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Instructor Updates
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ACA Instructor Updates - continuing educationThis component of the National Paddlesports Conference pertains directly to ACA Instructors in all disciplines and at all levels. This conference serves as a continuing education opportunity as well as providing ACA Instructors with the ability to complete the Update portion of their Instructor Maintenance Requirement.

For currently certified ACA Instructors, the conference registration fee includes attendance at one Instructor Update.

Please sign up for the appropriate Update on the conference registration form. 

Instructor Updates offered

  • Level 1: Introduction to SUP
  • Level 1: Introduction to Canoeing
  • Level 1: Introduction to Kayaking
  • Level 2: Essentials of SUP 
  • Level 2: Essentials of Canoe Touring
  • Level 2: Essentials of River Canoeing
  • Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring
  • Level 2: Essentials of River Kayaking
  • Level 2: Essentials of River Safety & Rescue
  • Level 3: River Canoeing
  • Level 3: River Kayaking 
  • Level 3: River Safety & Rescue 
  • Level 4: Whitewater Kayaking
  • Level 4: Whitewater Canoeing 
  • Level 4: Swiftwater Rescue
  • Level 5: Advanced Swiftwater Rescue (Sat & Sun) 
  • Level 5: Advanced Whitewater Canoeing (Sat & Sun)

Here are some of our highly esteemed Instructor Trainers and Educators who facilitated the Instructor Update courses at the 2013 NPC in Bend, OR:


Marcel Bieg

Marcel Bieg earned his Bachelor of Arts in Wilderness Studies from Alaska Pacific University in 1996. He received his Masters of Science in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2006. Marcel is currently the Director of the Outdoor Leadership, Education and Recreation Program at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. Marcel has made a career in the experiential education field, beginning as a Raft Guide and Kayak instructor in 1994. Mr. Bieg has earned several Instructor certifications through nationally and internationally recognized organizations including the American Mountain Guide Association, the Association of Avalanche Research and Education, Leave No Trace and the Association of Challenge Course Technologies. In Paddle Sports, Marcel has worked with the American Canoe Association since 2003 and is a certified instructor Trainer in Whitewater Kayak and Whitewater Rafting.


Jose Gonzales

Jose Gonzalez, is a Level 2: Essentials of SUP Instructor trainer and a Level 1: Introduction to Kayaking Instructor.  He has been teaching and managing outdoor programs for over 20 years.  He has competed in multiple SUP races including the HanoHano and Battle of the Paddle race.  He considers himself a recreational athlete mostly doing functional training and fitness in the outdoors in order to qualify for the Molokai 2 Oahu race. 




Randy Carlson

Randy Carlson is the Adventure Sports Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Duluth, Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (UMD-RSOP).  This position is designed to get UMD students and the public directly involved with whitewater paddling, surfing, SUP, snow kiting, and longboard skateboarding.  He has done extensive work with instructor development throughout his career and has been involved with ACA instruction and slalom race production since 1984.  He now works as an Instructor Trainer Educator in the whitewater canoe, whitewater kayak and SUP disciplines.    Randy has served as a Co-Chair of the ACA’s Coastal Kayak Committee and has written a significant amount of the current curricula with an exciting new emphasis on SUP.  He is a well-known figure within the paddlesports community for his exceptionally versatile skills and wealth of knowledge related to skills instruction, outdoor program development, adventure travel and surfing on Lake Superior.


Pat Kohlin

Pat Kohlin is the Sea Kayak and Marketing Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Duluth, Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (UMD-RSOP). He collaborates with an Outdoor Program staff of four to provide college students opportunities to develop as outdoor educators. Pat is an ACA Level 3 Sea Kayak Instructor Trainer and Level 2 SUP Instructor. 





Josh Hall

Joshua Hall began his career with Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission in 1996 as a summer camp counselor for the Adventure and Teen venture camp programs. Over the next two years, while working for Charleston County School District, he continued his relationship with CCPRC's outdoor program as one of the first part-time Climbing Wall Assistants and a facilitator of the Challenge Course. In 1998 Joshua began his full time career with CCPRC as the Outdoor Program's Youth Coordinator and Camp Director. In 2002 he became the Water Coordinator and was a member of the team that worked to get CCPRC's Outdoor Program Accredited by the Association for Experiential Education (AEE). CCPRC is the first, and still the only, park and recreation to be accredited by AEE. In 2005 Joshua was promoted to the Manager for the Outdoor Program, a position he currently occupies. Joshua is most happy when he is teaching in the outdoors and sharing his knowledge with both youth and adult. He is a past Board of Director for the American Canoe Association (ACA) and chair of the ACA's Coastal Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard Committee. As the current chair of the agency's East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor Festival, he has continued the tradition of establishing this event as the premier paddlesport event, not only on the east coast but the country as a whole. Josh's favorite places to paddle are section 4 of the Chattooga River and the North End of Folly Beach, South Carolina.


