If you love the thrill of stand up paddleboarding (SUP), you might want to turn your passion into a career or side hustle by training to become a certified SUP instructor. With a SUP instruction course to suit every level and experience, take the leap into the great outdoors and pass on your wisdom and skill to others.

Read on for everything you need to know to become an SUP instructor, including details on the SUP instructor and SUP guide courses on offer at Water Skills Academy.

What do you need to become a certified SUP instructor?

In addition to passion, skill and the right equipment, you’ll need to pass a certified SUP instruction course, such as the ones Water Skills Academy run throughout the UK. The courses provide essential education on how to teach others to paddleboard to a high standard and are independent and credible proof of your SUP skills and experience.

How do I get started with certified SUP instructor training?

There are several courses on offer, but you will need to start with the Water Skills Academy (WSA) SUP Foundation Instructor course. To qualify you must also hold a recognised first aid qualification and complete the one-day SUP Safety and Rescue course, which covers the safety considerations and rescue techniques all coaches should be adept at.

What does the SUP Foundation level course involve?

The course provides you with the required skills and knowledge to safely introduce stand up paddle boarding to beginners in a sheltered water environment. It includes a mix of theoretical education, from the applicable rules and legislation, to essential safety information, as well as practical education in the various equipment you’ll need to coach beginners.

The course also covers teaching skills, including group management, coaching skills, fault finding and correction, and imparting a good understanding of technique. You will leave the course being able to plan sessions and confidently deliver them working within the structure of a school or centre.

Does the course only qualify me as a SUP instructor in the UK?

The foundation course at Water Skills Academy offers training in the various byelaws and legislation that govern SUP instructors. Our qualifications are recognised worldwide but we suggest that you check with your potential employers or licensing authorities prior to making a booking if you have any concerns.

What is the assessment?

At the end of the course, your theoretical and practical knowledge will be assessed. A typical assessment consists of an appraisal of personal teaching ability, paddling skills and a workbook task.

What happens after I’ve completed the SUP Foundation course? What further training can I undertake to advance my techniques?

This article covers the main entry point to qualify as a certified SUP instructor. Once you’ve finely accomplished the skills and techniques of teaching Level 1 beginner SUP, you might want to boost your career with qualifications to coach more advanced levels and specialist techniques.

The following courses are available at Water Skills Academy:

  • SUP Adventure Guide for coaching in open water and hazardous environments
  • SUP Expedition Guide for leading SUP clients in remote, wilderness environments during multi-day journeys
  • White Water SUP Skills and White Water Instructor courses
  • Monster SUP Flatwater Guide and Monster SUP Surf Guide courses
  • SUP Downwind Instructor
  • SUP Surf Instructor
  • SUP Fitness Instructor
  • SUP Ready to Race and Advanced Race Coach courses

Can I transfer my qualification from another course?

If you are qualified as a BCU kayak/canoe instructor, you can take the Water Skills Academy’s BCU to SUP Discipline Support module to enable you to teach stand up paddle boarding.

How do I book myself on a SUP instructor course? 

Browse our full range of SUP instruction certification courses and learn more about the benefits of choosing Water Skills Academy to become a certified SUP instructor. Hint, it’s not just our breath-taking locations but our trainer team is selected from some of the UK’s most experienced paddlers.