SUP Education

NZSUP has a variety of educational courses and qualifications to further your knowledge of the sport and make you a safer paddleboarder, along with an ever expanding set of instructing and coaching qualifications.

We have two courses that are applicable to every stand up paddleboarder.


This 2.5 hour classroom course covers how to choose and use your safety equipment, understanding the conditions, and what to do when things go wrong. It’s on offer all over New Zealand by trained presenters, and is a fun and easy way to really improve your general water knowledge. More information here.


Your SUP board is actually an excellent rescue tool. With the skills you will learn in this 2.5 hour course, you will be equipped to save someone from drowning. It’s a vital skill that every stand up paddleboarder should have. Unfortunately, preventable drowning incidents are all too common around the New Zealand waters, and you never know when you might come across someone in trouble. More information here.

Teaching and Commercial Qualifications

There are a large number of SUP instruction courses available around the world. Most are two days long and attempt to cover most (or even all) aspects of SUP teaching in that time, including all the safety and management aspects. The SUP instructor course available in NZ up until recently has been of similar format, based loosely on the ISA course syllabus but with a lot of extra information included, particularly with regard to the specific legal requirements we have here. However, the intensive two-day format is very flawed as it results in a heavy ‘information overload’ scenario, and actually gives participants very little hands-on practice at instruction. More information about instruction in general can be found here.

NZSUP has moved away from that style of instructor training, to a much more user-friendly and efficient model, with each course containing the following:

  1. Distance Learning modules
  2. Ongoing learning requirements and work-ons
  3. A practical session and assessment

The distance learning modules and ongoing learning requirements can be completed at the candidate’s own pace. The candidate attends (and pay for) the practical session and assessment when they feel ready.

There are two levels of NZ SUP Instructor Qualification currently available.

L1 SUP Instructor
This course is for the instructor looking to offer basic how-to SUP lessons or an entry-level SUP experience on a commercial basis in a safe, non-challenging environment. Standard format sessions rather than looking to develop ongoing coaching relationships with clients. More information and booking here.

L2 SUP Instructor
This course is for the instructor wanting to go beyond basic entry-level SUP experiences, and covers teaching progressor skills and operating in more challenging conditions on a commercial basis. It is a pre-requisite of this course that the L1 SUP instructor level has been completed. More information and booking here

We also offer:

Paddle Business Set-Up & Management Course
This course is for the person or company looking to set up a commercial paddle operation in New Zealand, which may be a school, guided activity, club or any other scenario where people are paying for a service involving paddling. It covers the legal requirement, documentation and general business structuring and management issues, and also how to source and choose the right equipment for your operation. This course is all online, and can be taken at any time, there are no prerequisites. It includes discussion time to consider and advise on the specific implications for your own particular business module. More information and booking here.

What happens beyond L1 & L2?
For those wanting to develop their SUP teaching skills further, we move from the realms of instructing into coaching. For more information on what will be happening in this realm, click here.

SUP SAFE & SUP RESCUE Course Presenter
For those wishing to be classroom educators, training is available to present the SUP SAFE and SUP RESCUE courses. Contact NZSUP Training on 027 777 1035 to find out more.