Risk Management skills, and the enhancement of the instructor candidate’s paddling skills. Advanced preparation (2+ hours) by attendees required. The cost of this workshop does not include SEIC dues or the ACA membership. It is expected that participants should possess the paddling skills, technical knowledge, rescue ability, teaching ability, group management, and interpersonal skills commensurate with this level of certification prior to presenting themselves for evaluation as Instructor Candidates at an Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW).

Cost $450 per person

Instructor: Jose Gonzalez, Ed.D.

To registered, please send an email to josegonzalezsanders. @gmail.com


Do I get certified once I finish the ACA SUP Instructor Certification Workshop course or the Safety Facilitator’s course?
Mere participation carries no guarantee of certification. In order to receive an ACA Instructor certification you must demonstrate proficiency in:
Teaching Skills
Technical Knowledge
Paddling Skills
Rescue Ability
Safety Awareness, Leadership, and Judgment
Also, the Safety Facilitators course has a written exam.

Why do you spend so much time teaching about teaching methodology and risk management in the ICW?
The successful SUP Instructor is not only a great SUP paddler, but also an excellent teacher and outstanding at mitigating risk to others. Therefore, a strong emphasis on teaching methodology and risk management are the core of the training.

Why is it that instructor candidates’ have to teach at least one topic during the ICW?
Similar to the paddling skills, the teaching topic is another tool to share information with peers, but also assess the candidates’ ability to be an effective teacher/SUP Instructor.

What can I expect from the Instructor Certification Workshop course?
You can expect long days with assigned readings in the evenings or prior to the course. You’ll be teaching some pre- assigned topics and some impromptu talks to other instructor candidates. You need to bring lunch with you in order to maximize the time on the water. Please be prepared to paddle and teach in a wide range of conditions. Also, bring enough gear and storage to go on a trip.

What equipment do I need for the ICW?
Equipment needed:
1- SUP and leash (This might be provided by the host organization)
2- Paddle (This might be provided by the host organization)
3- PFD (This might be provided by the host organization)
4- Drinking water
5- Sunscreen
6-Food (lunch and snacks)
7- Appropriate clothing and footwear
8- First aid kit (if you have one)
9- Hat and Sunglasses
10-ACA Instructors manual

What other resources do you recommend to get ready for the ICW?
Below is a list of recommended resources, plus you’ll get a course pack via email.

1- The Art of Stand up paddling by Ben Marcus – A little heavy on the history of the sport, but good reference overall.
2- Stand Up Paddling. Flatwater to Surf and Rivers by Rob Casey – Clear and informative. Good balance, but some of the information is now outdated.
3- Stand Up Paddle. A paddlers guide by Steve West – It has 500 pages of great content and it should be in every SUP instructor library.
Why do you have to film me paddling a specific course during the ICW?
The main reason is that the video serves as an objective platform for feedback and a tool for final assessment. In other words, you can look back at your technique and receive proper coaching from peers and the Instructor Trainer. Also, it serves as the performance assessment of your paddling skills, one of the five core competencies of the SUP Instructor.

What else do I need to do in order to obtain my ACA SUP instructor certification?
Besides taking the course and successfully passing all the performance assessments, you need two more certification requirements in order to be certified:
First Aid and age appropriate CPR
ACA membership and SEIC fee

Have you been a trainer before? What qualifies you as a trainer?
I have experience developing instructors with REI Outdoor School in San Diego and with Outward Bound’s Sailing program in Boston. In addition, I have worked in academia in the Teacher Preparation program for over two decades training the next generation of secondary school teachers as well as PE teachers in Puerto Rico and New Hampshire. With my doctorate in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction, I train SUP Instructor candidates in experiential education methodologies that will enhance their own training. Here is a interview with SUP Connect: https://youtu.be/9m_DSEiSEfw?si=fYNPYP0wgMIK6pTn

Do you have a teaching philosophy?
My background in curriculum design and instruction has allowed me to selectively choose teaching and training models that best fit SUP and outdoor education. That blend is based on the constructivist and pragmatic theories with a humanistic approach to it. This approach allows for student-centered instruction in a dynamic outdoor classroom, where students become teachers and teachers are always learning. Alongside the skill development, I hope new instructors take away teaching strategies and models.

How many SUP Instructor trainings have you done?
During the last 15 years, I have taught 31 Instructor Certification courses in different parts of the United States including Southern California, Maryland, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Puerto Rico.

How do you stay up-to-date?
Since the time I became an Instructor Trainer in SUP L2, I have developed my skills and knowledge of the sport. I have produced articles for REI’s blog, my personal blog and assisted other publications with my paddle sport expertise. In addition, as part of my self-guided professional development, I bought the book from Steve West, Stand Up Paddler. A Paddler’s Guide and have incorporated his rich content in my teaching. In 2015, I scheduled a session with Jimmy Terrell from Quickblade in the flume and had a forward stroke analysis done on-site. In my quest for acquiring more knowledge on the sport, I visited the Future Fins factory, Brian Szymanski’s shaping room, SIC warehouse as well as Boardworks and Surftech distribution centers. I have had several boards including the SIC 14′ Bullet, 9’3 Special Boardwork, and the 8’11 Bic Wave. I have attended the Outdoor Retailer show and met industry leaders plus had the opportunity to demo the latest equipment. For five years I was a SIC Maui Ambassador. As a personal endeavor, I have raced in more than a dozen competitions including Battle of the Paddle, Pacific Paddle Games, HanoHano, Malibu Downwinder, Carolina Cup, and San Clemente Ocean Festival. Lastly, I wanted to expand local coastal awareness and access and be the voice for all paddlers in San Diego so I helped a group of paddlers form the San Diego Water Trails



Contact Information Jose Gonzalez