This is a how-to-instruct course and certification for the person looking to offer basic how-to SUP beginner lessons or an entry-level SUP experience in a reasonably safe, non-challenging environment (ie lakes, harbours, inlets, sheltered coastal waters etc, as opposed to surf beaches or fast flowing rivers). The course covers everything you need to know in order to operate on a commercial basis and/or with school groups, youth groups, ‘Education Outside The Classroom’ programmes etc. Check out the reviews of this and the other Level 1 courses here.
This is a completely online-based course. Instead of a practical assessment, you will have to submit video assignments and complete a test. So the entire process can be completed from your own location, wherever you are in the world. To complete the assignments you will need access to paddleboard equipment, and the assistance of at least two other people; one to film you and the other (ideally two or three) to be your ‘students’ in your assignment videos. (At least one of these will need a paddleboard and paddle as well). You will also need to pass the SUP RESCUE course and have a valid 1st aid certificate in order to complete this certification.
Note – if you intending to teach paddleboarding in New Zealand then you must complete the NZ-based course in one of its forms, which cover the specific legal requirements for teaching SUP in NZ. For more information on the various ways of completing the L1 NZ course click here.
You may be wondering whether an online-only course can be a valid way to complete an instructor course. Rest assured, it is no easy shortcut to a certification! Check out our FAQ pages for much more information on this.
The online learning lessons in this course cover the theory, safety understanding and background knowledge to operate safe and productive sessions, along with a step-by-step guide on exactly how to deliver that perfect beginner lesson. The equipment you will need is also discussed.
The course will take about 12 hours to complete, plus a few extra hours of practice and the time taken to complete your assignments. You should also allow 2-3 hours for completing the SUP RESCUE course.
You are welcome to repeat the online lessons as many times as you like, and you will continue to have access to the material after completion, so it remains a valuable information archive.
To achieve the certification as a Level 1 SUP instructor, you must also demonstrate the required level of paddling ability, which will also be done by video. Advice on bringing your paddling technique up to the required level is included as part of the course, along with feedback and assistance in completing the assignments to a satisfactory level. See the FAQ pages for more information on the assessment process.
If you would be interested in becoming an assessor so that you can offer the assessments for the L1 and L2 courses locally, then please contact us. The courses are already being used successfully in several other countries, and by organisations which employ a large number of staff and can therefore save considerable money by managing their own assessment process. (You will need to complete and pass the L1 and L2 courses first.)
The qualification will begin as of the day after completing and passing the practical assessment, and is valid for 2 years. Renewal will cost around $100 per further two years, and this can also be done online here.
The $300 fee for this course covers the online learning material (including continued access throughout your license period) plus the skills assessment and subsequent advice. Payment can be made via credit card or paypal by clicking on the registration button above, or by bank transfer.
When you take payment from clients - whether it’s for a lesson, tour, EOTC session or guided experience - you have created a workplace and you become subject to Health and Safety legislation. You have legal responsibilities to your clients, other team members working with you, and anyone else that may be impacted by your work. This lesson looks at Health and Safety Law, understanding your working area & safety responsibilities, the legal concepts of Duty of Care and Negligence, how the legal framework changes for volunteer rather than paid instruction, and other legislation that may apply during your lessons
This lesson looks at why we have documentation, and the four documents that every commercial SUP operation should have: The Safety Management Plan document (SMS), Standard Operating Procedures document (SOPs), Risk Assessment & Management Documentation (RAMs) and the Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
Proper planning is an absolutely vital part of safety management, and makes the whole process of preparing for a session much easier and more efficient. This lesson discusses why we do the planning,how to do a venue analysis, what needs to be done in terms of planning before a session and what needs to be done when you arrive at the venue
This lesson looks at the safety briefing(s) that must take place at the start of every session. This is an absolutely essential part of the process, and it’s important that the right things get said. The lesson discusses why we do the briefing, the various topics that should be covered, and briefing the other instructors and/or staff members.
This lesson looks at the sort of issues that could arise during a SUP activity and require some sort of intervention or a change of plan. The lesson discusses what actually constitutes a problem, the various types of problem of problem that may occur and their likelihood and significance.
