National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

The NCCP program is the gold standard for leadership certifications programs in Canada for all sports organizations. It is broadly recognized by National and Provincial sport governing organizations, school boards, municipal recreation departments and other organizations involved in sport and recreation. By bringing kayak leadership, instruction and coaching under the NCCP umbrella, the sport can be widely recognized across Canada.

The NCCP's Competency Based Education and Training format provides a broad new platform with a different approach to community leadership, instruction and competitive coaching. It also allows for individuals to challenge the certification process and opens the way for Paddle Canada, BCU- or ACA- certified instructors to cross over easily to the new CKC/NCCP program. This re-certification can be done in a relatively simple manner through the regular re-certification process at a weekend workshop or special teaching evaluations.

NCCP CKC Whitewater Development Model

  

NCCP Course Providers in Alberta

Aquabatics Calgary - Simon Coward - Calgary

Chuck Lee - Pincher Creek

Eric Lund - Edmonton

High Level Canoes & Kayak - Craig Ellis - Lethbridge

Jim Myers - Grande Prairie

Lori Davis - Rocky Mountain House

Mike Holroyd - Calgary

Rocky Mountain Paddling Centre - Mark Taylor - Calgary

Western Kayak Adventures - Jiri Stolarik - Calgary

Certification Levels

The certification programs offered through the AWA are focused on developing safe and effective instructors and leaders.  Listed below are the various levels available to instructors and leaders wishing to teach courses or lead other paddlers in various settings.

 LEADERSHIP DEV MODEL 10.pdf

Additional fees apply to instructor members, see Course Fees for more information.

Pool Kayak Instructor 1
Lake Kayak Instructor 1  
Combination Pool & Lake Kayak Instructor I

Swiftwater Rescue and Safety

River Kayak Leader 2
River Kayak Instructor 2
Combination River Leader 2 and River Instructor 2

Whitewater  Kayak Leader 3
Whitewater Kayak Instructor 3
Combination Whitewater Kayak Leader 3 and Whitewater Kayak Instructor 3

 


 

Pool Kayak Instructor

Target Audience:     Lifeguards and swimming instructors who work at pools who wish to teach kayaking, teachers or youth leaders wishing to teach kayaking for their groups and club instructors running winter pool sessions.
Course Duration:     8 hours
Prerequisites:

  • Minimum Age: 16 years
  • Must have previously experienced the basic skills involved
  • Does not have to be an experienced or proficient paddler

Environment: Indoor & outdoor swimming pools or controlled beachfront swim areas, with lifeguards present
Course Outline:

  • Risk management
  • Basic pool safety
  • Pool and paddling equipment
  • Boat fit
  • Getting in and out of boats - dryland and wet exits
  • Basic strokes; forward and reverse; sweeps, draws, hip flicks,  and hand of god
  • Practice routines
  • Games
  • Professionalism, ethics, and promotion

Lake Kayak Instructor 1

Target Audience:     Club or summer camp instructors teaching kayaking on unsupervised flatwater sites
Course Duration:     8 hours
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum Age: 16 years
  • Must have intermediate flatwater skills
  • Certified as a NCCP Pool Kayak Instructor 1
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:  Teaching beginners on outdoor flatwater, such as lakes, canals, ponds or non-moving water sites (flow less than 10 metres/minute)
Course Outline:   This course builds upon the basics of the pool course. It includes:

  • NCCP overview
  • Equipment
  • Risk management
  • Teaching methodology
  • Site selection and group management
  • Environment monitoring – weather and water conditions
  • Technical skills; forward & reverse paddling, sweeps, low & high brace, draw, bow draw, flatwater roll
  • Common paddling injuries
  • Basic rescue techniques for lake environment
  • Games and exercises
  • Professional issues and administration

 

Check out these video clips for a reference of the paddling skills required for certification as a Lake Kayak Instructor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr2MvSMJ7zA&list=PLmdJ_UnnshFfdYxRay5kpPJEZjMIhufSs 

 


Combination Pool and Lake Kayak Instructor

Target Audience:     Club or summer camp instructors teaching kayaking in supervised pools and on unsupervised flatwater sites
Course Duration:     Two days
Prerequisites

  • Minimum Age: 16 years
  • Must have intermediate flatwater skills
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Teaching beginners in the pool and on outdoor flatwater, such as lakes canals, ponds or non-moving water sites (flow less than 10 metres/minute)
Course Outline:     This course combines the basics of the pool course and the technical review of the Lake course. It includes:

