SUP Teaching Certifications

Why choose 1 SUP certification over the other?

Weigh the pros and cons of stand up paddle certifications available.
Be informed, see whats available, and then decide.

 

 

1) World Paddle Association (WPA)

PROS:
  • Large number of members and certified SUP instructors
  • One of the first SUP certifications offered
  • Supported by well know names in the industry and because of this it is good for marketing purposes
  • 1 day certification course (requires little time to get a certification)
  • Reputable name in the SUP industry because of popularity
  • Helps with discounted rates for individual and group insurance
  • Website is straight forward and easy to navigate for members
  • CONS:
  • 1 day course (does not cover full material)
  • Does not cover running or guiding trips
  • Expensive for a 1 day course
  • Almost everyone passes the courses
  • Experience acknowledged by the time and not the amount of people you are teaching
  • Communication within orginization can be difficult and unorganized
  • Because it is a one day certification course, there is limited information provided (lower quality)
  •  

    2) American Canoe Association (ACA)

      PROS:
    • Longest running paddlesports organization –First orginzation to offer certifications in paddlesports (1970s)
    • One of the first SUP certifications offered and to also offer insurance for all certified instructors
    • Longer courses (covers more material, thus higher quality courses)
    • Course cost is low for the ammount of time spent participating in a certification course
    • Orginization uses a board of instructors/council where members are voted upon and active.
    • Orginization uses several full-time staff to support its orginizations members and operations, so communication is easy and organized
    • Largest paddlesorts membership body (kayak, canoe, raft, sup)
    • Involment and advises the Federal government and US Coast Guard.
    • CONS:
    • Organization’s name does not appear to be related to SUP so can affect marketing
    • Have to cover more materials in course and can be slow paced for some
    • Website can be somewhat confusing because there is a lot of material and terminology unrelated to the SUP disipline
    • Course takes a longer to complete
    • Organization’s logo and branding does not have a "cool factor" with in the SUP industry
    • Does not have popular SUP paddlers involved with them, so full story of certification is not known
     

    3) PaddleFit

      PROS:
    • Focuses on Fitness aspect of teaching/coaching SUP
    • Provides a fresh marketing image for a SUP certification with a Fitness emphasis
    • Large network of other Paddlefit instructors
    • Very well organized course and marketing materials.
    • High Quality SUP fitness instruction tailored to everyone from beginners to athletes
    • Has high profile industry individuals involved, so this does well with marketing and branding.
    • CONS:
    • Does not cover running or guiding trips
    • Does not teach many of the paddle strokes, techniques, or terminology.
    • Focus more on Fitness element of SUPĀ 
    • Almost everyone passes the certification course
    • Expensive for the amount of time spentĀ compared to other certifications
    • Due to being fitness focused, it is not as ideal of a certification for teaching lessons or running guided trips
     

    4) World Stand Up Paddleboard Association (WSUPA)

      PROS:
    • Focuses on being a certification test and not a course
    • One day certification course
    • Swimming and paddling ability is a crucial part of the certification assessment
    • Managed and backed by well know and respected SUP athlete Dan Gavere
    • Curriculum is based off of established industry teaching standards used by other organizations
    • CONS:
    • One day course
    • Because this is a one day course, information is limited
    • Does not cover running or guiding trips
    • Does not cover all the SUP strokes, techniques, and terminology
    • Because smaller organization, credibility is questionable
     

    5) Professional Stand Up Paddle Association (PSUPA)

      PROS:
    • Strong curriculum and certification standards for paddling
    • Businesses practices for SUP are sometimes taught
    • Backed by advisers involved with in the SUP Industry
    • One to Three day certification courses, depending on the skill level of students
    • Focuses on those interested in teaching introductory courses
    • Covers on-water group management and communication
    • 150 page manual provided in course on flatwater paddling with instructional and business information
    • CONS:

    • Certification has not grown as fast as others, therefore network and number of certified instructors is smaller
    • Little brand certification recognition in industry beacuse of marketing and popularity
    • Credibility is questionable due to being a smaller operated and newer organization
    • Limited course information and curriculum found online
     

    6) National Surf Schools and Instructors Association (NSSIA)

      PROS:
    • Requires background in surf education and schools
    • Promotes a strong background in surfing
    • Requires instructors to have prior involvement with a certification for advancement
    • Certification course has strong emphasis for in the surf
    • Covers ocean safety
    • CONS:
    • Because of such a strong emphasis in the surf is lacks in other settings
    • Does not dedicate time towards guiding trips and paddle stroke terminology
    • Not a large network of certified paddlers
    • Little brand certification recognition in industry
    • Experience acknowledged by the time and not the amount of people you are teaching
    • Credibility is questionable due to being smaller and newer organization
     

    7) Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI)

      PROS:
    • Strong world presence for a SUP certification
    • Appearance of stronger curriculum on different levels of paddling
    • Organization name has surfing background where in some cases this may help with marketing
    • History/involvement in the surf industry
    • Makes emphasis on water rescues
    • Easy to navigate website
    • Certification for SUP was one of the first few to be established.
    • CONS:
    • Does not dedicate enough time towards guiding trips and paddle stroke terminology & techniques in the course
    • Not a large network of certified USA paddlers
    • Limited course information and curriculum online
    • Background experience in surfing, not paddling (limited experience in teaching/techniques)
    • Experience acknowledged by the time and not the amount of people you are teaching
    • Credibility is questionable due to being smaller orginization and a newer SUP accreditation

     

    The information all stated above is solely the opinion of thesupinstructor.com
    Did we miss an organization or incorrect information? Email us to make an edit

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