Become a Certified SUP Coach

PSUPA Flatwater Level 1 Certification Course


Gain the skills you need to teach classes confidently and safely. Our weekend long course emphasizes water safety, leadership, stroke technique, and rescue procedures, along with basics of running a SUP business.

Led by your CHESUPEAKE coaching team: Nicole Stimpson & Carleen Birnes


FALL 2022

We restructured the PSUPA Flatwater Level 1 Certification Course into a hybrid model of self-paced online coursework and one-day in person water training. 

Fall 2022 Certification Dates: 
• Online course access opens 9/3
• Water practical 10/22. Rain date 10/23
• Online exam deadline 11/6/22

Fall Registration deadline: 
• 10/9/22 to allow time to complete the online coursework and assignments before water practicum

Atlantic Marina Ferry Point

700 Mill Creek Rd, Arnold, MD 21012

Your certification is awarded upon completing the course. This includes passing all tests and achieving a satisfactory evaluation of your teaching, leadership skills and attention to safety. You will receive a PSUPA Certified Instructors Manual that covers everything covered in the course and more. 


  • Water safety - emergency preparedness and rescue techniques

  • Interpretation of weather and water conditions

  • On-water group management and communication

  • Leadership skills

  • Teaching concepts and techniques

  • How to teach the basic elements of stand up paddling

  • Approaches to teaching students of varying ages, abilities, skill levels, and limitations

  • Lesson formats and preparation

  • Methods of teaching basic paddling techniques

  • SUP gear and equipment overview

  • SUP Business - business models and procedures, including how to start a business, insurance requirements, marketing, pricing and hiring instructors. A SUP Business Manual is included with this add-on.

Certification Requirements: 

  • Participants join PSUPA membership prior to attending the cert. Annual fee $85

  • Participants must have a current hands-on (ie., not online-based) First Aid/CPR certification or Wilderness First Aid or Lifeguard Training prior to water training. 

  • Participants must take online exam after certification course. Test fee $40. 

  • Participants must wear USCG approved buoyant PFD for water training. 

  • Paddleboards are not included in the course fee. If you need to rent a board/paddle/leash contact Carleen at to arrange. Paddleboard package is $75 and will be delivered to certification site.

Cancellation Policy:


  • Cancellations made prior to receiving the manual: Course refund minus $40 cancelation fee. 

  • Cancellations made after course access is granted: 50% refund of course fee. 

  • No refunds within 7 days of certification water training start date.

Questions about training?