  • NCCP overview
  • Basic pool safety
  • Pool and paddling equipment
  • Boat fit
  • Getting in and out of boats – dryland and wet exits
  • Basic strokes; forward and reverse; sweeps, draws, hip flicks, high and low braces, flatwater roll, and hand of god
  • Practise routines
  • Games
  • Professionalism, ethics, and promotion
  • Teaching methodology
  • Risk management
  • Site selection and group management
  • Environment monitoring – weather and water conditions
  • Common paddling injuries
  • Basic rescue techniques
  • Professional issues and administration

 

Check out these video clips for a reference of the paddling skills required for certification as a Lake Kayak Instructor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr2MvSMJ7zA&list=PLmdJ_UnnshFfdYxRay5kpPJEZjMIhufSs 


Swiftwater Rescue and Safety

Target Audience:     This Whitewater Canada course is recommended for all paddlers
Course Duration:     Two and a half days
Prerequisites:     AWA Members
Environment:     Class I-III whitewater
Course Outline:   

  • Risk, incidents, and liability
  • River dynamics (hydrology)
  • River hazards
  • Trip safety and planning
  • Throwbags
  • Wading and swimming
  • Tow systems and in-boat rescue techniques
  • Knots and anchors
  • Tag and snag lines
  • Mechanical advantage systems
  • Leading rescues and organization of rescues

River Leader 2

Target Audience:     Club members who wish to lead river trips
Course Duration:     One and a half days
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Class III (intermediate) whitewater paddling skills
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Class I-II whitewater
Course Outline:    This course is risk management-focused and covers the details of trip-planning and leading a group down the river on Class I and II water. It includes:

  • Risk management: liability, waivers, standards of care, emergency action planning
  • Planning and preparation
  • Paddler screening
  • Risk assessment and decision making
  • Leadership skills
  • River hazards and hydrology
  • Group management, scouting & communication techniques including river signals
  • Demonstration of rescue and paddling skills

River Instructor 2

Target Audience:     Club, school, or commercial instructors wishing to teach kayaking on easy rivers
Course Duration:     One and a half days
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Class II (intermediate) whitewater paddling skills
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification
  • Certified as a NCCP River Leader 2
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Instructing beginner and novice groups on Class I-II whitewater
Course Outline:

  • NCCP overview
  • Equipment
  • Risk management
  • Teaching methodology
  • Site selection
  • Group management and communication
  • Session planning
  • Technical skills; basic eddy turns (in and out), boat ferrying, s-turns, surfing, backlferrying, and the moving water roll
  • Common paddling injuries
  • Basic rescue techniques
  • Games and exercises
  • Professional issues and administration

 

Check out these video clips for a reference of the paddling skills required for certification as a River Kayak Instructor 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uuZKm2gnT0&list=PLmdJ_UnnshFf5z6iUjgjVJSSnoDA5lXs0 

.


Combination River Leader 2 and River Instructor 2

Target Audience:     Club, school, or commercial instructors wishing to teach kayaking on easy rivers
Course Duration:     Two and a half days
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Class II (intermediate) whitewater paddling skills
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification
  • Certified as a NCCP Lake Kayak Instructor
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Leading and instructing beginner and novice groups on Class I-II rivers
Course Outline:

  • NCCP overview
  • Equipment
  • Risk management focused and covers the details of trip planning and leading a group down the river on Class I and II water
  • Risk management: liability, waivers, standards of care, emergency action planning
  • Planning and preparation,
  • Paddler screening
  • Risk assessment and decision making
  • Leadership skills
  • River hazards and hydrology
  • Group management
  • Scouting & communication techniques including river signals
  • Demonstration of rescue and paddling skills
  • Teaching methodology
  • Site selection
  • Instructional group management and communication
  • Session planning
  • Technical skills: basic eddy turns (in and out), boat ferrying, s-turns, surfing, backlferrying, and the moving water roll, common paddling injuries, basic rescue techniques, games and exercises, professional issues and administration

 

Check out these video clips for a reference of the paddling skills required for certification as a River Kayak Instructor 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uuZKm2gnT0&list=PLmdJ_UnnshFf5z6iUjgjVJSSnoDA5lXs0 

 


Whitewater Leader 3

Target Audience:     Club, school, commercial instructors or guides/leaders who wish to lead advanced whitewater trips; safety boaters, other professional paddlers, etc.
Course Duration:     One and a half days
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Class III-IV (advanced) whitewater paddling skills
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification
  • Certified as a NCCP River Leader 2
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Class III whitewater
Course Outline:     This course follows the same format as the Kayak Leader 2 course, but for trip planning and leading on Class III water. It includes:

  • Risk management: liability, waivers, standards of care, emergency action planning
  • Planning and preparation; remote runs, map analysis, GPS
  • Paddler screening
  • Risk assessment and decision making
  • Advanced leadership skills
  • River hazards and hydrology
  • Group management, scouting & communication techniques including river signals
  • Demonstration of rescue and paddling skills

