PSUPA Certifications

We are currently offering Flatwater Level 1 Certification, which is a prerequisite for our other certifications.  We also endorse the OnBoardSUP Teacher Training program for SUP Yoga.

Flatwater Level 1
The PSUPA Flatwater Level 1 Certification covers the skills you need to teach both a 1- and 2-hour basic SUP class confidently and safely. The curriculum emphasizes water safety, teaching risk management and rescue procedures. You also have the option to learn the basics of SUP business.  Certification is awarded upon completing the course, passing all tests, and achieving a satisfactory evaluation.    This certification is a prerequisite for all other PSUPA Certifications.

Duration: 2 Days or 3 Days as scheduled with PSUPA Instructor Trainer.   The duration commitment is a minimum of 2 days to cover all the required material. The Instructor Trainer may offer additional material specific to your instruction region or you may want to add on SUP Business to get more out of your certification program, all of which could extend the certification to an additional day.
Course Fees $65 US  annual PSUPA membership fee paid to organization. Certification fee is set by and paid to Instructor Trainer, and varies with location and duration.
Class Location: Calm protected flat water, close to shore with no boating traffic. Specific location will be selected by Instructor Trainer.
Goals: Learn how to teach a 1- and 2-hour basic SUP class, learn water safety, and leadership.  Optional basic SUP business skills also offered. See Curriculum below for more details.
Minimum Age of Participants: 18 years old.
Teacher-to-Student Ratio:  1 to 6  or 2 to 10.
Certification Valid for 4 Years: PSUPA certified instructors are required to take a one-day refresher course in their certification every four years to keep their certification valid.
Keeping Certifications Active:  Active Annual PSUPA Membership and Current First Aid / CPR certification is required to keep certification active.

Upcoming 2005 FW1 Certification Courses:

- Seattle, WA – March 20 – 22; April 10  - 12; May 1 – 3; June 12- – 14; with Rob Casey; Contact:

- Oahu, Hawaii – May 21-22;  with Robert Stehlik; Contact:

- Brewster, MA – May 15-17th; June 12-14th – Contact: Ryan Burch

- Roseville, CA – May 17 – 19th; Contact; Larry Froley


- New Denver, BC – May 11 – 12; Contact Bodie Shandro,

- Kamloops, BC – May 18-19; Contact Bodie Shandro,


  • Have current hands-on (i.e., not Internet-based) First Aid/CPR certification  or  Wilderness First Aid or Lifeguard Training certification.
  • Know basic SUP paddling techniques and directional control. This is not a course for beginners.
  • Be in good physical shape, and able to swim 200 yards and to lift and carry all equipment.
  • Hold current PSUPA membership.
  • Sign liability form, provided by Instructor Trainer.


  • Water safety, which covers, among other things, emergency preparedness and rescue techniques
  • Interpretation of weather and water conditions
  • On-water group management and communication
  • Leadership skills
  • Teaching concepts and techniques
  • How to teach the basic elements of stand up paddling
  • Approaches to teaching students of varying ages, including children; abilities; limitations; and skill levels
  • Lesson formats and preparation
  • Methods of teaching basic paddling techniques
  • SUP gear and equipment overview
  • Additional course add-on  available on request: SUP Business, which covers business models and procedures, including, among other things, how to start a business, insurance requirements, marketing, pricing and hiring  instructors.

Requirements for Course Completion and Certification:
Tests are Pass/Fail with Passing grade at 80% or better.

  • Pass on-water test
  • Pass written test
  • Demonstrate ability to teach land-based and on-water scenarios
  • Approval of Instructor Trainer through standardized student evaluation

Note: Instructor Trainer has the right to require further training prior to issuing certification if a student does not adequately demonstrate teaching skills and has a poor student evaluation.  It’s not uncommon for IT’s to ask a student to practice for 6 months to a year prior to being tested again.


Requirements for becoming an Instructor Trainer or IT:

- Current PSUPA Member

- First Aid/CPR certification (current)

- Successful completion of Flat Water 1 Certification

- Two years actively teaching on-water as a certified instructor.

- Payment of $125 to PSUPA

- Successful completion of the PSUPA IT Course and Exam.

Note: IT’s are required to be active in the organization on a regular basis. This includes discussions on our FB members page, FB Advisor/IT page, and assistance in development of certifications.  As well as following our Code of Ethics.  Non active IT’s will be removed.

The following SUP certifications are in development:  Flatwater Level 2; Surf; Rivers; Fitness; Downwind; Exposed Water / Offshore Guide.  Contact us if you would like to be notified when a specific course becomes available.