SUP Instructor Training

SUP Instructor Training - 2 Days 8:30 am-5:30 pm (Alameda) - Ages 18+ - $299

Join our ever-expanding group of amazing instructors and begin a career path that could take you around the world! We provide American Canoe Association (ACA) certification training for paddlers who are interested in becoming instructors. The ACA National Paddlesports Instruction Program we offer has been acknowledged as the premier paddlesports education program throughout the United States and in over 30 countries. 

2021 Instructor Training Dates (Alameda):
Level 1 Instructor Certification ICW* - Oct 9-10, 2021
Level 2 Instructor Certification ICW* - Oct 16-17, 2021
Level 2 Instructor Certification ICW* - Oct 22-24, 2021

Instructor Candidate Qualifications:

  1. Must be open to learn: Many paddlers have paddled in the past without any formal instruction. You must 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, doesn't mean you know how to teach paddling. Teaching requires you know the skills competently but also be able to break them down into bite-sized pieces in an engaging way so students effectively 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. However, you may attend the training and be certified with continued status until you receive your First Aid and CPR certifications.
  4. Paddling skills: You must meet the American Canoe Association’s Level 1 and Level 2 SUP skills, and will need to undergo an Instructor Candidate Skills Assessment with us. This Assessment can be done during the training if you feel confident in your skills, or as a private lesson if you’d like some coaching beforehand. Please carefully review the Level 1 and Level 2 skills needed.

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 first learning the skills and then teaching those same skills. 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 ICE assesses students for certification. There's very little teaching involved in this format. Rather, we assess the instructor candidates through a series of teaching modules and either pass or continue. ICEs are typically held over one day.

*Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW): This is the format offered through Mike’s Paddle, and the most popular for SUP instructors, as it combines the IDW and ICE in the same workshop. We will both teach you the paddling-related skills and teaching skills you will need and we will also assess all attendees throughout the course through a series of teaching modules. You will finish with a pass or continue, and if passed, you will receive your certification directly from the ACA.

What does pass or continue mean? Pass means you're certified. Continued means you have areas that need improvement. If continued, we will work with you to develop a plan to improve on the skills you are lacking. You can then take a one-day ICE format class to pass your exam.


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

Instructor: Once certified by the ACA, you will join a group of several thousand instructors around the world. You’ll receive numerous benefits as an ACA-certified instructor, including group liability insurance, online classes, pro deals, and more! Learn more <>here<>.

Instructor Trainer: That’s us! We are the instructor trainers who will be teaching you both paddling-related skills and teaching skills. 

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

Refund Policy:

We will offer a full refund if Mike's Paddle cancels the training due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances or if a student cancels for any reason 30 days prior to the training. Students receive a 50% refund for cancellations between 30 and 14 days prior to the training, and no refund if cancellation is received less than 2 weeks prior.