Paddlesurf Instructor Qualifications

Paddlesurf Instructor Qualifications

Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor

Back to top

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.
  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. Have completed an Sport Ireland approved Child Protection Awareness Workshop.
  9. Be recommended for assessment by a registered Level 3 Paddlesurf Instructor or higher.
  10. 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.
  11. 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