Last weekend I spent a fantastic weekend down in Newquay, Cornwall, training with National Trainer Dom Moore from the awesome Surf Sanctuary surf school, based in the Headland Hotel. I’ve known Dom for many many years through my work filming and photographing kitesurfing, with Dom the then editor of KiteSurf Mag, and now SUP International.
Dom is a true waterman in multi-disciplines and a total walking knowledge bank; I challenge anyone not to learn something when spending time in his company!
The BSUPA Level 2 Race & Tour Instructor course has been rewritten for this year, and we were the first group to be put through the new syllabus. This update is a very good thing; there has been a lot of chat over the past few months over the validity of some courses from the various providers in the UK, and the ease at which many paddlers can, with very little real experience suddenly call themselves ‘instructors’. Indeed a couple of years ago, I discovered a course from a global provider (name to remain anonymous) where all I had to do was complete an online course with some quizzes, and send in a couple of videos of me paddling. I‘m sure I don’t have to point out the obvious potential dangers this could (and has) caused in a sport that is still going through an explosion in popularity.
Anyway, back to the course; over the two days we had our grey matter stretched in the classroom where we discussed topics such as stress vs performance, navigation techniques, reading tides and river flows and much much more. Out on the water we had our paddling skills tested as we paddled out on the ocean, around headlands, dealing with swell, chop, wind and waves (alongside some inquisitive seals and a sighting of a dolphin!), and then it was onto the river to complete a 400m time trial. This course was not a ‘tick in the box’, as it was quite rightly pointed out - a pass is not a given - people will fail, and a suitable action plan put in place for them to work towards before coming back to take the course again.
I’m pleased to say I passed, and now have my sights set on the next step, to become a BSUPA Coach, specialising in training & performance.