ACA Visits Caribbean Island of Dominica

Rick Green, ACA President with Dominica Government Tourism Officials.
ACA invited to Caribbean island of Dominica to assist Government Tourism Board in establishing commercial canyoning regulations. Click HERE for article.

Dominica July 2022

Extreme Dominica Team, ACA Assessment Certification 2022.


The ACA has recently returned from certifying 6 Professional Guides and 1 Assistant Canyon Leader on the Caribbean island of Dominica.  Joe Storms, Bruce Shapiro and myself spent 8 days in a stunning jungle environment, training and assessing the guiding and technical skills of 7 fine gentlemen.  The company’s name is Extreme Dominica, and they have been in operation as a professional canyoning guide service since 2007.  They focus is on running high quality canyoning adventures for folks visiting the island via cruise ship.

LINK HERE for Facebook photos.

Joe is from Jasper Canada, he teaches all critical aspects of Class C guiding and is our Guru in that realm. His analytical skills and detailed feedback are priceless to the success of achieving our objectives.  Bruce Shapiro of SLC Utah has elevated Instructing to a very high level with his work at the U of U.  He can teach complex topics in a variety of styles that opens many students minds.  Also up for pre-dawn explorations and just about anything else.  My job is to talk a LOT about pushing and sequencing butts through canyons, mixed with stories of consequential search and rescue missions and other lessons learned.

The owner of Extreme Dominica (EXDOM) is Niels Noteboom, a man of incredible talent and unending generosity.  Every single need we had was handled easily, no matter how challenging the request.  The support he gives the Team is inspirational.   His Partner and Lead Guide Coordinator Mr. Nahgie Laflouf kept focus on optimizing every minute of our time with the Guides.  When Nahgie says “no worries, we got this”, he means it.  The whole program is run incredibly tight and it is a privilege be around and associated with such dedication to professionalism.  A Five Star operation.

The guides themselves are absolutely phenomenal. The amount of canyon guiding experience they possess is extraordinary and is matched with a clear passion for guests safety and empowerment.  The two Senior Guides have been leading these adventures for a combined total of well over 25 years and had run thousands of people safely through the canyon.   Even the “new guide” had been leading for 8yrs!  Everything Guide had spent years spotting, coaching, sequencing, providing good belays….it was all there.
The canyon and surrounding terrain is fantastic.  The primary routes they guide are through a deep and sinuous slot canyon, cut into soft volcanic stone by a spring fed river.  The beauty is almost overwhelming, but the sliding, jumping and rappelling into crystal clear pools probably helps keep the guests pretty focused:). High quality public adventure is an exotic setting.!

Our days started early at the shop, which is set up very nicely and has everything you need.  Good music, fresh bread or pastries from Berani, a little bad dancing (me:) while we get into wetsuits, then we’d be on our way.  To a canyon, to a river, to a canyon river….training, training, training.  Each evening we’d finish up at late and get to the shop where Niels had a locally catered dinner ready to nourish our tired brains and bodies.  The men focus and skill levels compelled each of us to dig deep inside and elevate our efforts to another level.  One heck of an experience!

As a bonus, we met with the overseeing government authorities who are currently writing rules and regulations for commercial canyoning tours on the island.  They are very dedicated to ensuring their Island has high quality guide services for visiting tourists, and it is great to see their proactive approach to finding a healthy balance between responsible tourism and protecting the Natural environment.
Special thank you to all your Hosts.  Not only did they go out of the way to show kindness and sincere gratitude, they made each of us feel as we were a part of they’re Team.  The openness in which we were received will forever stick in my mind, I learned much, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.  Also much love to Joe and Bruce.  Excellent work, profound experience.
ACA Dominica Fest 2023’.  Ya buddy, more fun ahead!  Stay tuned.  LINK HERE for Facebook photos.


Safe Travels,                                       
Rick Green
EoE Owner/Guide
ACA President

Guide.Leader.Aspirant.Rendezvous 2022 / GLAR

Howdy ACA GLAR 22’ Attendees-  Hopeful that everyone has arrived home safely.  Well, it has been another safe and successful GLAR, and I want to send a quick thanks out to all  who contributed.  Which is all of you.  Bringing together that many talented people in a remote location, working together in harmony towards the common goal of improving safety…its a pretty special thing when accomplished….and that is exactly what we did.  Nice work!

The ACA Instructors generous gifts of both time and knowledge is extraordinary on many levels, and we are incredibly fortunate to have such kind people on our Team.  Instructors rock!  The Attendees were attentive, super helpful and generous as well, offering to assist others in their endeavor to become stronger and smarter canyoneers.  What a very nice thing to be around.

