The Paddle board Instructor Pathway explained.

 In Paddle Boarding with Newquay Water Sports Centre, Training courses, Uncategorized

SO, you want to become a Stand up paddle boarding instructor (SUP)… We dont blame you.. its an amazing way of life, a way to give mack to people, a way to enjoy nature and the great outdoors whilst being paid… Why wouldn’t you want to a SUP instructor? Its a life changer.. but how do you do it??? Keep reading about our paddleboard instructor pathway.

Newquay Watersports Centre offers a pathway using the WSA (water skills acadamy) awards. Why the WSA?

The WSA was set up and is ran by paddleboarders for paddleboarders. The WSA has a bank of trainers and assessors that deliver the courses whom are all passionate paddle boarders and are very well qualified in there field of expertise. The WSA pathway is easy to use and follow and covers all elements of paddleboarding allowing individuals to follow there specific field of interest. for example, if you want to lead expeditions there is a pathway for this or if you want to guide white water there is a pathways for this or if you want to coach elite athletes there is a pathway etc.

The WSA offer a system for Individual coaches, Paddle boarding centres, and Clubs as well as recreational members. As a WSA Instructor there are a number of benefits such as, access to resources, personal paddling insurance, a waterways license, instructor insurance and more.

How to become a paddle boarding instructor

Become a WSA proffesional Member

Set up a WSA Account

Enroll onto a WSA SUP SAFETY AND RESCUE AWARD – dates can be found here see below for details on this award.

Enroll onto a WSA INSTRUCTOR AWARD – If you meet the requirements during the course you will be given a Pass, if not you will be defered and a further assessment will be required. See below for details on this award.

At this point you are a SUP INSTRUCTOR “HURRAH” which means you can teach paddle boarding on an enclosed body of water (see details for remit of award below) If you want to become a Paddle Boarding Guide then you have to continue the training.

Enrol on a WSA ADVENTURE GUIDE TRAINING AWARD – These are done in three categories – Coastal, River and Open water.


“CONGRATULATIONS” You have full filled your dream of guiding people on amazing paddle boarding Journeys and Tours.. You are living the dream..

For futher information on pricing scheme and each award continue to scroll down the page.

Prices – 2023

WSA Proffesional Membership – £66

WSA SUP SAR – £115 – 1 day

WSA SUP Instructor – £250 – 2 days (if you dont make the cut, re-assessment is £200)

WSA ADVENTURE GUIDE TRAINING (Coastal or River or Open water) £250 – 2 days

WSA ADVENTURE GUIDE ASSESSMENT (Coast, River or Open water) – £200 – 1 day.

Details on each course.

WSA SUP Safety and Rescue (SAR) –

The SUP SAR award gives you all of the safety and rescue skills to be able to run safety for paddleboarding. If your a hire centre or wanting to become an instructor this is the foundation of being running safe operations. This is an assessed award and there are some basic per-requisites to be able to complete this award.

“A one-day course, providing a full understanding and practical application of safety considerations and rescue techniques, essential to accompany any SUP coaching awards.”

This course is renewable bi-annually.

The Pre-requisites are –

  • First Aid Qualification (this can be completed after the course) although it is preferable to have prior to attendance. WSA recommends a 2 day outdoor specific first aid course.
  • Complete a pre-course online learning module.

ABILITY – Paddle confidently in light winds upwind, across wind and downwind; be able to demonstrate two types of turns confidently.

REMIT – Sheltered/Open Water/Slow Moving Water. Please note that this is NOT a whitewater rescue specific course and does not qualify instructors or guides to work on whitewater rivers.

Minimum age 18


A two-day course, designed for those looking to teach SUP basics to beginners and improver’s in a sheltered water environment.

The WSA SUP Instructor Course is designed for those who want to teach SUP basics to beginners and improvers in a sheltered water environment. The course is predominantly designed for freelance instructors and those working within the structure of a school or centre.

ABILITY – You will be required to have good paddling skills in light winds, upwind, across wind and downwind and be able to demonstrate turning strokes effectively and confidently, including a step back turn. Please note this is NOT a course to develop your technical paddling skills. You are expected to be a confident paddler with good knowledge of the paddle stroke and be confident on your board.

REMIT – Minimum age: 18

Recommended ratios: 1:8

Small areas of enclosed water, such as canals, ungraded rivers with little or no flow, ponds, small lakes, or sheltered harbours, sheltered bays on larger lakes or the coast.

Rivers and inland waterways, ungraded and not in spate with little or no flow and must have the ability to deliver a static session.

Maximum distance of 200 metres from a safe exit point.

Winds of no more than Force 3.

No offshore winds more than Force 1.

No weirs.

Tidal with little or no flow and must have the ability to deliver a static session.

No high traffic areas, such as busy harbours or harbour marina entrances.

The SUP Instructor award does not qualify individuals as a guide. Please see our adventure guide courses for further details on our guide training.

Assessment Criteria – You will be assessed on your lesson delivery, personal paddling and communication skills. You will also be required to complete a pre -course online module.

COURSE PRE_REQUISITES – To enrol on the course you must have good paddling skills moving forward, turning and be confident paddling in sheltered, enclosed waters.

Minimum of 10 quality paddle days (QPDs – 2-4hrs) logged on WSA Dlog prior to attending ‘WSA SUP Instructor Award’ Training.

Complete the pre – course online module.


The WSA SUP Adventure guide is a leadership award that will equip you to coach, lead or guide in open water, hazardous environments. You will gain knowledge in various environments suitable for the remit of the award, including safety in these environments and leadership strategies. You will learn group management techniques and how to launch and land in small surf.


  • WSA SUP Instructor
  • WSA SUP Safety and Rescue
  • 16hr Outdoor First Aid Qualification

ABILITY – Paddle confidently upwind, across wind and downwind in open choppy water; use two types of turns effectively and demonstrate good paddle stroke skills including step back turns

Remit – Open Water and Coastal

Recommended ratio 1:6

Open water including coastal (excluding overfalls and tidal races)

Tidal flow no more than 2 knots

Daylight hours

No more than 500 metres offshore

No more than 2km from safe exit points

Winds no more than Force 4

Offshore winds no more than Force 2

Surf conditions (on beach) not more than 1 foot. Sea state no more than 2 feet

Remit – River and inland waterways

Recommended ratio 1:6

Slow moving, no more than class 1 rivers not in spate, and estuaries moving less than 2 knots

No more than 2km from safe exit points. No more than 500 metres offshore.

No weirs

Assessment Criteria –

  • 10 Quality Paddle Days (QPDs) 3 – 6 hours specific to the training

Leadership, personal ability and teaching skills. Assessment is arranged separately to the 2 day course at an additional cost of £200

The WSA Professional Pathway

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