ACA Level 1 & 2 Sacramento

April 27-29, 2018

In preparation for the workshop, please review all the materials on this page. 


IMPORTANT LOCATION CHANGE: We are not meeting at CCK nor Willow Creek at 8am on Friday. Due to some permit issues, we have move the class location to Beal Point Recreation Area at Folsom Lake.  Please see directions to the park: Beals Point Recreation Area is on the east side of Folsom Lake, near the town of Granite Bay. 

We will meet at Beals Point on Friday morning at 8am, Saturday and Sunday morning at 9


Equipment and Food

Please bring your own equipment: board, PFD, paddle, leash, and wetsuit/drysuit. Assuming that the weather is not quite summer time in Sacramento and the water will be pretty cold from the dam - it is best to have at least a 4mm wetsuit or a drysuit since we'll be spending a lot of time in the water on the first day. 

What kind of board should I bring? Don't bring a skinny race board! To teach you should be on a stable all-around or touring board because you can demonstrate the skills better (no screw ups), rescue another paddler better and looking like the rest of the students. Inflatables are okay too.

If you don't some or any equipment, you can rent it from California Canoe and Kayak. Please call them ahead of time to reserve boards.

Bring your own lunch and some snacks to share.


1. Please fill out the pre-course questionnaire and bring it to the first day of the workshop. If you don't bring it, there will be a punishment (wink wink).

2. Please review the itinerary closely so that you can plan out your commute and family obligations.

3. Make sure you download the skills assessment files and contact me if you have any questions about them before the course. If you need help understanding or learning the skills before the course, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Level 1 Skills Assessment: Click here to view.

Level 2 Skills Assessment: Click here to view. Please note that level 2 skills in ACA requires a significant list of more skills than level 1. 



Instructor Candidate: That's you! You're a candidate on your way to become certified as an instructor!

Instructor: Certified by ACA, you now are in a group of several thousand instructors in the world. There are numerous benefits as an ACA certified instructor including group liability insurance, online class schedule, Pro-deals, and more!Instructor Trainer Educator: 

Instructor Trainer: We are the instructor trainers who will be teaching you both paddling related skills and teaching skills. We assess instructors based on ACA criteria. ACA will send you the certifications.

Instructor Trainer Educators: These are master instructors who are certifying instructor trainers all over the world. 

Instructor Candidate Qualifications:

1. Must be open to learn: Many paddlers have paddled in the past without any formal instruction, please be open to instructors teaching you something that you already "know" how to do. We assume you already have many paddling and safety skills, but we will teach you everything that you need to know to become certified.

2. Must be open to learn how to teach: Just because you know how to paddle, it doesn't mean you know how to teach it. Teaching requires you know the skills competently but also be able to break it down to bites-sized pieces in an interesting way so students can absorb your knowledge and skills.

3. First Aid and CPR certified: In order to receive ACA instructor certification, you must be first aid and CPR certified. You can still attend the training and be certified (with continued status) without the First Aid and CPR certification, you would just get officially certified by ACA once you complete your First and CPR certification.

Instructor Candidate Skills Assessment:

Would you like to know whether you got the paddling and safety skills to be an instructor? We use skills assessments to make sure instructors know their goods! The skills assessments can be done before the instructor training as a private lesson if you feel like you need some help or it can be done during the training if you feel confident of the skills.

Level 1 Skills Assessment: Click here to view.

Level 2 Skills Assessment: Click here to view. Please note that level 2 skills in ACA requires a significant list of more skills than level 1. 

ACA Certification Explained:

American Canoe Association certification classes are typically organized in the following format:

Instructor Development Workshop (IDW): the workshop format is to prepare instructors for the certification. There's no expectation of becoming certified during this workshop so students can focus on learning skills and teaching the same skills that they just learned. After the workshop, we expect students to either work or volunteer in paddling schools or shops to get more teaching experience. IDWs are typically held over two days.

Instructor Certification Exam (ICE): this exam format is just that to assess the students for certification. There's very little teaching involved in this format, we assess the instructor candidates through a series of teaching modules and either pass or continue the instructor candidate. ICEs are typically held over one day.

Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW): this format is the most popular for stand up paddle board instructors. The ICW combines the IDW and ICE in the same workshop. This means that: we will teach you the padding related skills and teaching skills if some instructor candidates do not have them yet; we will assess all the instructor candidate throughout the course through a series of teaching modules; and we will either pass or continue the instructor candidates.

What does PASS or CONTINUED mean? 

Pass means that you're certified. Continued means that you have areas that you need to improve. But don't worry, we will develop a plan for you to improve on those skills that you are lacking and you can take a ICE later so it will only take one day to become certified next time.