2022 Edition Training Manual and Self Study Guide
for Surf & SUP Instructors and Coaches

Thanks for your interest in the NSSIA certified instructor or coaching program. You are part of the growing ranks of professionals in our exciting sport of surfing. This manual was prepared by some of the most prominant names in the surf instruction and surf coaching field. It contains a significant amount of both background information and practical tips aimed at helping you become the best that you can be. Authors of the course also include numerous instructors who are members of the NSSIA.

This manual is provided yearly to all certified instructors and coaches upon receipt of their recertification application. If you are already certified, no further examination is necessary. For first time applicants, the certification process consists of the following steps.

NOTE: Applicants are not sent this training course until a formal application and application fees are received.

NOTE: The entire manual is over 350 pages, plus there are a number of additional items of interest. If you plan to print a copy, it is suggested that you only print the sections with a bullet directly applicable to your certification.

NOTE: If you have applied for coaching certification, a video file will be provided on this CD. Close the html file and then open the CD directly. You will see the coaching folder. The video consistes of some background info plus rides for you to judge. Your scoring can be written on any sheet of paper. Understand that each wave is shown 3 times but you only judge when the video asks for you to do it.

Initial Application Submission Requirements
  • $50 Application Fee plus $10 for each additional certification
  • Resume of Experience (Note: Must support level applying for)
  • Reference Letters
  • CPR Training Certificate
  • Upon receipt of the above the Self Study training is provided to the Applicant.

    Upon completion of the self study, you are provisionally certified. You are expected to attend and complete the formal NSSIA classroom Training Course and course exam when it is offered near your area. You must first complete the self study and return the exam and a signed NSSIA waiver before you can be scheduled for the final class.

    Membership cards issued for annual reaffirming of continuing experience as a coach or instructor. Annual reaffirming is required to meet the ISO annual audit requirement.

    Only upon submission of the background material and after completing the examination with a passing grade, you will have completed the initial process and receive your provisional certificate.

    Please note that this course is copyrighted and for your use only. Do not pass it along to other potential instructors without receiving written permission from the NSSIA.

    The course material is provided in several parts. The parts are focused on: history and background about the NSSIA, core information about surfing and the environment, basic instructional concepts, basic coaching skills unique to surfing, business information and laws that you need to know about, and finally basic information on board building and board repair. The exam you receive is tailored to cover material for all certifications applied for. Note that self study exam questions may be drawn from all sections appropriate for the certification you are applying for as indicated in the Legend below.

    S = Req for Surf Instructor Certification
    C = Req for Coching Certification
    SUP = Req for SUP Certification

  • Introduction to the NSSIA S,C,SUP
  • Professionalism and our Requirements S, SUP
  • ANSI Certification Requirements
  • Early History of Surfing S,C,SUP (Ocean only)
  • In Early Hawaii
  • Modern History of Surfing S,C,SUP (Ocean only)
  • Beach Environment S,C,SUP

    The Physics of Ocean Waves - Mike Twardow

  • Teaching Fundamentals and Theory S,C,SUP
  • Surf Instruction Techniques-Beginners S,C
    On The Beach Lesson Plan
  • Surf Instruction Techniques-Advanced Students S
  • Surf Etiquette S,C,SUP

    Surf Etiquette Video
    Law of the Surf Forum

  • Camps and Events S,C
    Camp Environmental Impact Plan
  • Injuries and Treatments S,C,SUP
    Skin Cancer Bruchure S,C,SUP
    Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan and Employee Declination Log
  • Dangers in the Water S,C,SUP

    Surf Rescue Techniques

  • Conditioning, Warm-ups and Muscle Building S,C,SUP (recommended for all)
    Surf Training and Conditioning for Overweight Old Folks
  • Business and Laws S,C,SUP
    Surf School Business Proposal Example
    Owner/Master Instructor Employee Training Guide
    Quick and Dirty Local Wave Forcasting
    How to Create a Marketing Plan
    Small Business Site Selection Plan Example
    Suggestions & Inputs Against Scoring for Surf School Proposals to Municipalities
    How to Write Surf School Proposals (for submission to a city).
    Recommended Guidelines for Municipalities Writing/Reviewing Surf School Proposals

    Stand-Up Paddle

  • SUP General Instruction Techniques SUP
    US Coast Guart SUP Watercraft Regulations
  • SUP Flatwater Instruction Techniques SUP
  • SUP Ocean Instruction Techniques SUP
  • SUP Coaching Certification Supplement SUP C Only

    Instructor Training for School Owners

  • School Owner Employee Training Guide
  • Non Certified Instructors Course Pt 1
  • Non Certified Instructors Course Pt 2
  • Training Attendance Sheet (required for US accredited schools


  • Team and Professional Coaching S,C
  • Surfboard Contest Judging Criteria for Coaches S,C,SUP
    Air Judging Criteria
    BLANK Judging Sheet (Only Used For Coaches Judging Test
    NSSIA Contest Judging Video C - Note: You must have a video player on your computer to watch this
    Scoring Key for video

    Surf Dog Intructor Training

  • Surf Dog Training Manual

    Foil Surfing

  • NSSIA Chapter on Foil Surfing
  • Agenda for a Foil Clinic
  • History of Foil Surfing

  • Additional Items of Interest

  • Student Waiver/Release (Long Form)

    Spanish Version Student Waiver/Release (Long Form)

  • Flowrider Instruction Techniques
  • Surf Culture and Lifestyle Influence
  • Camp/Lesson Environmental Impact Plan
  • Emergency/Contingency Plan & When Blood is Exposed
  • Accident Reporting Form
  • Typical Employment Agreement
  • Recommendations for school startup after a pandemic

    Academic Outreach - Teaching in High Schools or Colleges

  • Academic Outreach and Formal Course Development - Academic Outreach for Teachers

    Sample HS Surf Class Lesson Plan
    Traditional Surf Class College Course Syllibus

    Selected Sections from the book "The Complete Surfing Guide for Coaches"

  • Learning to Surf S,C
  • Shaping Surfboards S,C
  • Board Glassing S,C
  • Surfboard Repairs S,C,SUP
  • If you are newly certifying and have completed this course, submit your exam and you will receive your provisional certificate and membership card. Good Luck!!!

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