The following is a list of the kinds of topics that instructor candidates may be asked to present in a ACA Level 4 River Kayak Instructor course. Other topics may arise during the course or may be of particular interest for an individual to present. (See Level 1-4 River Kayak Skills courses, assessments and Instructor Certification Criteria for complete examples of the material that could be considered an L4 River Kayak Instructor’s “body of knowledge”.

Presentation assignments might be made more formally, where the candidate is asked ahead of time to develop and present on a topic, giving them a chance to thoroughly think through, research and develop materials,  or, candidates may be asked to make impromptu presentations on a topic to demonstrate their existing knowledge and ability to gain and maintain a group’s attention and participation.

Paying attention to presentation style, location, tools-at-hand, appropriate scope of material and key points are the goals in these presentations. Try to make them meaningful, interesting and pertinent. Use your normal routine of introducing the topic, providing a “sell” or motivation for learning the topic, demonstrate it (if appropriate), demonstrate it and have the class do it (if appropriate). Use assistants or co-instructors when possible. Try not to make the presentation a show of everything you know about a topic. Always recognize the time constraints a class places on you and hone your presentation to just the material the student needs to know at their level of progression.

Classroom (or Land)

  • Parts of a kayak
  • Float bags
  • Part of a paddle and how to hold it
  • Types of Kayaks
  • PFDs and how to wear them
  • Helmets and how to use them
  • Hypothermia/hyperthermia
  • How to dress for paddling
  • “The Big 5”
  • Paddling etiquette
  • Leave no trace

  • Wet Exit
  • Scouting
  • River Features
  • River hazards
  • Land Hazards
  • Warmup
  • Put-in safety talk
  • How to lift and carry a kayak
  • How to transport a kayak
  • Spray skirts and how to use them
  • How to use a throwrope- rescuer and swimmer
Flatwater (or Whitewater)

  • Sweep strokes
  • Stern Draw and Pry strokes
  • Forward Stroke
  • Sculling Draw stroke
  • Bow Rescue
  • T-rescue
  • Bracing
  • Edging

  • Eddy Turns
  • Peel Outs
  • Ferries
  • Bow Surfing
  • Side Surfing
  • Self Rescue /defensive/aggressive swimming
  • Boat bumping/bulldozing
  • Attainment
  • Broach Prevention
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