There are many companies and individuals around who will ‘teach you paddleboarding’, but how do you know if they are legit and that you can trust them with your life and the lives of your friends and family, or the lives of children at your school? In this blog series I will throw a few rhetorical questions your way. I have been involved in various watersports and leading watersports expeditions with schools for about thirty-eight years (I started sailing at aged twelve) and now, as Chief SUP Instructor at SUP Hire Thailand, I have to ensure that we offer the very best service to our customers. ‘Best’ means safest and leading to the biggest up-skilling for each individual learner. So here’s Part 1 of our series, ‘How to tell if a Stand Up Paddleboarding School is legit’
This is a simple question to consider and find out about. Does the Chief or Lead Instructor / Instructors have qualifications? Find out about the qualifications of the most Senior instructors and ask how this knowledge was acquired and how it is disseminated to the other instructors within the organization. There are many organizations around the world that offer professional SUP training for instructors. For example, British Canoeing, The Water Skills Academy, The British Marine Federation, The British Stand Up Paddle Association, The Academy of Surfing Instructors, The International Surfing Association to name but a few. The important part of this is that they can show you some current membership, and paperwork that you can check up on with a phone call or email. If they are operating on a river, like our beautiful River Kwai Yai in Kanchanaburi, it is important that the qualification is relevant to operations on a river. Similarly for operations on the ocean. Makes sure the qualification is fit for purpose.
Don’t be hoodwinked by cowboys who may not understand the dangers. They may have picked up some skills from the internet or from learning with legitimate schools like ours, but it is unlikely that they have the training or experience to (a) teach you safely or (b) make smart and fast judgement calls when things go wrong – things can happen on the water, the flow and water level can change quickly, equipment can break and the weather conditions can change, people can hurt themselves. If the instructors don’t have the training, they simply won’t know what to do. Our organisation has a 100% safety record as we are VERY well trained to an extremely high standard; don’t put lives at risk. Learn with an organisation that knows.
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End of Part 1.