ACA Levels – An Explanation 2017-11-28T07:05:49+00:00

Choose Your Level

The RIVER & OCEAN program is built around the American Canoe Association’s instructional curriculum. Our focus is on Intermediate and Advanced classes and trips (Level 3, 4 & 5). If you are looking for an Introductory Class (Level 1 or 2), please visit our PARTNER’s websites.

The goal is to help you easily understand the progression of classes available and identify which Level of class is appropriate for you.

LEVEL 1 (Kayaking & SUP): INTRODUCTORY level. Calm, flat water, protected from wind, waves and outside boat traffic, with no apparent current and within swimming distance of shore. NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.

LEVEL 2 (Coastal Kayaking & SUP): NOVICE level. Protected water near shore with winds up to 10 knots, waves up to one foot, and current up to one knot. You should have ideally spent some time in a kayak or on an SUP to enjoy and get the most from a class at this level.

LEVEL 2 (River Touring / Whitewater Kayaking): NOVICE level. Flat water and rivers of no more than Class I difficulty. You should have ideally spent some time in a kayak to enjoy and get the most from a class at this level.

LEVEL 3 (Coastal Kayaking): INTERMEDIATE level. Protected freshwater lake or saltwater cove environment. Waves should not exceed 1 foot; winds should not exceed 10 knots. Groups must be kept within ½ mile of shore. If teaching/assessing in current should not exceed 2 knots. A Level 2 class (or similar training and experience) is strongly recommended for a class at Level 3.

LEVEL 3 (Surf Kayaking):  INTERMEDIATE level. Flat water venue and Ocean beach with surf less than 3ft., off shore winds less than 10 knots. You should have ideally spent some time in a kayak in surf and a solid combat roll is strongly recommended to enjoy and get the most from a class at this level.

LEVEL 3 (Whitewater Kayaking & SUP): INTERMEDIATE level. Course may be conducted on sections of rivers rated up to class I-II. You should have ideally spent some time in a kayak or on an SUP on moving water is strongly recommended to enjoy and get the most from a class at this level.

LEVEL 3 (Surf SUP): INTERMEDIATE level. Surf break with 1 to 2 foot waves (as measured by the face of the wave) and offshore winds less than 10 knots. A Level 2 SUP class (or similar training and experience) is strongly recommended for a class at Level 3.

LEVEL 4 (Coastal Kayaking): ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE level. Average wave height less than 3 feet; winds should not exceed 15 knots; current not to exceed 4 knots. Groups must be kept within 1 mile from shore. A Level 3 class (or similar training and experience) is strongly recommended for a class at Level 4.

LEVEL 4 (Whitewater Kayaking & SUP):  ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE level. Course may be conducted on sections of rivers rated up to class II-III. You should have ideally spent some time in a kayak or on an SUP on moving water is strongly recommended to enjoy and get the most from a class at this level.

LEVEL 5 (Coastal Kayaking): ADVANCED level. Areas where escape from rough conditions is reasonably accessible. Courses should not be taught in flat calm, but conditions such as: Wind up to 20 knots; seas to 4 feet; spilling surf with average wave height less than 4 feet; currents up to 4 knots, with standing waves. Some combination of 2-3 of these conditions may exist but all 4 together are not recommended in the same course. Completion of an L4 course (or similar training) and proficiency and experience in executing all strokes, maneuvers and techniques in open water is required for a class at Level 5. A reliable roll and the ability to aggressively self-rescue required

LEVEL 5 (Whitewater Kayaking): ADVANCED level. Minimum of class III whitewater / Maximum of class IV whitewater. Completion of a Level 4 whitewater course and proficiency and experience in executing all strokes, maneuvers and techniques needed for paddling on class III whitewater. A reliable roll and the ability to aggressively self rescue required. Participation in a Swiftwater rescue course strongly recommended.

Upcoming Courses & Events

  1. San Francisco Bay Night Trip

    December 30 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
  2. Rough Water Rescue

    December 31 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
  3. Sea Kayak Surfing Clinic (Dillon Beach)

    January 7, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
  4. Performance Kayak Surfing Clinic

    January 13, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
  5. Night Out the Gate

    January 13, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Book online now!

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