One of the ISA’s key efforts to develop the sport of surfing is through its Coaching and Instructing Program (CIP) and the certification of surf coaches around the world. 

Established over 25 years ago, the ISA Coaching and Instructing is proven through its international network of the world’s top surf coaches and instructors.

The ISA certification is recognized as the international standard of safety, quality, and efficacy for surf coaches and instructors within the surf industry. The ISA has certified over 13,500 coaches and instructors in 80 countries and the program is offered as a development and economic opportunity to the 115 ISA Member Federations and network of over 85 course presenters around the world.

Recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the world governing authority for the sport of surfing, ISA Coaching and Instructing Program creates the proper development pathway for surf / SUP coaches and instructors and the international industry standard.

The ISA Coaching & Instructing Program is designed to develop the skills, knowledge and abilities of those individuals who wish to obtain a scientific approach to the Coaching and Instructing of Surfing.

The objectives of the ISA Coaching & Instructing Program:

  • To establish an international system of Coaching and Instructing Courses, improving the safety and efficacy of surf instruction around the world.
  • To further develop, through educational programs, a body of knowledge on which Coaches and Instructors may draw.
  • To provide Coaches and Instructors with employment opportunities, encouragement and support.
  • To advance surf Coaching and Instructing as a globally standardized and highly professional activity with stringent requirements.
  • Over time this program has expanded to other areas of professional development education for our great sport of surfing.

All ISA Coaches and Instructors must abide by the local laws and regulations of the area in which they work. All ISA Instructors must be a minimum of 16 years of age to become a certified ISA Instructor, but must work under supervision of an ISA Instructor over 18 years of age. An ISA Instructor must be a minimum of 18 years of age to instruct without supervision.

In order to become an ISA Certified Coach or Instructor, individuals must

  • Attend an official ISA Coaching or Instructor Course with a recognized ISA Course Presenter
  • Complete all practical requirements and and a Basic Surf/SUP Skills Assessment
  • Complete the designated amount practical surf coaching hours with a supervising instructor
  • Hold and maintain current, recognized water safety/rescue award
  • Recommended to be or become a member of their country’s National Surfing Federation

For more information on how to organize a course in your region, please contact [email protected].

ISA Coaching and Instructing Courses:

Surf Courses:

ISA Surf Level 1 Instructor Course:

This course is designed for surf instructors that will be teaching learn-to-surf lessons for beginners and early intermediate level surfers. The ISA Surf Level 1 Certification is the industry standard for surf Instructors at quality surf schools around the world. This is also the most popular ISA Course with the broadest international appeal.

ISA Surf Level 2 Coaching Course:

This course is for surf coaches that are working with intermediate to early advanced surfers and coaching surf skills progression and development. The course also touches on athlete development, sport psychology, and surf contest preparation. All ISA Surf Level 2 Coaches MUST have completed and passed an ISA Surf Level 1 Course prior to approval as a Surf Level 2 Coach.

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Courses:

ISA Flat Water SUP Instructor Course

The ISA Flat Water SUP Instructor Course is designed for introductory SUP instructors that are teaching the sport in the flat water environment (lakes, bays, lagoons and all flat water settings).

ISA Surf SUP Course

The ISA Surf SUP Course is geared for instructors and coaches that will be teaching SUP in the surf environment. The course focuses on riding waves on an SUP level 1 course along with a broad range of technique applications and safety procedures. The ISA Flat Water SUP or Surf Level 1 Certification is a prerequisite for this course.

ISA Open Water SUP Course

The ISA Open Water SUP Course focuses on teaching SUP in an Open Water environment. The course covers SUP Racing, Technical, and Downwind Paddling successfully. The ISA Flat Water SUP Certification is a prerequisite for this course.

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