6 Traits of a Great Paddleboarding Instructor

6 Traits of a Great Paddleboarding Instructor

Most people perceive that paddleboarding instructors are just regular surfers hanging out at the beach, getting some tanning, and getting paid to paddle. Of course, this isn’t far from the truth, but those SUP instructors you see at SUPing spots love their job and have worked pretty hard to get where they are. 

However, not all paddleboarding instructors are created equal. In fact, you can hand a SUP board to any proficient paddleboarder and ask them to teach you how to paddle. When it comes to professional instructors (people who teach SUPing for a living), there are several traits that separate them from regular surfers. 

So what makes a great paddleboarding instructor. An outstanding instructor is an amalgamation of skill, tested training, professionalism, passion, and personality. With that said, here are the 6 top traits of an excellent paddleboarding instructor:

Extensive Paddleboarding Experience

When choosing your paddleboarding instructor, you should pick a person with a high level of paddleboarding skills and knowledge. You should try and figure out how long your preferred instructor has been paddling and how long they have been a paddleboarding tutor.

You can ask for necessary certifications and credentials that prove the person is truly an experienced paddleboarding instructor. A certified instructor has excellent balance, stability, and paddling confidence and can SUP with any type of board. So if you choose an experienced instructor, you’ll receive professional paddleboarding instructions, although the cost might be a little huge.

Excellent Communication

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Poor communication can make an instructor belittle you any time they get an opportunity. This could ruin your entire paddleboarding training session. But a great instructor with excellent communication skills will carefully listen to you and answer any simple question politely and patiently. Remember every successful procedure must have clear instructions.

A great paddleboarding instructor should clearly explain the paddling spot and potential hazards since good communication must convey critical issues. Generally, an excellent communicator will provide you with straightforward instructions and simple step-by-step guides to help you make less or no mistakes during paddling.

The best instructor should also work within the intent of training standards, apply rational judgment, and prioritize safety. Additionally, they must be transparent with any decision they make by clearly explaining the reason behind their specific decision.


The right attitude is a cornerstone trait of a great paddleboarding instructor. Without the appropriate mindset, other attributes are almost insignificant. The apt attitude or approach means that professional behavior is at the core of your instructor’s conduct. The instructor should work in your, his employer, and the sport’s best interests.

While working as a full-time instructor is challenging mentally and physically, it shouldn’t appear that way to his students. The instructor should be your role model both in the attitude they display and the equipment they use. You should ensure your instructor offers worthwhile lessons and display an attitude you can tolerate and adopt.

High Tolerance

Sometimes, paddleboarding beginners can make simple mistakes. However, if you’re a newbie, you don’t have to worry since tolerance is the fundamental quality of great SUP instructors. A good paddleboarding instructor should be a friendly teacher who’s tolerant of your mistakes, avoid rebuking you, and try to understand why you made a specific blunder.  

An excellent and tolerant instructor will try to understand your fears and capabilities and help you to build up confidence. Through this way of instructing, you’ll reap more benefits of paddleboarding within the shortest time possible.

Great Carefulness

Paddleboarding instructors should understand that they’ve got the responsibility of your life and other trainees’ lives on their hands. Some people naturally like to play dangerous practical jokes on SUP beginners while on water, which is hazardous. A great instructor should be cautious, know your limits, and avoid pushing you too far or asking you to do inessential risky stuff.

If you try something dangerous, a great instructor should stop you instantly in a polite way and explain the dangers associated with the risky act. Additionally, professional paddleboarding instructors must be able to monitor water conditions and let you know the right and safe time to hit the water for training. This makes it easier to escape from dangerous paddleboarding.

Excellent Physical Fitness

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Alongside experience, communication, attitude, tolerance, and carefulness, the professional outlook is another essential trait of a great SUP instructor. Best instructors understand fitness is crucial to their role but not an optional extra because sometimes paddleboarding can be more physically demanding. 

Best professional SUP instructors do cardiovascular exercise and make a balanced diet part of their routine to maintain absolute fitness. As a paddleboarding beginner, you should ensure your preferred instructor is physically fit to deal with any unexpected situation that may arise.

Bottom Line

Paddleboarding enthusiasm isn’t enough to define a good paddleboarding instructor. A great instructor must have vast experience, excellent communication, the right attitude, high tolerance, carefulness, and perfect physical fitness. When choosing a reliable paddleboarding instructor, ensure your preferred candidate checks all the above boxes.


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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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