Flat Water 1 certification using video for classroom portion ...

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, leadership, and teaching risk management and rescue procedures. You also have the option to learn the basics of running a SUP business.

Certification is awarded upon completing the course within 6 months. This includes passing all tests and achieving a satisfactory evaluation of your teaching, leadership skills and attention to safety. You will receive a PSUPA Certified Instructors Manual that covers everything covered in the course and more. This certification is a prerequisite for all other PSUPA Certifications.

The classroom portion of this course consists of 9 prerecorded Zoom video training sessions (approximately 11.5 hours total) from a class led by PSUPA Master Instructor Trainer, Robert Stehlik, who is also the owner of Blue Planet Surf, located in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Upon completion of the self paced video portion and passing the on-line test, candidates will spend a day on the water with one of our I.T.s to demonstrate the skills and procedures discussed along their ability to lead.  The videos cover the information in the PSUPA Flatwater1 Instructor manual and will give you the information need to pass the on-line test and prepare you for the 1 day water portion of the course.

The candidate is responsible for managing their own logistics for getting the “On-Water” portion of the course completed.  Including, but not limited to: Scheduling, Location, Travel & Equipment costs.  (note: PSUPA can provide IT referrals for your area, but cannot guarantee, price or availability).

Course Duration: Typically 2-3 days. Minimum of 2 days.

Minimum Age of Participants: 18 years old.

Teacher-to-Student Ratio: 1:6, 2:10 or 3:15.


Learn how to teach a 1- and 2-hour basic SUP class, learn water safety and leadership.

Optional basic SUP business skills. See curriculum below for more details.

Certification Requirements

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 hands-on First Aid / CPR certification is required to keep certification active.


  • Have current hands-on First Aid/CPR certification or Wilderness First Aid or Lifeguard Training certification or the equivalent for your location.
  • Be in good overall physical shape, be able to swim 200 yards and be able to lift and carry all equipment.
  • Be able to launch and land a board safely, as well as safely fall from and remount a board.
  • Be comfortable walking on a SUP board and comfortable balancing in various water conditions.
  • Know basic SUP paddling techniques and be able to maintain directional control of a board, including various strokes for turning and paddling straight.
  • Be able to paddle a minimum of 3-5 miles in varied conditions – for example, flatwater and bumpy.
  • Have at least basic knowledge of paddling equipment, SUP terms and history of the sport.
  • Have positive interpersonal skills.
  • Hold current PSUPA membership.
  • Sign liability form, provided by Instructor Trainer.

*** This is not a course for beginners.


Note: Instructors have the right not to pass students who cannot adequately demonstrate the skills or have a poor overall evaluation. 

If you are not an experienced paddler or don’t yet meet the requirements for this certification, please consider taking some basic and advanced SUP classes from one of our Certified Instructors before pursuing this certification.



  • 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, abilities, skill levels, and limitations
  • Lesson formats and preparation
  • Methods of teaching basic paddling techniques
  • SUP gear and equipment overview
  • Additional add-on course available on request: SUP Business - which covers business models and procedures, including how to start a business, insurance requirements, marketing, pricing and hiring instructors. A SUP Business Manual is included with this add-on.

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, which includes accessing leadership, teaching skills, and attention to safety

Cost for Certification

PSUPA Membership (annual membership) $ 85.00
On-Water Session (Price is set by local Instructor Trainer.  Typically a 1 day session) Set by Instructor Trainer
On-Line Test $14.25
Miscellaneous- Any associated travel or equipment rental costs for completing On-Water Session Varies

Certification is valid for 4 years (with active membership)

The entire course must be completed within 6 months from starting, (unless a preapproved extension is granted), so it is strongly advised for candidates to solidify their plans for the on-water portion prior to beginning.

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