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Instructional Offerings - ACA Course Description


ACA Instructor Trainer in Touring and Freestyle Canoe
ACA Whitewater Canoe Instructor
ACA Adaptive Paddler Endorsement
Registered (Recreation) Maine Guide


At just 5’0” and weighing in less than 110 lbs., Karen proves that you don’t have to be tall or have a lot of muscle mass to be a good paddler. It takes a passion for the sport, a strong desire for excellence, a commitment to practice and good instruction. One of Karen’s favorite quotes that she tries to apply to her paddling and imparts to her students is by Joanne Schmidt:

“If you have the patience to do the simple things perfectly you will acquire the skill to do the difficult with ease.”

Join Karen for a class and she’ll help you to paddle with efficiency, grace and ease.

ACA Canoe Course Offerings With Karen Knight

The American Canoe Association (ACA) is the oldest and largest organization devoted to paddlesports and paddling instruction in the U.S. The ACA has standardized several open canoe courses for tandem and solo paddlersand a system of workshop s called IDW and ICE for Instructor Development and Certification in these same disciplines. Karen Knight offers ACA solo and tandem canoe instruction for paddlers of all ages, levels and abilities and leads Instructor Development Workshops (IDW), Instructor Certification Exams (ICE) and Instructor Updates in basic touring and freestyle canoe. Whatever your canoeing needs, Karen will be happy to custom tailor a solo and/or tandem canoe instructional program for you or your group. Whether it is flat water, whitewater or freestyle canoeing, this is a great opportunity for camps, paddling clubs, corporate teams, friends or individuals to work on specific skills at their own pace. Stroke Refinement, Canoe Rolling and Canoe Tripping are only a few examples of available courses. Karen is available for private/semi-private instruction and coaching, as well as mentoring for those wishing to become instructors.


1. Quick Start your Canoe: A 3 hour flat water course that is designed to expose beginners to the very basic paddling and safety skills necessary to have when paddling on calm and protected water.

2. Introduction to Canoe: A 6 to 8 hour course that is more comprehensive than Quick Start Your Canoe.

3. Essentials of Canoe Touring: This two day course is the foundation of canoe instruction. The core strokes of paddling (those strokes, which make up 20% of the technique, but do 90% of the moves) will be practiced , as well as rescue skills, safety awareness and general knowledge of canoe sport.

4. Freestyle (Advanced Flat Water) Canoe: (Prerequisite: Recommended to have taken the ACA Essentials of Canoe Touring course or its equivalent and be proficient at paddling a canoe in a straight line). This is a five level course, where a minimum of 6 hours is spent per level. In this class students are introduced to the fundamentals of this elegant form of quiet water paddling. After concentrating on strokes, posture and alignment, kneeling positions and balance the students will progress through the four different quadrants learning the Axle, Christie, and other hallmarks of Freestyle technique.

5.Essentials of River Canoeing: In this one day class beginner paddlers will be introduced to the skills that will help them safely enjoy canoeing on gentle rivers.

6. Basic River Canoe: This 1 to 2 day course gives river track students a solid and complete foundation in flat water skills (It's where whitewater skills come from) and an introduction to applying them on moving water. In this class students will be exposed to the following skills: moving water techniques, stroke refinement, safety skills, reading water, hazard identification and how to run a river safely .

7. White Water: (Prerequisite: Recommended to have taken the ACA Essentials to River Canoe course or Basic River Canoe and be proficient on moving water). This 2 day course focuses on stroke refinement, safety and the macro and micro-river reading skill necessary to run class II proficiently and safely.

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