Expand your reach, travel and teach, become a kiteboarding instructor!

Kiteboarder to kiteboarding instructor…

At some point every kiteboarder is asked by an enthusiastic beginner, “Can you teach me to kiteboard?”.  If your like most kiters you are happy to teach what you know, and you accept the opportunity to promote the sport by getting another person hooked.  You dust off your trusty old trainer kite and give the newbie a quick rundown and demonstration.  You send them off with the trainer and instruct them to fly it as much as possible and ask them to check back with you when they can fly the trainer blindfolded.

The above is how I approach those who ask me to teach them kiteboarding, because in my experience the majority of people like the idea of being a kiteboarder better than actually putting in the work to become a kiteboarder.  It is a case of everyone is interested but not committed.

Those who are committed will seek you out looking for more instruction and at that point it is go time!  Another person firmly in the grips of the kiteboarding gods.

Then a thought creeps into your mind, “I know more than I thought I did…training is kinda fun and seeing the stoked look on the face of a beginner who just put it all together for their first short tack is pretty motivating……..  Maybe I should become an instructor?”

The majority of kiters have probably thought about taking a certified instructor course at some point in time. The allure of earning money from your passion while helping people learn to kiteboard is a unique opportunity.

Maybe you want to travel in some of the foremost kiteboarding destinations and would like to fund your travel with cash made from picking up gigs at various kiteboarding centres around Europe, Asia, or South America, to name a few ideal spots.

Possibly you live in a great kiteboarding location already and would like to start a business and teach the sport.

This post is for all the kiteboarders, including myself, who have thought at some point in time, they may want to become an instructor.  I was interested in what was involved in becoming an instructor, so I looked into it and will share what I found in this post.

I will break down step by step what it takes to become a IKO certified level 2 instructor and provide information that can help you make a more informed decision on whether you want to take the leap.  If your interested or have ever been interested in becoming a kiteboarding instructor this post is for you.


 

Calling all instructors

There is no doubt that being an instructor isn’t for everyone and there are certain personality traits that better suit a person for this line of work.  Generally speaking, if you enjoy helping people learn and succeed, have a good amount of patience and have a love for the sport, you would probably make a great kiteboarding instructor.

As a kiteboarding instructor your skills are portable and you can essentially work from anywhere there is wind and water. Instructors have the option to travel and teach kiteboarding in amazing locations while supporting themselves.

If you have an entrepreneurial streak, you can open up your own business, have a side hustle or do it full-time and be your own boss.

The options are plentiful and the thought of making some extra cash or even a living doing something you love is exciting.


The road to certification

 

IKO road to certification

IKO road to certification

Above is the International kiteboarder organization path to becoming a certified kiteboarding instructor.

The first step in becoming an instructor is to have experience being a kiteboarder, IKO requires you to be a certified IKO Level 3N card-carrying member or have the equivalent skill. (more about equivalency below)

Crossing the bridge from recreational kiteboarder to profession starts with the assistant instructor trainer course (AITC).  Lets see what is needed to start that journey today.


Assistant instructor training course

What you will learn 

During the AITC your learning will be divided into 3 parts:

  • evaluation and improvement of your knowledge and riding skills.
  • theoretical lessons.
  • practical teaching situation.

The course will also cover how an IKO affiliated Kite Center works giving you the knowledge to prepare, use and manage equipment properly, follow the fundamental safety principles and much more.

The Assistant ITC is a 3 days minimum course with an IKO suggested cost of $250 for the live training, but final prices are at the discretion of the trainer or school.  A $50 fee is also charged, this fee includes your online manual, your IKO fee for the Assistant Instructor Training Course and 1 year of IKO membership.

Prerequisites

  • the IKO requires your kiteboarding skills to be at the advanced rider level, certified IKO level 3N or have an equivalent level of skill.  (reference the chart below that outlines the skills of an advanced rider IKO 3N rider).
  • Be at least 16 years old (candidates under 18 years old must obtain parental consent).
  • have a valid first aid and CPR certificate.
  • must be able to read and write.

IKO 3N skill set

3n rider

 

 IKO certified assistant instructor are qualified to:

  • Teach up to one student under supervision,
  • Work at IKO affiliated Kite centers,
  • Eligible to take the Pre ITC online course,
  • Eligible to register for the Instructor Training Course (ITC),
  • Post personal profile information viewable on the general public website.

For those certified assistant instructors that will be moving on to the ITC Level 1, IKO requires you to be able to perform a list of requested skills  as a prerequisite to IKO level 1.

You can demonstrate these requested skills during the AITC which is referred to as the AITC- plus section of training, during the actual ITC Level 1 or you can bring a video of yourself performing these skills in case of no wind situations during your training course.

Next step: IKO level 1 instructor course.


IKO Level 1 instructor

I couldn’t of said this any better, it is taken right from the IKO website “The IKO level 1 instructor course will expand and transform your theoretical knowledge and skill level and turn these skills sets into a mastery of abilities so that you can teach while transferring your love and passion of the sport to others”.

You will be trained interactively on all aspects of safety, practical environment, analysis, technique and teaching psychology.   Also, live situation modules are held to prepare you for real teaching sessions.

The ITC level 1 is a 5 day course facilitated by a professional examiner.  The course is taught with a maximum of 8 students and suggested price set by the IKO at $890 USD.

