PaddleFit Pro announces its 2015 certification schedule and a stop in North Texas at DFW Surf on Lake Grapevine March 28-29. So what is PaddleFit Pro and why is it considered the premier certification course for SUP? If you offer a paddleboard concession or school why should you get certified? The sport has been growing in such rapid numbers, why is it important to teach customers how to paddle first before renting them a board?
Then name PaddleFit has become a brand name to embody everything from an all inclusive certification program to local classes and training tips and techniques thanks to Brody Welte, founder, competitive paddler and new coach of team USA. Brody enters in the industry years ago with a background in fitness and his mentors include Dave Kalama and Laird Hamilton. Today Brody’s PaddleFit certification program has reached nearly 1000 active and certified coaches globally and 2015 will mark the biggest year yet for new certified instructors. Specifically, the “inland market,” “lakes and rivers,” is the area of the most growth. According to Brody, “the number one objective is to teach people how to paddle and the foundations of how to paddle. If people are paddling right they will be less prone to injury.”
In North Texas specifically there are a handful of paddle/canoe/ and kayak concessions and operations run by individuals with little or no experience and no sort of certifications or guidelines for their customers. “I was happy to find DFW Surf and discover instructors who are out there on the water with you” is one of the biggest responses we get from our customers. This is the biggest problem facing the fastest growing watersport in the world- SAFETY. With so many new people getting on the water and new concession companies popping up left and right the biggest safety issue are RENTALS. The problem with local and national boat rental companies is that anyone is able to drive a boat if they have a valid driver’s license, but what about a boating license or intro course? Without instruction can you think of any risks that new paddlers and boaters possess? The result, unfortunately, has been very dangerous and even fatal for new lake goers and specifically first-timers or renters.
Stand up paddle boarding is still such a new sport and yet there are so many new companies who are still without any sort of certification or credential. At the same time, there are not that many comprehensive certification courses for schools and instructors either. The list is short including the ACA, or American Canoe Association, which offers more of a kayak/canoe-based curriculum along with the WPA (World Paddle Association), SUPAA (Stand up Paddle Athlete’s Association) and several SUP Yoga and paddle fitness based certification courses like Fitness on Board. The sport of surfing for instance is sanctioned by a couple different governing bodies including the ISA (International Surfing Association) and the NSSIA (National Surf Schools and Instructors Association) and within wake surfing there is the CWSA (Competitive Wake Surf Association). With so many different governing bodies, especially in a new sport, who is to say which body should take precedent? Who has authority? Can any person or company create a governing body? In the sport of stand up paddle boarding should certifications be mandated by the state or local government? And if so, which certification course should have authority?
What’s great about PaddleFit is that it is paddleboard specific. The Level 1 and 2 program will give new paddlers and novice concession operators everything they need to know to create a good foundation and conduct their business safely. Level 1 includes: water safety and rescue techniques and Level 2 breaks down the stroke, fundamentals and basic training concepts and how to do an assessment. Following Level 1 you can pay $35 to take the WPA test, so you can be both PaddleFit and WPA certified.
More about Brody and PaddleFit on his website and registration for March 28-29 certification course at http://www.paddlefitpro.com/get-certified/
Learn more about Brody and the program in this article: “Brody Welte is PaddleFit Pro“
Brody will also be hosting a paddle performance clinic on Friday evening. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.