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L1-L2 SUP Instructor Certification Workshop

ACA Level 1 & Level 2 SUP
INstructor Certification Workshop




This 3-day American Canoe Association (ACA) SUP Instructor Certification Workshop is designed to provide experienced stand-up paddlers with the tools needed to share their skills with others.

ACA Certification is a two-part process: the Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) is an interactive learning/teaching exercise and the Instructor Certification Exam (ICE) is the formal evaluation of skills. An Instructor Certification Workshop combines these phases: learning and assessment will happen concurrently. For that reason, candidates in an ICW should already possess the skills outline in the ACA instructor certification criteria for Level 1 and Level 2. 

Candidates will be evaluated over the course of the program based on the following criteria.    Successful candidates may receive one or both levels of certification.

WHAT IS TAUGHT in this course?

This program focuses on modeling effective instruction of the skills, knowledge, and techniques necessary for successful certification. In other words, we "teach you how to teach stand-up paddling" as well as test you on your ability to do so. Each candidate will be assigned basic teaching topics and instruction methods to demonstrate both on and off the water. The instructor trainer will then critique candidates on their presentation skills, general knowledge, and stand up paddling technique.


Certification is based upon an evaluation of both paddling and teaching skills and is not guaranteed. The instructor trainer (IT) makes the final determination of whether a candidate may be certified, and if so, at which level:  Level 1:  Intro to SUP, or Level 2:  Essentials of SUP.

Candidates who fall just short of the criteria for certification may be "continued" at the IT's discretion.   Continued candidates are given a window of time to correct deficiencies in order to attain certification after the completion of the workshop.


The American Canoe Association (ACA) is the premier paddlesports organization in the United States.   Founded in 1880, the ACA now offers training and certification courses in canoeing; whitewater, surf, and sea kayaking; and standup paddleboarding.    The ACA is a strategic partner with USA Canoe and Kayak, the governing body for the US Olympic team.

ACA certification helps instructors grow through access to innovative curricula and a network of outdoor professionals who embrace excellence in paddlesports instruction.

The ACA provides instructors with access to course outlines, group insurance, and special industry discounts from leading paddlesports manufacturers.


  • 18 years or older only.
  • Be a current ACA member or join at the start of the program.   ACA membership dues are $40 annually; discounted memberships are available to 1st time ACA members.  
  • Be able to independently complete all skills, activities and rescues listed in the appropriate ACA Certification Course Outline and Instructor Criteria documents.




Essential Eligibility Criteria:

In order to participate in this course, each participant must satisfy the following essential eligibility criteria:

  • Be able to independently participate in all individual skills and activities listed in the course outline while also maintaining an appropriate and safe body position
  • Be able to hold their breath while under water and, while in the water wearing a properly fitted life jacket, be able to independently turn from a face down to a face up position keeping their head above water
  • Be able to effectively communicate with the instructor and other course participants
  • Be able to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a companion
  • Be able to manage all personal mobility independently, or with the assistance of a companion

Upcoming Dates:   JUNE 3-5, 2016


This program will take place at Punderson State Park in Newbury, Ohio.    Punderson is approximately 35 minutes east of downtown Cleveland and offers lodging options including on-site tent and RV camping, a full service lodge, and cabin rentals.


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