Training to Become a Windsurfing Instructor

To get a windsurfing instructor job you will need to get some training behind you and learn how to teach others about the sport that you love.

Aside from training to actually windsurf in the first place, and obtaining your license, you will also need to undergo various different levels of instructor training. Training is not done through a college or any traditional institution, but rather through accredited organizations and clubs. The certification is valid for 3 years and then you will have to undergo recertification.

The windsurfing instructor courses consist of the following lessons: Movement, Meteorology and equipment, Health and Safety, Behavior and analysis of mistakes, Teaching kids, Course planning introduction, Rig and board control techniques, and Introduction to internships. You will also learn how to operate a sailing simulator.

Where to Train

The VDWS International School Association for Watersports is one of the top organizations for providing support and education as well as certifications and licenses to windsurfers and those who want to further their career in the instructor field. Through this organization you can get your licenses and cards as well as become fully certified. The certification exam consists of various practical and written examinations.

RYA (Royal Yachting Association) also offers professional windsurf instructor training programs in the UK which range from the RYA Powerboat Levels to the Intermediate Non-Planing Certificate and then the Start Windsurf Instructor Course. The Instructor courses last for 5 days and is aimed at all windsurfers over the age of 16. RYA also offers a First Aid course which is valid for 3 years.

US Sailing is another top organization with various types of certifications available starting with the Beginning Windsurfing Instructor Certificate, followed by the Windsurfing Counselor, and then the Level 1 Windsurfing Instructor Certificate. You also have to pass the US Sailing Swim PFD Test and the Small Boat Sailing Level 1 Certificate. You must be at least 18 years old to take the Level 1 Instructor Exam to become a certified windsurf instructor.

Did You Know? The longest windsurf board in the world is just over 16 meters long

Length of Training

It depends on the program, but the training times can take from as little as a couple of days to a few months to complete. The training is really up to you. It depends on how fast you can read the study material and master the requirements before taking your exam. The VAW training (which the VDWA falls under) normally takes around 2 to 5 days to complete.

Once you have gone through all the training, you will have to do the examination which consists of a number of different sections that take a few hours to complete.

The practical exam must take place in an estuary with the wind speed between 4m per second and 13m per second. You will need to demonstrate the 5 skills of board control through a 40 m long course. You will also need to show your beginner techniques including pulling the sail, board orientation, steering, how to do a 180 degree turn, and various other positions. There is also a lesson that you will have to take so that the examiner can see your teaching skills and a written exam will also be covered which takes about 1hour 30 minutes to complete.

Training Requirements

Before taking the Level 1 Instructor Course you have to have the following:

  • Windsurfing skills including de-rigging, rigging, and generally good board handling, as well as leaving and returning to the beach or dock.
  • A completed Swim PFD Test.
  • Intermediate theoretical knowledge of various related windsurfing subjects such as points of sail, weather, currents, tides, heat emergencies, rescue and more.
  • Current membership to US Sailing or VDWS.
  • Course fee of $300 and the completed application form.
  • A completed medical examination form.
  • You must know how to windsurf on the short and long boards.

To start your training you will also need to demonstrate your physical fitness, ability to work well with people of all ages and commitment.

Quick Summary:

  • Training to be a Windsurfing Instructor takes place through US Sailing and other organizations.
  • Requirements for training include having a Swim PFD Certification.
  • It is helpful to have knowledge of other subjects related to windsurfing.


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