Flat Water (FW) Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding Instructor

1.00         General aims

The FW SUP Boarding Instructor qualification aims to enable participants to:

1.01  Instruct Flat water SUP skills and lead SUP journeys on flat water (Grade 1 or Sheltered tidal areas) in winds of up to Force 2 (on water conditions) with groups of up to 6 students.

1.02   Recommended ratios for FW Instructors for FW SUP instructors are as follows

Flat Water SUP Instructor =1:6

With an intermediate instructor qualification in another paddlesport award = 1:8

1.03         Train and Assess for the Intro and Flat water SUP Skills awards

1.04         Introduce basic SUP Safety and Rescue

1.05         Mentor FW SUP Instructor trainees

1.06         The FW Instructor is specifically not qualified to journey across open water.

1.07         SUP instructors need to dynamically risk assess their groups distance from shore - basing their risk assessment on the ability of the weakest paddler in the group and the prevailing conditions.

2.00         Training Course Outline

2.01         Before attending a training course the candidate should have obtained a Flat Water SUP skills award and actively participated in a number of personal SUP sessions in a variety of Environments (Coastal, Lake, River)

2.02         Candidates wishing to participate in a FW SUP instructor training course must attend a registered pre-assessment with a recognised SUP pre-instructor assessment provider.

2.03         Training course for FW SUP instructor contains the following:

§  The introductory session

§  Creating an effective learning environment

§  Considerations when SUPping

§  Assessing the intro to SUP and Flatwater SUP skills awards

§  Proactive/ reactive safety and rescue

§  Progressive sessions

3.00         Applying to attend an Assessment

 Before applying to attend a Flat Water SUP Board Instructor Assessment, a candidate must

3.01         Hold the Flat water SUP Skills Award

3.02         Following attendance on a two day Canoeing Ireland recognised SUP instructor training course; have logged 30 hours of self-evaluated instructional/guiding experience on SUP boards in a variety of environments. A minimum of two of these sessions must be with a FW SUP instructor or with an instructor from another awarding body as long as the session is within the remit of the FW instructor award.

3.03         Possess a current and Canoeing Ireland approved First Aid Certificate

3.04         Have completed an Irish Sports Council approved Child Protection Awareness Workshop

3.05         Be registered with the Canoeing Ireland Training Unit as a Trainee Instructor

3.06         Be at least 18 years of age at the time of course.           

3.07         Be Garda Vetted By Canoeing Ireland

3.08         Have unrestricted access to a SUP Board, personal equipment, and additional equipment as listed for a FW SUP Boarding Instructor Training & Assessment Course.


4.00 Format of a Flat Water SUP Board Instructor      Assessment

4.01        A FW SUP Instructor can only be trained & assessed by a Canoeing Ireland Instructor Developer who is a member of the FW SUP Board Instructor Training & Assessment Panel

4.02        The Assessor may assess no more than 3 candidates during an assessment

4.03        The assessment will take place over the duration of one day or two separate sessions (in one day) involving a group of novice SUP participants

4.04    During the SUP instructor assessment, the assessor must be satisfied that the candidate can provide a safe, fun learning experience for SUP participants

4.05        The candidate will be expected to plan a SUP session with respect to the expected weather conditions. The session plan should include techniques, knowledge and games to be covered in a session lasting up to 2.5 hours along with a basic risk assessment of the session

4.06        The candidate will also be expected to provide an assessment of the participant’s skill level and evaluate the participant at the appropriate skills award standard, The candidate should then be able to develop a Skills session to coach the participants skills to the next level.  This session should last up to 2 hours.

4.07        The successful candidate should be able to teach any technique from the Intro to SUP and Flatwater SUP skills syllabi

4.08        A candidate will be expected to demonstrate an unconscious casualty rescue on a person floating face down in the water – clearing their airway and safely transferring the person to the most available safe exit point          

4.09        A candidate will be expected to demonstrate an effective method of towing another SUP board and paddler

4.10        On the day of the assessment the candidate should present themselves in a prepared and professional manner – dressed appropriately for instructing SUP boarding on the water

4.11        Demonstrate effective group control, group rapport and create an effective learning environment

4.12        The assessment result and feedback will be delivered in a review during which time the candidate may be asked to give an appraisal of the session. Specific personal improvement goals will be given through written feedback by the assessor in the event of an unsuccessful assessment.


Equipment required for the Flat Water SUP Board Instructor Training & Assessment


Personal equipment must include:

·         Stand Up Paddle Board

·         Paddles

·         Wetsuit/Dry gear or sufficient thermal clothing

·         Buoyancy Aid  

·         Booties or adequate footwear

·         Helmet (Where applicable)

·         Leash (Where applicable)

Equipment must also include:

·         Bivvy Bag/Group Shelter

·         First Aid Kit

·         Repair Kit

·         Spare Clothes

·         Emergency Food

·         Waterproof Bag

·         Whistle

·         Mobile Phone/VHF & Waterproof case

·         River Knife

·         Watch

·         Method of Towing

·         Method of towing multiple boards

·         Map/chart of area


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


Below is the definition of the flat water operating areas for a FW SUP Board Instructor:


Very Sheltered Inland Water






Sections of slow moving rivers that do not include rapids or weirs.




Canals with bank side access and egress and which have a minimum of commercial traffic.




Shorelines of small lakes which do not have difficult landing areas and which are not large enough for problems to occur if there is a sudden change in conditions.

Sheltered Tidal Areas



Enclosed harbours with a minimum of commercial traffic, enclosed on three sides. Where there is minimal possibility of being blown off shore.


Small enclosed bays where there is minimal possibility of being blown offshore.


The upper reaches of some suitable, slow moving, flat estuaries.