This lesson looks at how to deal with problems that may occur during a SUP activity. Firstly, it sets out a general approach for dealing with problems, and then applies it to a number of common problem scenarios.1 Test |1 hr
This lesson looks at the important skill of maintaining control of your group of clients whilst on the water. It discusses recommended group sizes, good practice recommendations for the instructor, group dynamics, and how they can impact on a group and the problems with group control that the instructor may encounter, and how to deal with them.
This lesson is about working with young people. It discusses the legal & ethical considerations for working with young people, recommended minimum ages, general advice on working with youngsters, some of the problems and issues that may arise and a quick look at some of the paddleboard-related activities you can consider when working with young people.
This lesson looks at the vital skills of understanding specific aspects of weather, and the impact they will have on your lessons and activities. The lesson looks at understanding wind strength and direction, the implications of the wind direction in relation to the shore, rain and other weather considerations.
Understanding the risks of cold water is an important aspect of general safety knowledge and understanding for the SUP instructor. Likewise the risks of problems from water pollution. This lesson discusses the physiological effects of cold water immersion, how long the effects take, in various temperatures of water, what to do if you are in cold water, water pollution and quality issues, and how to check water quality.
A comprehensive understanding of tides and currents is an absolutely fundamental requirement for the SUP instructor operating on coastal waters. Every single lesson and activity will be affected by tides and currents, both in terms of general logistics and administration, and overall safety. This lesson discusses why tides happen, the tidal cycle, when currents are weakest and strongest, the implications of the various states of the tide, how to ‘read the beach’ and assess the tide state, a brief summary of different types of surf conditions and their implications, understanding currents in general and how rip currents are formed.
This lesson looks at SUP Board design and dimensions. Being able to interpret the measurements and appearance of a board in order to understand what it does and who it will be suited for is a vital skill for the paddleboard instructor – particularly when it comes to the question of board stability. The lesson discusses the anatomy of the paddleboard, the importance and relevance of the main parameters and how these factors determine the stability of the board.
Understanding the different options is very important for any paddleboard instructor who is likely to be advising their clients on board choice, etc, and understanding the pros and cons of each style of construction is of course pretty vital when making purchases for the school, and understanding the problems that the school equipment may encounter. The lesson discusses the various types of board construction, the pros and cons of each, inflatable boards construction and why there is such a wide difference in quality and prices between inflatables.
If you are teaching adult clients to paddleboard then you are almost certainly going to come up against this question on a regular basis. The lesson discusses what questions to ask the client, how to interpret their answers, and then works through some practical examples.
the SUP instructor needs a basic understanding of SUP paddles, if only to ensure that the clients are using right size and style of paddle for their requirements. However, as the paddle is such a fundamental part of the SUP experience, it’s good to also understand the different constructions, options, blade shapes, adjustment mechanisms and how to advise a customer on purchasing a paddle. This lesson covers all these points, and also looks at setting paddle height and how to advise a customer on what paddle to purchase.
Using a PFD while on a paddleboard is a legal requirement in many parts of the world. However, some PFDs are well suited to SUP, others are most definitely not. Understanding the pros and cons of the various styles, and their relevance and suitability to SUP is vital knowledge for the SUP instructor.
The leash is 99% of SUP safety, and the SUP instructor must have an excellent understanding of leashes, not just for their own work, but also when advising clients on sup safety in general. This lesson discusses why we wear a leash, the potential pitfalls in wearing a leash, attaching the leash to the board, the different styles of leash and which is best for which conditions.
This lesson looks at the equipment choices for teaching beginner SUP, and also the equipment that you the instructor should be using. It discusses what boards, paddles, leashes and PFDs to use for clients, and for the instructor, other equipment for schools, such as wetsuits, footwear, clothing etc, and what else the instructor should be carrying and wearing.
The beginner SUP lesson should follow a fairly formal structure, to ensure that everything is covered properly and to ensure the greatest possible chances of a successful session. It should be considered as five distinct phases: pre-lesson-preparation, safety briefing & maybe a warm-up, on-the-beach instruction, the on-the-water session and then the post-session stuff; warming down & following up. In this lesson we go through each of these phases in full detail, giving you an exact template to work from.
This lesson is about your clients. As you will very quickly find, they come in an incredibly wide variety! Understanding their motivations, their physical and personality differences will play a large part in the success of your lesson, and may have an impact on safety aspects too. The lesson discusses who your clients may be, why are they there, the factors affecting skill development and understanding group dynamics.