I recently assisted Steve Scherrer on an ACA Level 1/2 SUP ICW in Long Beach with ten SoCal instructor candidates. We spent the first 30 minutes of the course on the 2nd floor balcony at Bayshore Park, just a short paddle from Marine Stadium Park, rowing site of the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In the foreground we watched locals enjoying the heat wave on the beach and in the water, in the background we stared at the snow-covered Mount San Antonio, tallest point in Los Angeles county standing at over 10k feet. Below us a production company was creating the set for Dexter, scheduled to shoot later that evening. Where else would you get all this? It was great.
Steve & I decided to try a new schedule which worked very well. We got the greetings and expectations out of the way and got right on to the paddling. Most of day one was spent reviewing & learning paddle strokes. The way this course is laid out, candidates are expected to show-up with highly developed standup paddling skills - strokes, maneuvers & experience. We're not there to teach them paddle strokes, we're there to help refine their already developed skills and give them the resources they need to effectively teach them to others at the ACA standard. It's a challenging schedule. In my opinion, the course is ready to be split into an IDW & an ICE, much in the way that kayaking instructor trainings work.
In addition to reviewing and refining strokes, we look into how people learn new things and then change the way we teach based on that information. Candidates practice teaching over and over. They take turns in a leadership role, they lead groups on journeys, and they're given tons of feedback. It's a challenging course for most candidates, but most go away with a deeper understanding of paddling concepts and a new appreciation of how much really is involved with SUP.
The next ACA SUP ICW I'm working on is June 3-5, 2013 in San Diego, CA. For more information on the course, check out the instructor criteria here. Contact me in you're interested.