Are you keen to turn your paddle boarding passion into a career? With the right guidance, you can! If you have got the skills and dedication to this fun water sport, then why not look into becoming a SUP instructor and teach others how to paddle board?
Not only will you be spending your days out on the water, but you will also be sharing the thrill of stand-up paddle boarding with other people. That is a win-win in our eyes.
We have done the research for you, creating this ultimate guide on how to become a paddle board instructor. From what it takes to pass the instructor certification exam to specific avenues you can explore within your career, keep reading for everything you need to know about teaching the art of SUP. Cultivating your passion for paddling could be a dream come true.
A paddle board instructor teaches the proper techniques needed to paddle a SUP board safely and effectively. Instructors generally teach beginners the basics, however, some intermediates may take lessons to improve their paddling technique and master more advanced paddle boarding turns.
It doesn’t stop there though. There are also different avenues of paddle boarding that an instructor can lead a class in. From touring or surfing to SUP yoga classes, being a SUP instructor can be as fluid as the water you paddle on!
There are four main things that you need to have to become a SUP instructor:
Becoming a qualified instructor allows you to teach paddle boarding within a water sports school environment and covers you legally. If you want to embark on a paddle boarding career, then you need to have these qualifications to abide by safety measures and regulations.
Sure, we have all given our buddies or kids a basic SUP lesson to get them started. But when it comes to teaching the public, you need to be fully qualified.
Getting qualified opens more than just one door into the water sports industry though. A SUP instructors qualification could help you get into a variety of job roles:
To qualify as a SUP instructor, there is a certain criterion you must meet. These requirements are generally the same across the board regardless of where you choose to do your qualifications:
You are also required to obtain membership to whichever certifying board you do the qualification with. As the instructor, it is your responsibility to ensure that your first aid certificates are up-to-date and you participate in any renewal workshops required for the SUP certification.
There are several different certifying bodies across the world that offer a similar standard of SUP instructor training courses and qualifications. The below all provide courses and certification that is internationally recognized, meaning your teaching career could take you traveling around the globe.
The following courses are variations of SUP instructor certification offered by ASI. The other examining bodies provide similar qualifications that may be named slightly differently.
The Level 1 SUP Instructor or Technical Coach course is an entry-level certification. The aim of the course is to teach participants how to deliver basic SUP lessons, short SUP paddle tours, and safely handle SUP rentals in enclosed flat water locations.
This is a good introductory course for anyone that is interested in kickstarting a new career. Enclosed flat water locations include creeks, rivers, lakes, lagoons, estuaries, and canals with no swell or breaking waves.
Add On Level 1 Technical Coach
The Technical Coach certificate add-on focuses on providing coaching to improve performance for recreational paddlers and recognize common paddle boarding mistakes. This course teaches you how to conduct assessments of SUP skills and create ongoing training programs.
Take your standard Level 1 qualification to the next level. The Level 2 SUP Instructor course reinforces how to deliver basic SUP lessons, short SUP paddle tours and SUP rentals, but on exposed waters.
You will focus on exposed water hazards, techniques and instruction methods needed for these exposed water conditions, and share how to read water conditions.
Add On Level 2 Technical Coach
The Technical Coach certificate add-on allows you to teach SUP lessons to improve technical paddling ability for exposed water locations.
From yoga to surfing, and everything in between, you can specialize your training to give you the best teaching techniques and experience to pass on to other paddlers.
When giving SUP lessons to newbies, you are going to have to explain all those terms we just use in our everyday paddle board vocabulary. You need to break down the equipment so your students know what you are talking about during the lesson. This will include the nose, tail, hull, and cockpit as a minimum!
Here is some more SUP life jargon that you will probably encounter as an instructor:
The best SUP coaches will want to continue developing and improving their teaching skills to provide great quality lessons. So, how do you become a better SUP coach?
Firstly, always remain patient with everyone and make it fun. Students will learn things at different paces. As long as you stay friendly and patient during the session then everyone should have fun regardless of how many times they fall in the water!
One of the best ways to improve your coaching skills is to keep up to date with the industry and ensure your qualifications remain valid. This is also a requirement for many employers within the water sports industry.
Paddle board instructors are expected to demonstrate a certain level of technique and skill set. Most qualification courses require you to show short paddle strokes, reverse paddle boarding and push turns among other basic techniques. As you progress through to more advanced courses, you will have to demonstrate more advanced skills.
To teach paddle boarding, you need a recognized level 1 teaching qualification along with a first aid certificate and water rescue certification. These qualifications need to be maintained and kept up to date with renewals and additional workshops where necessary.
Different examining bodies have their own requirements for paddle boarding instructor qualifications. However, most ask for these aspects as a minimum:
Most certifying bodies provide internationally recognized teaching qualifications. However, it is a good idea that you check directly with the course provider if you are hoping to travel abroad and teach paddle boarding.
You cannot use a surf instructor qualification in place of a paddle boarding qualification. While there are crossovers between the two sports, there are specific techniques you need to learn in how to teach and deliver SUP lessons. However, you can use the same first aid and water rescue certifications.
Renewal of SUP instructor certification is required worldwide. Most qualifications are valid for 2-3 years, however, this can vary. Check with the issuing body and your employer what is required to continue working as a paddle board instructor.
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