SUP Instructor Training

Take your skills to the next level. SUP
Instructor Training offers training and certifications for
the SUP professional. We follow the ACA standards
to deliver a rigorous yet fun experience.

2022 Calendar

  • April 2022, San Diego
  • May 2022, Colorado
  • June 2022, South Carolina

Certification Courses:

  1. Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF) certification – This 1- Day (8 hours) certification is designed primarily for staff from paddling outfitters, guides services, and paddle stores. This certification allows the facilitator to introduce paddlecraft safety and knowledge to the beginner paddler in a land-based setting.  The PSF certification course follows the ACA curriculum that can be found here. Cost: $99.00 per person. Minimum enrollment 3 people.
  2. ACA Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW) L1 –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.   Cost $350 per person, Minimum attendees 4, Maximum attendees 5.
  3. ACA Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW) L1/L2 –This 3-Day (24 hours) ACA L1 and L2 combined course offers the instructor candidate an opportunity to learn the skills for both levels.  The course focuses on Technical skills, Teaching Skills, Risk Management skills and the enhancement of the instructor candidate’s paddling skills.  L2 candidates will need competencies in advanced strokes/maneuvers and demanding conditions (15 + knots wind, 2-3 ft waves).  Advanced preparation (2 +hours) by attendees required. Cost of this workshop includes ACA membership and SEIC dues.   Cost $450 per person. Minimum attendees 4, Maximum attendees 5.

Non-Certification Course:

  1. One-Day non-certification training. This is an intensive skills-based training for instructors that have the teaching ability and are looking for skills refinement and advancement.  From 12 different paddle strokes to rescue and towing, this skills training can develop instructors that are not looking for a certification.   (Meets theACA skills for Level 1 or Level 2, though does not fulfill Instructor level criteria).  $99/person/day Minimum attendees 3, Maximum attendees 10.


Question #1
Do I get certified once I finish the ACA SUP Instructor Certification Workshop course or the Safety Facilitator’s course?

Answer: Mere participation carries no guarantee of certification. In order to receive an ACA Instructor certification you must demonstrate proficiency in:

1. Teaching Skills
2. Technical Knowledge
3. Paddling Skills
4. Rescue Ability
5. Safety Awareness, Leadership, and Judgment
Also, the Safety Facilitators course has a written exam.

Question #2
Why do you spent so much time teaching about teaching methodology and risk management in the ICW?

Answer: 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.

Question #3
Why is it that instructor candidates’ have to teach at least one topic during the ICW?

Answer: 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.

Question #4
What can I expect from the Instructor Certification Workshop course?

Answer: 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 o n 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.

Question #5
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

Question #6
What other resources do you recommend to get ready for the ICW?

Answer: 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.


1. Stand Up Paddling by Jimmy Blakeney – Jimmy is an ACA SUP Instructor Trainer and his video reflects the depth and breadth of the paddling techniques addressed and assessed during the ACA ICW. It is very clearly presented and has a friendly language/approach. This DVD should be in every SUP Instructor Library.

The ACA has a fantastic video library too.

2. Mastering Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Technique with Danny Ching – This is a good and simple video created be one of the top paddlers in the USA. Good to watch once, but not necessarily a DVD to keep for reference purposes. Additionally, trying to attend a live clinic with Danny Ching should be a goal for any SUP instructor looking to improve their technique.

Question #7
Why do you have to film me paddling a specific course during the ICW?

Answer: 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

Question #8
Why are the courses that expensive?

Answer: The courses are priced competitively within the industry. For example, the ACA ICW is valued at about $14/hr.

Question #9
What else do I need to do in order to obtain my ACA SUP instructor certification?

Answer: Besides taking the course and successfully passing all the performance assessments, you need two more certification requirements in order to be certified:

1. First Aid and age appropriate CPR
2. ACA membership and SEIC fee

Are you interested in more information? Click here