Whitewater Instructor 3

Target Audience:     Club, school, or commercial instructors wishing to teach kayaking on intermediate/advanced rivers
Course Duration:     One and a half days
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Class III-IV (advanced) whitewater paddling skills
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification
  • Certified as a NCCP River Instructor 2
  • Certified as a NCCP Whitewater Leader 3
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Instructing intermediate and advanced groups on Class III whitewater
Course Outline:

  • NCCP overview
  • Equipment
  • Risk management
  • Teaching methodology
  • Site selection
  • Group management and communication
  • Session planning
  • Technical skills: basic eddy turns (in and out), boat ferrying, s-turns, surfing, back ferrying, the moving-water roll and pivots
  • Common paddling injuries
  • Basic rescue techniques
  • Games and exercises
  • Professional issues and administration

Combination Whitewater Leader 3 and Whitewater Instructor 3

Target Audience:     Club, school, commercial instructors or guides/leaders who wish to lead advanced whitewater trips and teach kayaking on intermediate/advanced rivers
Course Duration:     Two and a half days
Prerequisites:

  • AWA Member
  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Class III-IV (advanced) whitewater paddling skills
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification
  • Certified as a NCCP River Leader 2 and River Instructor 2
  • Active instructors must have Standard First Aid and CPR certification

Environment:     Leading and Instructing intermediate and advanced groups on Class III whitewater
Course Outline:     This course follows the same format as the Kayak River Leader 2 course, but for trip planning and leading on Class III water

  • NCCP overview
  • Equipment
  • Risk management: liability, waivers, standards of care, emergency action planning
  • Planning and preparation; remote runs, map analysis, GPS
  • Paddler screening
  • Risk assessment and decision making
  • Advanced leadership skills
  • River hazards and hydrology
  • Group management, scouting & communication techniques including river signals
  • Demonstration of rescue and paddling skills in difficult water
  • Risk management
  • Teaching methodology
  • Site selection
  • Session planning
  • Technical skills: eddy turns (in and out), boat ferrying, s-turns, jet ferries, surfing, pivots, side surfing and spins
  • Common paddling injuries
  • Games and exercises
  • Professional issues and administration

Certification Fees

Payment

Many of the leadership courses are offered as a combination Leadership and Instruction certification. Leaders, Instructors and Coaches may take multiple courses in a calendar year.

When an individual takes multiple courses in one calendar year, the Certification Fees collected will be to a maximum of $120 in the year. An example of this would be if Joe Paddler takes a Lake Kayak Instructor 1 in the spring and then does their Swiftwater Rescue in the summer and a River Kayak Leader 2 in the fall, then Joe would pay $120 in certification fees for the first course and no other fees for the other two courses. They would still have to pay the regular overhead and facilitator costs for each course but they would not have to pay the National/Provincial fees again.

Fees include provincial and national certification fees.

 Course Duration  Fee Exclusions
 Pool Kayak Instructor  8 hrs  $90  1,2,3
Lake Kayak Instructor  8 hrs  $120  2,3
 Combination Pool and Lake  Kayak Instructor  2 days  $120  1,2,3
 Swiftwater Rescue and Safety  2.5 days  $60  2,3
 River Leader 2  1.5 days  $90  2
 River Kayak Instructor 2  1.5 days  $120  2,3
 Combination River Leader & Instructor 2 (AWA & NCCP Level 2)  2.5 days  $120  2,3
 Whitewater Leader 3  1.5 days  $90  2,3
 Whitewater Instructor 3  1.5 days  $120  2,3
Combination Whitewater Leader & Instructor 3  2.5 days  $120  2,3
Canoe/Kayak Whitewater Coach Intro 2.5 days $120 2,3
Canoe/Kayak Whitewater Slalom Coach Development 2.5 days $120 2,3

Exclusions:

  1. Does not include pool costs 3 hours of pool rental or clean, warm swimming water required, local host organization is best suited to make this booking.
  2. Does not include advertising, administration, travel, accommodation or meal costs for running a course that may be charged by the service provider.
  3. Does not include Learning Facilitator fees.

 

Payment

Payment for Certification Fees can be made to your Learning Facilitator, Host Organization or directly online to the AWA. To pay your fees online go to:

https://www.albertawhitewater.ca/civicrm/event/info?id=27

Instructor Guidlines

Upon successful completion of the course instructors will be registered with the AWA, CKC, Paddle Canada and with NCCP.

