PSUPA Flatwater Level 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. You also have the option to learn the basics of running a SUP business.

Certification is awarded upon completing the course. This includes passing all tests and achieving a satisfactory evaluation of your teaching, leadership skills and 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.

Course Duration: Typically 2-3 days. Minimum of 2 days.

Minimum Age of Participants: 18 years old.

Teacher-to-Student Ratio: 1:6, 2:10 or 3:15.



Learn how to teach a 1- and 2-hour basic SUP class, learn water safety and leadership.

Optional basic SUP business skills. See curriculum below for more details.

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 hands-on First Aid / CPR certification is required to keep certification active.



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, be able to swim 200 yards and be 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 – for example, flatwater 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.
This is not a course for beginners.


Note: Instructors have the right not to pass students who do not adequately demonstrate the skills and have a poor overall evaluation. If a student who does not pass wants to continue to work toward 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.


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