ACA Level 5 – Advanced Whitewater Kayak Instructor ICW


Hello and welcome to your river leadership/instructor course! The River Kayak L5 Upgrade is an interesting foray into the world of advanced kayak instruction and the ACA’s guidelines, curriculum, and criteria leave a lot of grey area for interpretation. The indisputable difference however, between L4 and L5 is the attention to safety and risk management. This is the only level in the River Kayak discipline that requires participation in, at minimum, an L4 Safety and Rescue Course prior to participation in this Upgrade Course.

Needless to say, L4 safety courses are not conducted in the environments in which we can potentially be teaching in for L5. More on that later.

In addition, teaching topics and methods at the L5 level are especially ambiguous and no especially more developed than the L4 level, which asks “what is the purpose of the L5 certification?” As such, my goal is further cement ideologies of risk management and prevention in complex environments, and dispel myths of boat and biomechanical physics on a much deeper level than what is required at the L4 level. This exercise below is the first step in that process.

Please set aside a respectable amount of time for this phase of the class and offer complete answers to the questions below. You will likely find that there are more than one solution to the problems or questions I present to you and you will often find that the answer is, “it depends.” Your ability to distill the possibilities as opposed to sticking to one or two dogmatic answers is usually the distinguishable difference between a rote learning instructor, and the the developed coach who can guide a student to problem solve creatively to their own solutions.

Once every candidate submits their answers, I will compile the answers into a document and distribute at our first meeting for the course. It is incumbent upon you and your success in this course to complete this task allowing me ample time to receive, digest, and archive this into a format for your consumption.

I and your peers thank you in advance for your understanding and respect to this first step in your L5 pursuit!

Welcome to your L5 - Candidate Questionnaire