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Instructional Offerings - Kayak Courses Description



ACA Instructor Trainer Educator in Open Water Coastal Kayak
ACA Endorsement in Traditional Kayaking Skills (Greenland)
ACA Endorsement in Adaptive Paddling
Registered Maine Guide -Recreation and Sea Kayaking


“Sea kayaking is a sport that has a quick learning curve to start and a depth of subject that never lets you get to the bottom of.”

Karen’s lifestyle has allowed her the opportunity to paddle in different parts of the world and has given her exposure to a variety of instructors, paddling styles and environments. All of this has allowed her to maintain a pulse on what is happening in the world of kayaking, increase her depth of knowledge and remain on the cutting edge. Whether you are new to kayaking or have been paddling for years, Karen invites you to join her and take your kayaking skills to the next level.

ACA Kayak Course Offerings with Karen Knight

Let Karen custom tailor an instructional program for you or your group. This is a great opportunity for camps, paddling clubs, corporate teams, friends or individuals to work on specific skills at their own pace. Traditional Kayaking Skills (Greenland) Stroke Refinement, Surfing, Navigation and Kayak Rolling 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.

The American Canoe Association (ACA) is the oldest and largest organization devoted to paddlesports and paddling instruction in the U.S.

Sea Kayaking is a dynamic sport and the ACA is continuously changing their course offerings to meet the demands of the public and sport. Below is a brief synopsis of some of the ACA courses currently being offered. Karen provide kayak instruction for paddlers of all ages, levels and abilities, as well as lead ACA Instructor Development Workshops (IDW), Instructor Certification Exams (ICE) and Instructor Updates.


1. ACA Quick Start Your Kayak: A 3 hour flat water course that is designed to expose beginners to very basic paddling skills and safety concerns to be aware of when paddling on calm and protected inland waters.

2. ACA Introduction to Kayak: A 6 to 8 hour course that is more comprehensive than Quick Start Your Kayak. It is designed to provide the beginner kayaker with an overview of the skills and knowledge necessary for safe paddling on inland protected waters. Basic maneuvering strokes, wet exits, assisted and unassisted rescues, kayak equipment and design and safety planning are just a few of the topics covered.

3. ACA Essentials of Kayak Touring: This one to two day course may take place on calm inland waters or protected ocean environments. In addition to covering basic maneuvering, strokes, wet exits and assisted and solo rescues, students will be introduced to rules of the road, ways to paddle as a group, dealing with boat traffic, as well as topics on the marine environment (tides and currents).

4. ACA Basic Coastal Kayaking: This course is the foundation of coastal kayaking instruction. Materials covered in this workshop include stroke development, rescues skills, basic navigation, plus an introduction to the marine environment (tides, currents, wind and waves).

5. Coastal Kayak Strokes and Maneuvers Refinement (With video analysis): In this course, students will work on moving from basic competence to kayaking with finesse and efficiency. Students will explore the subtleties of boat control and stroke refinement, so that their body, boat, and paddle may work as one in a fluid and efficient manner. An opportunity to video the student’s strokes and analyze them will be available – site and Mother Nature dependant.

6. Kayak Rolling: This clinic is designed to introduce paddlers to the technique of kayak rolling, including proper boat fit and adjustment for effective rolling, body conditioning and preparation, safe and effective wet exit technique, the bow rescue, developing an effective hip snap, proper body positioning & head placement. Depending upon the characteristics of the group, the C to C roll, Sweep Roll and/or Extended Paddle Sweep Roll will be taught. For more advanced rolls refer to the Basic Greenland /Traditional Kayaking Workshop.


7. Basic Greenland/Traditional Kayaking: In this course students will be exposed to Inuit history and the skills associated with traditional style paddling. This will include the touring and sliding stroke, sculls, balance brace, rescues and the different rolling techniques used.

8. Tides and Currents: This course is designed to teach paddlers how to navigate in current, read and handle tide rips and other related water conditions. Topics will include; the basic dynamics of tidal currents (current speeds, eddies, flow direction), strategies for navigating in current and how to control a kayak in current (crossing eddy lines, peel outs, ferrying).

9. Basic Surf Zone Techniques: This course is designed to introduce paddlers to sea kayak surfing techniques. Topics covered will include surf zone dynamics and hazards, group communication and safety, swimming in surf, launching and landing techniques, surfing etiquette, basic boat control, including bracing into breaking waves. Students must provide their own equipment, including helmet and paddlefloat

10. Coastal Kayak Open Water Navigation and Touring : This course is designed to prepare paddlers to comfortably and safely paddle on open water environments. In this class students will work on chart reading and navigation, advanced maneuvers and open water rescues.

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