  • Active instructors are required to re-certify every three years.
  • Active instructors who use AWA insurance through a club are required to use all AWA forms such as waivers and medical forms, for all instructional and leadership programs.
  • Active instructors are required to maintain First Aid and CPR certification
  • Active instructors on the river are required to maintain Swiftwater Rescue and Safety

Recertification

Target Audience: Course specific; coaches/instructors who have previously taken the full course and who wish to remain certified

Course Duration: Course specific, typically one to two days, approx. half the original course time

Prerequisites:    

  • Provincial or territorial paddle sports association member
  • Minimum age 16 years or 18 dependent upon level of course
  • Must have documentation of having previously taken the full course
  • Documentation of having taken an equivalent course in another jurisdiction may be acceptable, but should be confirmed with Learning Facilitator prior to the course
  • Standard First Aid and CPR certification may be required
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Safety Certification may be required

Environment: Course specific

Course Outline:

  • Administration and program overview
  • Risk management
  • Teaching methodology
  • Course content (curricula) and required competencies review
  • Practical demonstrations of knowledge/skills
  • Other as required, course specific

 Course Fee: course specific

History of paddlesports certification

The Evolution of Kayak Leadership Certification

River Safety and Leadership Development courses address the issue of risk management and skill development within whitewater sport for the AWA.

Originally British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec developed their own provincial kayak instructor certifications in the late 1970's. The AWA has had a leadership & instructional program since 1978, based upon the work of Darryl and Dale O'Brien, Ray Sharp, Jim Archer and Chuck Lee. It included competency based instructional levels and curriculum skills taught by course conductors at all levels of whitewater kayaking.

In 1981, the Canadian White Water Association (the precursor to CKC-Whitewater) began developing a national coaching program within the National Coaching Certification Program under the leadership of Chuck Lee, Eric Munshaw, Bill Richardson, Gary Barton and others. It became apparent early in the planning process that before coaching for competitors could be developed, fundamental skills needed to be taught to novice and intermediate paddlers. The original NCCP program focused on instruction at the lower levels in NCCP, WW Kayak 1 and NCCP WW Kayak II. Coaching was later addressed at the advanced levels with NCCP III and IV based upon the work of Sheryl Boyle. In 1985, the Alberta Whitewater Association's program involving Basic Instructor 1 and River Instructor II merged with the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). The AWA still maintained the Trip Leader, River Leader and Whitewater Instructor III programs separately.

The NCCP program brought the 4 provincial programs together under the NCCP banner. NCCP Level I and Level II coaches were dually certified as Lake and River Instructors. NCCP Level III and IV coaches were recognized as Intermediate and Advanced Slalom coaches. One of the challenges with the NCCP was the requirement of Instructors to be trained in non-essential theory topics such as nutrition and energy systems.

While Canada was developing these programs, the American Canoe Association, the British Canoe Union and other national kayaking federations also began certifying leaders, instructors and coaches.

In 1998, Paddle Canada began certifying recreational kayak instructors as an adjunct of its recreational canoeing and sea kayaking programs.

In 2001, the Coaching Association of Canada announced a new NCCP philosophy that required CKC-W to review the existing participant development model and leadership certification system. Alberta's Chuck Lee was asked to step back in to lead the effort to update our NCCP Whitewater Kayak leadership program. This review and redevelopment process took 8 years to complete. The new program rolled out under the CKC standard as we worked through getting NCCP approvals.  The new program provided quality kayak instruction that teaches young and old to properly paddle the boat of their choice at the level that they choose to be involved at. 

The nature of our sport over the past 50 years continues to evolve and this has challenged our system of leader / instructor / coach certification. Recently the broader availability of sea kayaks, touring kayaks, puddle jumpers and other low-end recreational kayaks has led to a greater interest from Canadians to try kayaking. Kayaking in Canada continued to be fragmented and struggled to have a National Kayak Instructor certification program that was broadly recognized. This weakened the ability to service the needs of Canada's paddlers.

In 2008, thanks to the efforts of Alberta's Mark Taylor and Claudia Van Wijk of Madawaska Kanu Centre, CKC-W and Paddle Canada agreed to amalgamate the Paddle Canada river kayaking program into the new NCCP program. Instructors certified in the NCCP program would be recognized as trained in the Paddle Canada river kayak instructor program. In 2015, Mark, Claudia and Chuck were able to complete all the requirements to have full recognition of it's Instructor certification program including:

Pool Kayak Instructor    

Lake Kayak Instructor 1

River Leader 2

River Instructor 2

Whitewater Leader 3

Whitewater Instructor 3

In 2017, Mike Holroyd from Alberta completed the writing and testing of the first 2 modules for Coaches in the NCCP framework for whitewater competitors.

Whitewater Coach Intro

Whitewater Slalom Coach Development

We are now working to launch the next steps in our coaching program including: 

Whitewater Freestyle Coach Development 

Canoe Polo Coach Development

  • Government of Alberta
  • Coach Canada
  • La Farge
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