Prerequisites 

  • Be at least 18 years old,
  • Be a certified IKO kiteboarder level 3N or equivalent level,
  • Be able to perform or have video of you performing all items listed on the requested skills list,
  • Have a valid IKO Assistant instructor certification,
  • Have a valid first aid and CPR,
  • Pass the online Pre-ITC course with a minimum score of 70%,
  • Be able to read, write and speak fluently in the language the course is given,
  • Sign the ITC candidate waiver and participation form.

After you have successfully completed the course you will be certified IKO Level 1 instructor.

Qualifications and benefits of an IKO Level 1 instructor:

  • Teach up to two students with one kite at the same time,
  • Certify students with the IKO Member Card,
  • Access the online job list,
  • Post seeking employment ads to the online job list,
  • Work at IKO Affiliated Centers,
  • Access the Pro Area on the IKO website,
  • Receive customer feedback that results in an international instructor ranking,
  • Get the Instructor Level 2 certification fee waived,
  • Post personal profile information viewable on the general public website.

After completing all the required training you will be certified as an IKO Level 1 instructor and have all the qualifications and benefits as such.

If your interested in upgrading your level 1 and teaching to a niche market there are two areas you can specialize in, teaching to children and Teaching to students with health conditions. To upgrade you must complete an e-course with a minimum exam grade of 70%.

Next step: IKO Level 2 instructor course.


IKO Level 2 instructor

The IKO level 2 instructor is essentially an extension and upgrade from Level 1.  Level 2 instructors can teach 4 students with 2 kites flying at the same time. You can also expand your Level 2 to become an Assistant Instructor Trainer and/or Head Instructor.  Along with teaching students how to kiteboard you can now teach the future assistant kiteboarding trainers of tomorrow and work as a head instructor.

After completing the IKO level 2 instructor certification all that is needed to upgrade to an assistant instructor trainer and head instructor is the respective e-course at a cost of $60 USD/course.

Prerequisites

  • Be an IKO instructor level 1,
  • Have taught and registered at least 25 students with the IKO totaling at least 160 hours of teaching.

Qualifications and benefits of a IKO level 2 instructor:

  • Teach 4 students with 2 kites flying at the same time,
  • Access the Kiteboard Coach Course (once you have reach 800 logged hours),
  • Work at IKO Affiliated Centers,
  • Access the online job list,
  • Post seeking employment ads to the online job list,
  • Access the Pro Area on the IKO website,
  • Post personal profile information viewable on the general public website,
  • Receive customer feedback that results in an international instructor ranking.

I personally like the flexibility the IKO level 2 instructor certification offers. With a level 2 You can teach students with a ratio of 4 students and 2 flying kites, you can become an assistant instructor trainer and you can be a head instructor.  These options keep opportunities wide open for furthering your instructor reach.  

There are plenty of further opportunities beyond IKO Level 2 certification but they are beyond the scope of this post but further information can be found at the IKO website.

So now that you have probably made up your mind if this is for you or not, here is a link to the IKO kite course calendar.

Next:  For those already certified kiteboarding instructors from other organizations who would like to become IKO certified, IKO has an equivalency course.  Let’s check it out!


IKO Equivalency course

If you already have a kiteboarding instructor certification from another organization and would like to become IKO certified to expand your reach as an instructor, pad your qualifications or increase your employability no problem, IKO has a course for that.

Certification is available to the instructors of these organizations:

The instructor equivalency course is 3 days long, once completed you will immediately become a Level 1 IKO certified instructor.

Prerequisites 

  • Possess and provide a copy of your instructor diploma.
  • Possess and produce a copy of a valid First Aid and CPR certificate.
  • Be able to give clear information to a certified boat pilot to rescue a kiteboarder in the water.
  • Provide a letter of recommendation and provide proof of one year of teaching experience.
  • Pass the online Pre-ITC course with a minimum score of 70%.

After completing Level 1, Level 2 can be obtained by completing the following:

  • Enroll a minimum of 15 students and 80 teaching hours.
  • Successfully pass the online IKO Level 2 Exam.  (After the minimum teaching hours are logged email IKO support for access to the online exam).

To recap once you have completed the 3 day IEC you will be certified IKO level 1.  After enrolling 15 students and logged 80 hours of teaching time along with passing the online IKO level 2 exam, you will be a certified IKO level 2 instructor.

 



Becoming a certified instructor may not be for everyone but it will strike a chord with some. Furthering your reach in the sport by helping beginners learn while opening options up for yourself can be very liberating.  I decided to focus on IKO specific training as I think they are the leader and have the bigger following.

I know that hindsight is always 20/20 but looking back I see missed opportunities to travel and teach kiteboarding that I let slip away.  I was following the heard I mean opted for the more traditional route of school, job, house, family etc….Although I have no regrets as life is pretty good, it was still a missed opportunity to deposit into my experience bank, which can always use a little padding.

My hope is that this post reaches those who may be in a position to teach and travel like I was years ago or simply those who may want to teach kiteboarding for other reasons and haven’t pulled the trigger yet, either way I see becoming an instructor as an opportunity promote the sport, give back and make some cash along the way.


session complete.

I have no affiliation with the IKO.  This post is simply information I came across while looking into the subject myself.

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