Whitewater Kayak Instructor Courses

ACA Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructors Course: Gunnison/Crested Butte



This five-day intensive course is for those looking to become a certified whitewater kayak instructor. The American Canoe Association (ACA) is the governing body for kayak instruction in the United States. This 40-plus-hour course is focused on the latest technical knowledge, terminology, teaching skills, personal paddling skills and safety awareness in a swift-water environment. 

This course helps you work on personal and interpersonal development and pushes you to build skills and knowledge through peer feedback, video analysis and lectures. We combine practical on-water demonstrations and presentations with real-world scenarios that will equip you to deal with teaching this multifaceted sport as a professional. This course sets the industry standard for instruction in paddle sports.

The ACA instructor certification process is broken up into two core components: Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and Instructor Certification Exam (ICE). IDW presents students with the skills and knowledge that are required to become an instructor. ICE is an opportunity for each candidate to demonstrate proficiency in the presentation (logical progression) and demonstration (proper modeling) of the skills and knowledge necessary for certification.

ACA Curriculum

  • Introduction to Kayak
  • Basic River Kayak
  • Essentials to River Kayaking
  • Whitewater Kayak

Certification Criteria

  • At least 18 years old
  • ACA membership
  • Safety, Education and Instruction (SEI) Committee membership
  • Attendance at every session
  • Completion of homework, quizzes and tests
  • Course completion

Registration, Locations, Conditions

Registration: Call Wilderness Pursuits at 970.943.7051 to register. Payment required.

Course locations: Wilderness Pursuits office at Western’s University Center; Gunnison and Taylor rivers; and other locations as dictated by water levels. Meetings will be held at various locations.  

Conditions: To achieve certification, each candidate must show competency in technical knowledge, paddling skills, teaching skills, safety awareness and necessary interpersonal skills. You must be a solid Class III paddler with a solid roll and demonstrate proficient instruction for a Level 4 certification.


Whitewater Kayaking Instructor Update


This course is for those who are already certified as an ACA Whitewater Kayak Instructor, but need to complete an update course to maintain and renew certification. Includes two days on the river.

Cost: $220
Dates: Any two days of full course