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ISA Surf Instructors Course – Level 1

Overview Surfing New Zealand delivers the International Surfing Association (ISA) Level One Surf Instructors course which teaches people the basics for coaching beginner surfers.  The course is accredited by the (ISA) and recognised throughout the world.  This qualification is the minimum requirement to teach surfing on all New Zealand beaches with a SNZ Approved Surf School.

Surf instruction is fast becoming a career path.  The explosion of surfing schools within the sport means that qualified instructors are in demand.  Just like being at the snow, it is now common place to get a lesson the first time you go to the beach.

The Course

The ISA Level One Surf Instructors course runs over two days and is generally held during weekends.

The course is run in four modules:
The role of the coach
Surf safety
Fault correction and feedback
Practical surf coaching outdoors

There is approximately two hours water time. Having fun little waves is ideal but not essential for a successful course. Morning tea and lunch are provided. Attendees need to find their own accommodation.  Attendees need to bring their surfing gear and a pen to the course.


Surfing Ability

Attendees sitting the course need a basic level of surfing ability (e.g. can take off, trim, paddle and perform a cutback). If anyone attending can’t meet these requirements then presenters will discuss ways to up-skill.  Surfing ability is an important part of the course.



Surfers Rescue 24/7 Award

The Surfers Rescue 24/7 Certificate is now part of the Surfing New Zealand Instructors course. It is designed to equip you with the skills to allow you to be able to safely rescue a surfer you may see in trouble, so it is not necessary for you to achieve your full Surf Lifeguard Award,  however, if you have your SLSNZ Surf Lifeguard Award and you are refreshed for that calendar year then you will not need to take this part of the course.  The Surfers Rescue 24/7 Certificate also involves a 200m run/swim/run (not timed) for fitness testing purposes.


Post Course Requirements
Once you have attended the two day course you will need to log 20 hours of work experience with an Approved SNZ Surf School or (international equivalent) and record these hours in your ISA Practical Assessment Workbook. You will also have to undertake a First Aid at work/CPR certificate.  A number of  organisations such as St John’s and Red Cross deliver first aid courses.

Completed workbooks must be sent to the Surfing New Zealand Development Manager, along with a photocopy of your First Aid certificate. A SNZ I.D. card is then issued as proof of attaining the ISA Level One Surf Instructors qualification. Official ISA Level One Surf Instructors certificates are emailed to participants on receipt of their completed workbooks.


The course costs $650 (GST inc) per person based on a minimum of 10 people and is valid in NZ for 2 years from the date of the course.  After two years you need to refresh your Surfers Lifesaving Award and First Aid only.  You can refresh your SNZ Coaching Card/ qualification at any Level 1 Course by attending the Surfers Rescue 24/7 Course.  The cost is $150 and includes a new SNZ Coaching ID Card valid for a further two years.  This module runs from 10am-12pm on day two of the course. The full Course runs from 9am – 5:00pm both days.

2024 Course Dates

18-19 May  New Brighton, Christchurch – course complete

19-20 Oct    Auckland/Mount Maunganui Register your interest with Dan: dan.westerkamp@surfingnz.co.nz

8 Nov           First Aid Course for Surfers/Surf Coaches, Mount Maunganui, 9am-4.30pm

9-10 Nov     Mount Maunganui Register your interest with lee.ryan@surfingnz.co.nz

7-8 Dec       Northland Register your interest with Dan dan.westerkamp@surfingnz.co.nz

Register your interest to be added to the course waiting list and as soon as we have minimum numbers of 10 people we will email you the link to the course registration form. 

If you are interested in attending a course then please sign up by clicking on the link above for the course you wish to attend (you will need a credit card) or if there is no link register your interest with Surfing New Zealand Development Manager – Lee Ryan by email lee.ryan@surfingnz.co.nz. If you are a surf school or company we can send you an invoice for your course fee.

Renewing your SNZ Coaching Card
If your Surfing NZ coaching card has expired (valid 2 years from the date you took the course) you will need to re-do your First Aid Certificate (search online for courses near you) and complete the 200m/run/swim/run and Surfers Rescue 24/7 course (at one of the above courses) and pay a renewal fee of $150. You will then be sent an new SNZ Coaching Card valid for a further 2 years. You can pay the fee online by clicking on one of the above courses and selecting the “refresher course”.

If seeking work outside of NZ you may also wish to renew your ISA Coaching Certificate with the ISA via their website here.

Please contact Lee Ryan  if you need more information 02111 601 60

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