The American Canoe Association was founded in 1880 as a national non-profit organisation in the US and nowadays counts roughly 50.000 members. It is the oldest and largest canoe organisation in the world. The objective of the ACA is the promotion of canoeing, kayaking and rafting as a recreational sport for all ages.

ACA instructors teach advanced paddling technique with an emphasis on ergonomics and efficiency. The field of canoe instruction consists of the basic courses 'SmartStart Paddler Orientation', 'QuickStart Your Canoe' and 'Introduction to Canoe'. Then there is a split between whitewater and quietwater canoe. For quietwater, there are two more levels: 'Essentials of Touring Canoe' and 'Freestyle Canoe'.

Essentially Freestyle is the highest ACA level of quietwater canoeing, and the ACA is the only canoe organisation worldwide offering Freestyle instruction. In Europe there are 17 ACA Freestyle instructors.