Level One

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The International Surfing Association (ISA) Level One Surf Instructor usually works with the novice surfer in white water teaching basic surfing skills including an introduction to equipment, beach safety, paddling catching waves, popping up, riding white water and traversing white water. These skills are learned on soft boards in white water conditions on beach breaks. Additional remit is to work with surfers developing towards riding green waves left and right.

This course is aimed at individuals with surfing experience who wish to teach basic surfing techniques to the novice.


The course aims to equip candidates with the skills and knowledge required to introduce the novice to surfing  and develop intermediates in a safe and supportive environment.

Is this course for me?

Course Duration

The Level One Surf Coach Course is run over two days and involves practical and theory modules, along with a surfing assessment.

Post Course Practice

After the 2 day course, the candidate must complete 20 hours lesson planning and coaching experience with an ISA Level One coach or greater (or equivalent) mentor. Lesson plans and coaching logs should then be returned to the course presenter for assessment.

Lifesaving / First Aid Award

The candidate must hold a Surf rescue / First Aid Award or suitable equivalent, which can be taken anytime up to 18 months  after the course.

Surf Proficiency

The candidate must have at least two years surfing experience. They must demonstrate an ability to paddle “out back” in a reasonable time, take-off and surf right and left on an unbroken wave in control with minor turns to stay in pocket of the wave.

For example of the level of skill see the following videos:


The candidate has 18 months from the start date to complete all the criteria.  On successful completion the candidate will receive the ISA Level One Surf award.


The course fee includes ISA membership for the first year.  The ISA Level One Award holder must pay the $100 USD fee to the ISA yearly after that and hold a current acceptable ILS water rescue award, to maintain a valid qualification.

Contact us for more information


Andy Joyce

Turning his love for the water into a career, he started up Surf Steps, his own Surf and SUP training centre in 2005. He now directs the business, and a very happily married Father of 2.

“My dream of a more water filled life was realised through passion, hard work and vision. I see my role is to help people achieve theirs too!”

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