PSUPA Flat Water One Certification Course

Flatwater 1 Certification

The PSUPA Flatwater Level 1 Certification covers the skills you need to teach both a 1- and 2-hour basic SUP class confidently and safely. The curriculum emphasizes water safety, leadership, and teaching risk management and rescue procedures. Certification is awarded upon completing the course, passing all tests, and achieving a satisfactory evaluation of your teaching and leadership skills, as well as your attention to safety. You will receive a PSUPA Certified Instructors Manual that covers everything covered in the course and more. This certification is a prerequisite for all other PSUPA Certifications.

Schedule: Flatwater 1 Certification Courses are offered year-round in many locations.

Course Duration: 3 Days as scheduled with PSUPA Instructor Trainer.

Course Fees: Certification fee is set by and paid to Instructor Trainer, and varies with location and duration. A $65 annual PSUPA membership fee is also required, and paid to organization. You must join prior to registering for class.

Goals: Learn how to teach a 1- and 2-hour basic SUP class, learn water safety, and leadership. We will cover weather and water conditions, channel regulations and navigating with groups. Optional basic SUP business skills also offered. See Curriculum below for more details.

Minimum Age of Participants: 18 years old.

Teacher-to-Student Ratio: 1 to 6 or 2 to 10.

Certification Valid for 4 Years: PSUPA certified instructors are required to take a one-day refresher course in their certification every four years to keep their certification valid.

Keeping Certifications Active: Active Annual PSUPA Membership and Current First Aid / CPR certification is required to keep certification active.

This is not a course for beginners.

Prerequisites include:

  • Have current hands-on (i.e., not Internet-based) First Aid/CPR certification or Wilderness First Aid or Lifeguard Training certification or the equivalent for your location.
  • Be in good overall physical shape and able to swim 200 yards, and able to lift and carry all equipment.
  • Be able to launch and land a board safely, as well as safely fall from and remount a board.
  • Be comfortable walking on a SUP board and comfortable balancing in various water conditions.
  • Know basic SUP paddling techniques and be able to maintain directional control of a board, including various strokes for turning and paddling straight.
  • Be able to paddle a minimum of 3-5 miles in varied conditions – flat water and bumpy.
  • Have at least basic knowledge of paddling equipment, SUP terms and history of the sport.
  • Have positive interpersonal skills.
  • Hold current PSUPA membership.
  • Sign liability form, provided by Instructor Trainer.


  •  Water safety, which covers, among other things, emergency preparedness and rescue techniques
  • Interpretation of weather and water conditions
  • On-water group management and communication
  • Leadership skills
  • Teaching concepts and techniques
  • How to teach the basic elements of stand up paddling
  • Approaches to teaching students of varying ages, abilities, skill levels, and limitations
  • Lesson formats and preparation
  • Methods of teaching basic paddling techniques
  • SUP gear and equipment overview

**Additional course add-on available on request: SUP Business, which covers business models and procedures, including, among other things, how to start a business, insurance requirements, marketing, pricing and hiring instructors. A SUP Business Manual is included with this add-on.

Requirements for Course Completion and Certification:

  • Tests are Pass/Fail with Passing grade at 80% or better.
  • Pass on-water test
  • Pass written test
  • Demonstrate ability to teach land-based and on-water scenarios
  • Approval of Instructor Trainer through standardized student evaluation, which includes accessing leadership, teaching skills, and attention to safety

**Note: Instructor Trainers have the right not to pass students who do not adequately demonstrate teaching skills and have a poor overall evaluation. If a student who does not pass wants to continue to work toward certification, further training outlined by an Instructor Trainer, at an additional expense to the student, will be required prior to issuing certification.

If you are not an experienced paddler or don’t yet meet the requirements for this certification, please consider taking some basic and advanced SUP classes from our Instructor Trainers or Certified Instructors before pursuing this certification.

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