When SUP instructor certification is brought up in conversation, some ask 'What's the purpose of SUP instructor certification?" "I know how to paddle or surf, why would I need a piece of paper confirming this?"

My answer is usually "Would you hire a doctor or architect with any formal education or degree?"  SUP is no different. You're hiring someone you've never met to take your family out on the water.  Unlike many businesses or careers, you're not required in the USA to have a  formal certification or educational degree to operate. Why not be the most informed and skilled instructor or livery in your market?  Why wing it?

4 Benefits of Being SUP Certified:

  • We've found that not all SUP athletes or those that are good at paddling, can teach well. Often athletes forgot how long it took them to learn to paddle, or they were quick learners and didn't struggle at all to learn. In both cases, the athletes are unable to simplify or break down lesson content to fit the learning needs of everyday folks many of which may not consider themselves athletic and may come to class with low-self esteem or nervousness about standing up. A good certification program should teach instructors how to work with various personalities, learning types and those with physical challenges whether it be an injury, age or specific disability.
  • Many who decide to start a business have insurance requirements requiring them to be certified.  Insurance companies will also require a Risk Management Plan, Safety Guidelines, Waiver and that the instructor has 1-2 years of prior SUP teaching experience.  All of the above are included in our SUP Business module of our Flat Water 1 manual.
  • The more you know about teaching, the sport of SUP, water safety and being a good business person, the more likely you'll be hired.  Would you hire someone with minimal or no skills for something where safety is important?
  • When we receive inquiries about our certification, the folks are trying to determine which certification program to choose.  Why not take them all?  Each will take a slightly different angle on education and techniques. You will become a more thorough and skilled instructor with a wide variety of knowledge vs one perspective.
  • If you're interested in being hired by recreational centers, colleges, government agencies and the like, most likely they'll require your instructors or business to be certified. In order to work in education or government agencies, degrees and certifications are required. Why would they hire or contract services that don't meet similar requirements?
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