Including just a few quick photos of the fun on then ACA FaceBook.
Safe Travels,                                          
Rick Green
EoE Owner/Guide
ACA President

ACA Updated Skill Assessment Format

Spring 2022 Canyon Leader Assessment
Greetings Members –
The American Canyoneering Association has a new Skill Assessment format.  In response to Member input (thank you), we have refined elements of the program that is working well, and added new items to help us Assess your canyoneering skills effectively and efficiently.  Two experienced “test groups” were part of the experimentation process, extending a special thank you to them as well.  The general feedback from the Test Groups and Assessors is that we have significantly improved the Assessment experience.  Those who passed Assessment felt they grasped the material very well, and those who did not pass understood precisely why, and how to proceed forward.  This is the goal we endeavor towards together.
Quick summary of Assessment Format Changes: 
– 2 Initial opportunities at each station.
– Stoppage of tasks at point of error.  Called a “Strike”.
– Immediate debrief and explanation of error.
– Available Training on tasks between “Strikes”.
– “Comeback”.  A third Strike opportunity, for those meeting qualifying criteria (*see below).
Skill “Stations”-  Each Station will have a task that likely includes a single item to assess or a combination of multiple elements from the Skills Lists.  At Stations, you will arrive, be informed of the task(s) and given the opportunity to ask clarifying questions.  Following this, the Task Assessment will formally begin. It may be a timed task, such as a rescue, or it may be something simple or subjective that is not timed.  Either way, the task and the parameters will be clear, so there is no ambiguity regarding expectation.
Station “Strikes”-   Students receive two initial attempts to pass each Skill Station.  Failures at a Station results in a “Strike”.  If an unrecoverable error occurs, your Assessor will stop the assessment immediately and explain any mistake in technique, sequence, etc.  Following this, the student can practice with trainers or other strong peers and later return to the station.  Two Strikes at the same Station will result in a “Station Standby”.
Station “Standby”- Two Strikes at a Station is a Station “Standby”.  If the student has equal to or less that the qualifying number of Station Standby’s (4-Aspirant, 3-Assistant Leader, 2-Canyon Leader) they receive a third attempt or “Station Comeback” at the Station(s) they have failed.
*Station “Comebacks”   Must be completed within 30 days of original Assessment.  The “Comeback” attempts may occur immediately following the completed Assessment or it may be scheduled.  This will be based on available time and the Assessors discretion.
Assessment Failure-  If a person exceeds the number of authorized Station Standbys, it will be an Assessment Failure.  Students are welcome to stay and observe, or even assist the assessors with certain tasks, but their assessment will be over at that time.  Direct feedback provided by Assessors can be used to develop a training plan for going forward.
That’s it.  Thank you for everyones help in this endeavor to build the strongest training, assessment and certification program possible.  See you at the next workshop, assessment or other event. Train well, be safe, have fun.  GLAR  starts Friday!!!  Honduras next, Dec 1-4, 2022:)
Rick Green
ACA President
LOCAL: 435-826-4714

ACA’s Newest Pro Guide!

Guillaume Coupier

The American Canyoneering Association would like to congratulate Guillaume Coupier for the successful completion of the ACA’s Pro Guide assessment and certification.  He is the owner-operator of a canyoning guide service in Western Canada (gorgeous canyons) and is a respected member of the thriving Canadian canyoneering community.  He arrived exceptionally well prepared, with a focus and professionalism that was immediately apparent.

Guillaume moved through technical skills with a level of expertise that allowed him to solve difficult challenges with ease. He has the ability to assess, adapt and move forward with a grace that comes from hard work and dedicated training in a variety of technical disciplines.  His leadership style is a solid balance of thoughtfulness, empowerment and clear communication.
I appreciate that Guillaume is personally committed to continue advancing the collaboration among the Canadian and American canyoneering communities. These expanded opportunities will help us all grow stronger and safer, together.  His vision for the future is super exciting and the insight he possesses is unique and inspirational.
This is such a fantastic combination of qualities, skills and experience.  It is a real honor having him join our ACA Team.  Thank you for the excellent work Guillaume, and welcome aboard.
*Special thanks to Joe Storms for assistance with this.

ACA Sovereign Canyoneer Skills List


Hello ACA Canyoneers-

The formal skills list for the new Sovereign Canyoneer Course is complete and posted on the ACA Website.  Yay!  This new recreational level training program is for our Members who seek a higher level of training to elevate experience opportunities and improve personal safety.   Take a moment to look over this list of super useful canyoneering skills. Sovereign Skill Checklist
Special thank you to Steve Szoke and Rebecca Haacke (plus MANY others) for contributing to the development of this excellent new training option.  Very cool.
Thats it for now.  Let’s get ready for another fun year of training together, being safe and having lots of great adventures….fun stuff ahead:)
Rick Green
ACA President
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