Become an Instructor!

Share your SUP passion with the world!

Experiences are better shared!

Taking other people out on the water to share the adventure is one of the most rewarding aspects of Stand Up Paddling!
Neil Gilson

Guiding others on the water comes with a certain amount of responsibility and risk. Skilled instruction and safe guiding translates into more fun and adventure and greater safety for everyone in your group - including you. So, if you are regularly taking other people out on the water, whether family, friends, as a volunteer, or for paying clients. Our Paddle Canada instructor training program is for you!

Where we teach...

About Paddle Canada

Photo credit: Paddle Canada

Paddle Canada has set national standards for instruction and certification for all major recreational paddling disciplines since 1971. Paddle Canada’s Mission Statement is “To promote recreational paddling instruction, safety and environmental awareness to all Canadians”. Paddle Canada certifications are nationally accredited and internationally recognized.
All programs at Bearfoot Performance Paddling are based on the Paddle Canada SUP skills, and SUP instructor certification programs.


Paddle Canada currently represents over 1,800 Instructor and Individual Members, 8 Regional Member Associations and 2 Affiliate Member Associations. Through it’s membership, Paddle Canada delivers programs that promote safe and enjoyable paddling to more than 10,000 canoe, kayak and SUP paddlers annually.


Becoming a SUP Instructor

Taking other people out on the water on a stand up board is fun, extremely rewarding and even addictive! At Bearfoot our head instructor and guide Neil Gilson has been taking aspiring paddlers out on lessons and adventures by canoe, raft, ocean kayak and SUP for over 30 years. So we know how amazing an experience it can be - and we also know what it takes to be a great instructor and guide!
You have to be skilled! Really skilled. You need to truly understand what you are doing, and why you are doing it, and be able to perform and adjust your own techniques at a high level to suit conditions, exaggerate a skill for demonstration, or to handle emergency or rescue situations.


You need actual, on-water paddling experience so that paddling is second nature to you. Time on the water is essential in order to to hone your own skills, gain fitness, and understand the environment and conditions you may be teaching in. And you need on-water experience so that you understand the limits of your own skills, your comfort level, and gear, and stay out of trouble.
A great instructor is also a great guide. You need to be able to demonstrate, explain, manage and organize a group, analyze technique, provide timely and useful feedback, and adapt to ever changing weather and water conditions, group dynamics and difference in learning styles, interests and personalities, all while taking care of people outside, on the water, in our great outdoors.


"Skills. Experience. Guiding. That’s what it takes to get people out on the water, help them learn and improve their skills, ensure that they find success, and have rewarding and memorable experiences!"
Neil Gilson