Our Certified Paddle Sports Instructors teach courses from The American Canoe Association National Paddle Sports Instruction Program. Instructors must also posses a minimum of 10 years of professional guiding and teaching experience to qualify as Lead Instructor or Trip Leader with our program.
Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Programs Include:
Basic to Intermediate Skills and Safety Awareness for Stand Up Paddlers (SUP)
This course will introduce participants to the nationally recognized American Canoe Association (ACA) Stand Up Paddle Boarding Program. This course is appropriate for beginner students as well as experienced paddlers who have never been exposed to a progression of Stand Up Paddling skills instruction. Students gain confidence in balance, bracing, and modern efficient paddling technique that will serve as a solid foundation for future learning and independent paddling trips. Courses are adapted to emphasize paddling SUP in the cold water environments found in Alaskan waters, including is of proper immersion wear (drysuits) and safety equipment.
The priority of this class is having FUN paddling SUP in a supportive environment, but also truly learning to control your SUP in all directions and gain confidence in self rescue.
This class prepares students with an introduction and practical application of safety equipment including use of visual/ audible signals, self rescue gear, vhf radios, and first aid and survival equipment.
Developing Skills & Seamanship for Coastal Stand Up Paddler Boarders (1 or 2 day format available)
If you are serious about learning to SUP or advance your current skills this is a great starting point for athletic paddlers and those with prior paddling experience in other craft such as kayak, canoe, or packraft.
This course builds on the foundational skills of board control and develops: balance, edging, bracing, and stroke coordination in progressive water and environmental conditions. Students refine self and assisted rescues in increasingly challenging conditions and begin to develop the skills and confidence necessary to safely paddle into conditions that most recreational paddlers would sit out. All with an emphasis on refining safe and efficient modern paddling strokes and technique.
This is also THE class for folks looking to add SUP to their fitness routine or even pursue racing or endurance events on SUP.
Video Analysis of individual’s skills are used to provide specific and immediate feedback on how one can improve on mastering strokes and maneuvers.
Basic chart reading, navigation, seamanship/nautical “rules of the road”, weather forecasting, and basic trip planning opportunities are included early on in these courses. Students prepare to deal with emergency procedures while on the water including towing injured paddlers, stabilizing an injury at sea, and communicating with outside resources in the event of an emergency.
Students from this class will gain confidence and likely move on to paddling in surf, whitewater, and more open coast SUP paddling with further practice and training.
Moving Water SUP Skills in: River, Whitewater, Tidal Current
Includes: ACA Level 3 River SUP &
For those paddlers wishing to paddle at the upper limits of the conditions found on Alaskan rivers and tidal flows appropriate for Stand Up Paddling. Having mastered skills and gained confidence in prior courses and on personal paddling objectives; students will practice skills progressions, advanced rescues, towing, and incident management at a higher level in moving water (class 1), whitewater (class 2), & tidal current. Seasoned instructors offer a safety net for students to push themselves and hone their skills in advanced conditions. Students practice self and assisted rescues, throw bag and simple rope system use, and simple water extrication drills to deal with foot entrapments, river crossings, and navigating moving water.
This is also a great class to prepare students to gain the skills and confidence to try surfing the local Bore Tide on Turnagain Arm on their own.
ACA Stand Up Paddle Board Skills Assessments and Awards.
Skills Assessment Courses are used to measure a students ability to perform a skill set at the appropriate level of environmental conditions. Skills assessments serve as a foundation to Trip Leader Certification and also help students prove they have met a certain skill set for employers, insurance providers, or academic programs requiring a performance measure of skills and abilities.
ACA Assessment courses have also been developed as a tool to allow paddlers a clear progression of skill development. Upon successful completion of each Skills Assessment checklist, your Instructor will submit the paperwork and you will receive official documentation of your level of skill from the ACA National Office. You will also be provided with a documented training plan to attain the next level of skills training and assessment as part of your assessment fee.
Note: to receive Skills Assessment documentation, you must be a current ACA member.
Level 4 Whitewater Stand Up Paddle Boarding Skills Assessment Award (*requires course venue with access to class II whitewater and river surf features)