How To Get Surf Instructor Certification from ISA

ISA Surf Instructor Certification Course

Once you have learned the basics of surfing and you garner some experience, you might think of getting surf instructor certification.

If you have been asking: how do I become a surf instructor, this article is for you. Of course, the best place to start is: how good at surfing do you have to be before you can become an instructor?

If you want to train other people how to surf, you must have a surfing certification. Certification comes after completing the set out course.

Today, you can get your surf course certificate from the International Surfing Association (ISA). Once you get your certificate from this organization, you are considered a qualified surfing instructor.

Surfing Instructor Training: What does it consist of?

To get certification as a surfing trainer, you need to earn your certification first. As we have aforementioned, it is best that you get this from ISA.

You have to take an ISA certification course. Thankfully, now, you  can take a surf instructor course online.

How cool is that! Keep reading, we will show you how.

Choosing a surf training center is the first thing that you need to do. Of course, the training facility that you choose should offer ISA-accredited courses.

After the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, you need to look for a center that offers surf instructor course online.

Thankfully, many of them do.

What should the surfing instructor course offer? Well, the following are a good place to start:

  • Operations
  • Safety
  • Instructional methods
  • Surfing skills
  • Emergency procedures
  • Gear and equipment knowledge
  • Student evaluation
  • Lesson planning and others

If you get a center that gives you a choice between online vs workshop-based training, it is better than one that offers just one type of training.

To start training, the basic requirement is that you must be an experienced surfer. Thus, you cannot learn how to become a surfing instructor if you are a beginner.

You must know how to ride an unbroken wave, turn left or right, increase or decrease speed and many more skills.

The ISA certification Surf Course

The ISA course contents will differ from one provider to another. However, when it comes down to the bare basics, all of them basically offer the same things. Perhaps the method of delivery is different.

The best thing is to find an ISA surf course provider who offers training in different levels. That way, you can start with level 1 and then proceed to higher levels.

ISA Level 1 Course

Note carefully the timelines that the course provider gives. For instance, some surf instructor course providers say you should complete it within the first 18 months.

In addition to taking the course online, you should also be able to complete the practical hours in the required time span.

Check carefully the number of documented surf hours that you should have completed before taking this course – 20 hours. You also need to have Water Safety Certification.

ISA Level 2 Course

Once you have completed the level one training, you will move onto the level two training. In this level, mostly, you build on the skills that you acquired in the first level.

Therefore, to qualify for the higher level, you must have certification for the first level. Likewise, if there is a third level, to qualify for it, you need to qualify and get certification for the second level.

You will also need to show documented proof of the hours that you have been surfing. The higher the level of ISA certification that you are pursuing, the more the number of hours that you should have surfed should be.

For ISA instructor course level 2, you will need to have completed 30 practical surfing hours, and you need a valid Water Safety Certification.

When you are choosing a good Surf training course online, look for one from your country. For instance, if you are in Australia, you can try Mojo Surf.

If you are in the USA, Canada or any other place in the world, you might want to try the ASI Surf Community. They will connect you with accredited trainers in different parts of the world depending on where you are located.

The importance of choosing a surf instructor course near your location is to make it easy for your practicals.

ISA Course Training Material

Surfing instructor training is a very serious business. Therefore, you are required to study the relevant material. The price that you will pay for the level 1 course covers these materials. For this level, you will get a Level 1 Surfing Workbook, for your theory.

For Level 2 ISA surf course, you will get more material. You will use the ISA Level 2 Surfing Workbook.

You will also have to pass the Level 2 Test and meet the other requirements we aforementioned (30 practical hours and Water Safety Certification) before you can get the ISA certification.

Image of isa certification surf

What will you learn with the Surf Instructor Course?

Remember, when you take the International Surfing Association course, you are training to become a surfing instructor, to teach other enthusiasts how to surf.

Thus, by the time you complete this course, you will know many things, but the following will be the most vital:

  • You will know how to teach surfing learners how to paddle their board
  • You will be able to teach them how to take off – breaking away and standing and balance on the board
  • Teach them how to Trim – cut, slide and traverse the wave
  • Teach them how to turn – All turning techniques which include cutback, backhand and forehand
  • How to catch and ride and turn left or right on unbroken waves
  • How to ride broken waves
  • Others

Surf Instructor Certification FAQ

Here are the frequently asked questions that are related to surfing instructor courses. They will shed more light on this subject:

How do I become a surf instructor in Australia?

Australia is one of the top surfing destinations in the world and you can make good money as a surfing instructor there. To teach surfing, you need a ISA level 1 certification. Higher qualification is even better so you should aim for ISA level 2 certification.

How much do surf instructors get paid?

The top earners make close to $140,000 while the latest entrants and part time surf instructors make an average of $24,577. The surf instructor salary differs from place to place and these numbers are just averages. In some places, you can make more than $140K a year.

How do I become a surf instructor?

You should take the ISA Level 1 surf certification course online and in workshops and pass. This is a very serious course since it involves things like water safety, emergency actions and many others.

You may proceed to ISA level 2 although you can get a job even with level 1 training. After training, you should look for surf instructor jobs online.

What is the student to instructor ratio for surfing?

The maximum number of learners should be 16 for one instructor. You must keep surveillance over the learners all the time they are in the water. If you can keep the ratio of instructor to learners even lower than that, it would be better, at least when you are starting out.

How much do surf instructors make in Hawaii?

The highest earning surf instructors in Hawaii make up to $140K on average while the lowest earning ones make up to $21K. These are just averages that change from time to time.

Do you need a license to teach surfing?

To teach surfing, you will need to have completed a surfing instructor course and certified by International Surfing Association. This is the only certifying body that is recognized to offer certification to surfers.

Image of surfing instructor course

Conclusion for Surfing Certification

You cannot teach surfing unless you are certified by a recognized body. ISA is the only body that you should consider getting your surfing certification from.

Any Surf Academy should guide you to pass ISA tests and exams, both online and offline.

If you love surfing, take it to the next level by becoming an instructor. You learn incredible life saving skills, you impart your skills and experience to other learners.

Since you will be doing what you love and you will get paid for it, job satisfaction is very high.

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