Flatwater SUP Instructor

Learn to teach others the wonders of stand up paddleboarding! The Paddle Canada Flatwater Stand Up Paddleboard Instructor courses are the Canadian certification standard. Learning styles, teaching techniques, and practice teaching sessions are emphasized. We introduce the basics of group management, decision-making, risk assessment, organizing and presenting effective on-water lessons, detecting and correcting common challenges with strokes and rescues, and providing meaningful feedback to students.

Paddle Canada offers two different flatwater SUP instructor certifications: “Basic” and “Advanced.” The Basic SUP instructor course serves as the entry point into the Paddle Canada SUP Instructor program. As such, the basics of instruction receive considerable emphasis during this course. The Advanced SUP instructor course is the next level up in the Paddle Canada program and involves considerably greater skill performance, knowledge and confidence with instruction and personal feedback to clients.

We often run both courses simultaneously and successful candidates can be certified at either level. You should register for the certification which you are most qualified for. If you’re unsure, contact us and we will help you determine which certification is best for you.

Please note: This is a skill testing course. Candidates must meet the minimum course standard to be certified as instructors. Successful candidates will be able to instruct within the Paddle Canada Flatwater Paddleboard programs Paddle Canada Basic and/or Advanced Instructor Certification.


  • Candidates must be at least 16 years of age to take the Basic course and 18 years of age to take the Advanced course.
  • Current Paddle Canada membership and provincial or territorial membership.
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Flatwater SUP skills certification, or equivalent skills and knowledge.
  • Current certification in standard first aid with CPR (14–16 hours).
  • Instructors are expected to have experience beyond that of the Advanced Flatwater SUP skills.

Course Agenda

  • Friday Evening Session (6:00PM – 9:00PM): The Friday evening course session typically takes place at a local paddleboard store. Actual location will be determined for your specific course.
  • Saturday and Sunday (9:00AM – 5:00PM): The course location for these two days will take place on a local lake. Actual location will be determined for your specific course. Please arrive about 15 minutes early, so that you are unloaded, changed, and ready to begin at the start time. Arriving late will cut into your instructional time, and that of others on the course.

Gear and Clothing

Please note that the course does not include any technical paddling gear, personal clothing, food, or travel. Instructor candidates usually own their own gear. However, if you don't have your own paddleboard and related gear please let us know and we can assist in finding you a suitable rental for you to use for the course.

  • Stand up paddleboard, paddle, leash, PFD, whistle, throwbag
  • Cold water immersion clothing is a must. As a minimum we recommend a shorty style neoprene wetsuit or one-piece neoprene paddle top combined with neoprene shorts or leggings. And that’s for warm weather conditions.
  • For warmer season/conditions: quick-dry or warm-when-wet outdoor athletic gear. Think paddle tops, rashguards, breathable hiking layers, merino wool, boardshorts ,athletic swimwear.
  • Insulating layers, weatherproof shell layers.
  • Towel and warm, dry change of clothes (just in case!)
  • Secure protective footwear such as water shoes, paddle shoes, neoprene paddle/surf booties or sport sandals.
  • Headwear: sun hat, toque (warm hat), sunglasses with straps.
  • Any personal first aid, medications, sunscreen etc.
  • Waterproof and floatable camera.
  • Food for the day, high energy snacks, drinking water.
  • Thermos with hot drink for cool days.

More Details

As part of the instructor course, all candidates will be required to prepare written and oral presentations, deliver on-water teaching sessions, complete a written skills course outline and complete a written test. An Instructor Candidate Package, including detailed course outlines and teaching assignments will be sent out before the start of the course to allow candidates appropriate preparation time.

Candidates will also need to register with Paddle Canada as an instructor candidate before the first day of the course. They will charge you either $10 or $90, depending on your current Paddle Canada membership level. We will send you additional information once you have signed up for the course.

Course Cancellation: It is rare that we cancel a session due to weather considerations however we will do so if, in our judgement, the conditions are dangerous or are likely to present a poor learning environment.

What Past Course Participants Are Saying

Flatwater SUP Instructor Course

Our next SUP instructor course will take place in spring 2018. Add your name to the waiting list to be notified about our next instructor course. We can also provide custom instructor courses. Please contact us to discuss your particular needs.