Pat Welle

Pat has been kayaking for nearly 13 years and teaching for over 10.  She is an ACA Level-4 Coastal Instructor and Level-3 Instructor Trainer who lives in Portland OR, where she paddles mostly off the deck of her floating home.  She frequently paddles, teaches and surfs at the mouth of the Columbia River in the more complex waters near Astoria.  She spent over 4 years as instructor/guide and owner of Columbia Kayak Adventures on the Columbia in eastern Washington, and has done trips to northwest Scotland and southern Chile.  Pat’s teaching passion is to help students see the ease that comes from proper technique, and find exercises that help teach a stroke while not concentrating on it – all while having fun.



Sam Drevo

Sam Drevo is a former US Canoe and Kayak Team member in Slalom, Wildwater, Freestyle, and Ocean Surfing. He has been teaching paddling for 21 years, and is one of the most productive whitewater instructor trainers in the US for the past decade. Sam runs eNRG Kayaking- a kayak school & adventure travel company based out of Oregon City, and Mill City Oregon.  Sam is a Rescue 3 swiftwater rescue instructor, WFR and was trained as a lifeguard instructor.  In his spare time Sam is an award winning video producer (trout on the Wind), photographer, and likes to organize river cleanups.  Recently, Sam was the We Love Clean Rivers project manager on the "Mid Run" Legacy Ripple Sculpture project in Oregon City to be dedicated October 5th, 2013. 



Janet Burnett-Cowie

As an instructor of paddlesports, not only does Janet Burnett Cowie teach the skills of kayaking, but she often plays the roles of life coach, fear manager, and motivational guru. "My hope is to keep it fun, exciting and challenging," she says about her passion. "I want everyone to come away with something: maybe a desire to become a better kayaker, or maybe just the satisfaction to have accomplished something they did not think they could do. I want to help people learn that whitewater kayaking is more than just what they have seen on the extreme channel. It's a sport to be enjoyed by all skill levels and demographics." 


Chris Stec

From south Louisiana to western North Carolina to Virginia, Chris has been affiliated with paddlesports in a variety of ways. Prior to becoming the Chief Operating Officer of the ACA, Chris worked as an outdoor instructor for the YMCA, a raft guide for the Nantahala Outdoor Center, a Program Director at a prominent summer camp and in the ACA’s Safety Education & Instruction Department. Chris holds the following ACA paddlesports certifications:

• Level 5: Advanced Whitewater Canoe - Instructor Trainer Educator

• Level 3: Whitewater Stand Up Paddleboarding – Instructor Trainer Educator

• Level 5: Advanced Swiftwater Rescue - Instructor

• Adaptive Paddling Endorsement

A love for competition has allowed he and his wife to place at regional and national downriver races in tandem canoe.


Steve Scherrer

Steve, based out of Ocean Park, WA is a Boat Designer and Teaching & Technical Specialist for Confluence Watersports.  He is also an ACA Instructor Trainer Educator for L5: Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayak and L2: Stand Up Paddleboard. In addition, he is a member of the Coastal and SUP Committees.  He started paddling a canoe in Boy Scouts at age 10, and has been deeply involved in paddlesports since. He became involved with the ACA in 1992.  Steve, Cindy (his wife) and Keith Jensen founded Alder Creek Kayak Supply, Inc., in 1986, in Portland, Oregon. They sold the business in 2004. In 2001 he assisted Confluence Watersports in the design of the Tempest sea kayak, and now works for them full-time. Living on the West Coast allows plenty of great testing venues for the many projects they are working on and he is proud to be a traveling sea kayak ambassador for Confluence Watersports. 

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10/9/2015 » 10/11/2015
Swiftwater Rescue Conference

Revised Instructor Trainer Process - Discussion

10/16/2015 » 10/18/2015
Pine Barrens Canoe Symposium

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