Paddlesurf Instructor Qualifications

Paddlesurf Instructor Qualifications

Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor

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General aims

The Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Qualification aims to enable participants to:

  1. Become qualified to instruct intermediate kayaking skills and lead groups of up to six people in small surf (2-3 feet/waist high). A Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor is specifically not qualified to lead and/or instruct groups on reef breaks.
  2. Become qualified to instruct basic kayaking skills and lead kayaking journeys on flat water with groups of up to 8 students.
  3. Train and Assess for the Canoeing Ireland 1, 2 and 3 Paddlesurf Skills Awards.
  4. Mentor Level 1, 2 and 3 Kayak Instructor trainees.
  5. Have an awareness of the competitive canoeing disciplines.

Training Course Outline

The Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Qualification requires that a candidate attend a registered four-day Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor training course (or a programme of similar duration), and a two-day Assessment.

Applying to attend a Training Course

Before applying to attend a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Training Course, a candidate must:

  1. Hold a Level 2 Kayak Instructor Qualification.
  2. Hold the Level 4 Paddlesurf Skills Award.
  3. Be registered with the Canoeing Ireland Training Unit as a Trainee Level 3 Paddling Instructor.
  4. Be at least 18 years of age at the time of application.
  5. Submitted your Garda vetting form.
  6. Have unrestricted access to a fully equipped surf kayak/waveski, personal equipment, and additional equipment as listed for a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Assessment.

Applying for an Assessment

Before applying to attend a Level 3 Kayak Instructor Assessment, a candidate must:

  1. Have Maintained registration as a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor trainee.
  2. Have attended an approved Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Training Course or Programme as organised by the Canoeing Ireland within the 24 months period preceding a selected assessment date.
  3. Recorded in a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Logbook, following the completion of a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Training Course at least 25 hours of instructional experience under the supervision of at least two registered Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructors or higher.
  4. Recorded as part of the 25 hours supervised instructional experience on at least three different surf breaks assisting in the preparation of a group for a Level 3 Paddlesurf Skills Assessment. This group must consist of at least three participants.
  5. Assist on two Level 3 Paddlesurf Skills Assessments.
  6. Participate in three Irish Canoeing Competitions or hold a Level 3 Skills Award in another discipline.
  7. Possess a current and Canoeing Ireland approved First Aid Certificate (REC 3, WFA 3, or equivalent).
  8. Be recommended for assessment by a registered Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor or higher.
  9. Returned to the Canoeing Ireland Office a completed Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Logbook accompanied by all the pre-assessment requirements and a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Assessment application no later than three weeks prior to a selected assessment date.
  10. Completed your garda vetting application.

Format of the Assessment

  1. During the Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Assessment candidates must satisfy the assessors that they are mature, responsible and competent to instruct, lead and control a group in small surf. In addition to teaching and personal kayaking ability, candidates must also demonstrate that they are sufficiently mature and responsible to manage a group.
  2. During the period of the Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Assessment personal kayaking skills and application of first aid may be assessed. It would be expected that a candidate would at least have maintained a skills level equivalent to that of the Level 4 Paddlesurf and where possible improved on this.

As part of the Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Assessment, a candidate will be expected to:

  1. Organise and lead an instructional session for beginners or intermediates.
  2. Teach any stroke, technique or rescue applicable to small surf as outlined in the Level 3 Paddlesurf Skills Award.
  3. Demonstrate effective group control, group rapport, and instructional ability.
  4. Prepare a self-appraisal of the lesson plan water session for the Assessor.
  5. Demonstrate techniques and skills as required by the Level 4 Paddlesurf Skills Award if requested to do so.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to carry out the following rescues efficiently and effectively Self Rescue, X and/or Assisted-X Rescue, All-in-Rescue, Unconscious Casualty, and Eskimo Rescue.
  7. Demonstrate an ability to roll competently in moving water without any prior set-up.
  8. Demonstrate an effective method of towing an empty kayak, a kayak with a participant who has a minor injury or illness and a kayak with a participant who has a major injury or illness.
  9. Present a suitable surfkayak or wave ski correctly fitted out for instruction along with other appropriate personal equipment (See List of Equipment below). It would be expected that a candidate's equipment would be of a standard consistent with the responsibilities likely to be encountered by a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor. Examination of equipment will form part of the overall assessment.
  10. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of First Aid in the canoeing environment as well as a thorough working knowledge of the cause, effect and treatment of Shock, Hypothermia, EAR, CPR and the treatment of an unconscious casualty.
  11. Answer questions on aspects of canoeing covered during a Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Training Course.
  12. Attend an interview at which a self-appraisal is presented.

Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Qualification Guidelines

Equipment required for the Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor Assessment

A properly equipped kayak must include:


  • Rigid end loops and/or toggles
  • Suitable buoyancy
  • Suitable foot rest                
  • A kayak must be of sufficient volume to carry out all necessary safety equipment and perform any rescue as required by the Level 3 Kayak Instructor qualification

Personal canoeing equipment must include:


  • Paddle
  • Wetsuit and /or sufficient thermal clothing
  • Spray Deck
  • Buoyancy Aid with integrated harness
  • Cagoule
  • Helmet
  • Adequate footwear


Equipment must also include:


  • Towing System
  • Throw Rope
  • River Knife
  • Mobile phone
  • First Aid Kit*
  • Repair Kit
  • Split Paddle
  • Whistle
  • Torch
  • Watch
  • Flask and Food
  • Spare Clothes
  • Bivvy Bag or equivalent
  • Group Shelter
  • Slings x 2
  • Karabiners x 2
  • Waterproof Bag or other method of keeping equipment dry


*Recommended Contents of First Aid Kit:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Paramedical shears
  • Vent aid or resuscitation barrier device
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Waterproof container (to keep supplies dry)
  • Roller bandages (assorted 3´sizes)
  • 3´Wound dressings (assorted sizes)
  • Triangular 3´bandages
  • Roll of first aid tape
  • Assorted plasters
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Foil blanket or emergency blanket
  • Sam splint
  • Penlight or snap light