I am an ACA certified coastal kayaking instructor (read, sea kayaks), so my responses will be related to that area.
- Does your choice of boat change depending on who or what you are coaching? If yes, what inspires this choice?
Yes. Boat fit is most important. Different boast fit different sized people. Outside of that, I will choose a boat that has a higher perceived stability for someone I think may not be as comfortable kayaking, is less fit, etc.
- If you had the choice, what type of boat would you place your participants in (after taking into consideration weight, height and strength)?
After boat fit, I then try to put them into a boat that is most similar to what they may use, based on conversations at beginning of class as to why they were learning to kayak. People looking at long tours would get a true touring boat, people looking just to paddle locally would likely get a day touring boat.
- Would you say being in a bigger or smaller boat is more advantageous for all parties? Please briefly explain your answer
Shorter boats generally track less well, so are good for teaching someone how to paddle forward efficiently. But can also be frustrating. Longer boats can be more frustrating for people to learn how to turn.
- Do you feel the use of spray decks is an important part of the kayaking experience? If no please explain further.
Yes, as skirts are one of the things that kind of make a touring kayak a touring kayak. One of the key areas we teach is getting in and out of a boat with a skirt, at shore and on the water.
If I was teaching a class on recreational type boats, we would not use skirts. For sit on tops, you can’t use skirts, If white water, it would involve skirts (unless they were using white water sit on tops).
- Do you consider it good practice to put beginners in spray decks in a sheltered environment? If no, what are your reasons?
Yes., Though it is pretty much a requirement of the ACA that any introductory level class be taught in a sheltered environment, skirt or no skirt.