For some people it starts as wanting to muck in at their Team15 club. For others it can be about earning summer pocket money or a way to go windsurfing overseas.
Whatever your initial motivation, very quickly the avenues in windsurf instruction can go from part-time hobby to full-time, globetrotting career, but how?
“You might not have any great aspirations to start with about using your RYA instructor qualifications as part of a long-term career goal,” explains Amanda Van Santen, RYA Chief Windsurfing and Dinghy Instructor.
“But as you move through the pathway, doors you didn’t even know existed often have a habit of opening up in front of you and the opportunities can be endless.”
From being a volunteer in a club, to a full-time instructor in a commercial centre or and overseas instructor at companies such as Neilson, Mark Warner, Ocean Elements, PGL etc, RYA instructor qualifications are recognised across the world.
So what does the RYA Windsurfing Instructor pathway look like and what pots of lifestyle gold could lay at the end of the rainbow?
There are effectively four tiers of RYA Windsurfing Instructor qualification.
Assistant Instructor (AI) is the first rung. Awarded ‘in-house’ this qualification allows competent intermediate non-planing windsurfers to assist in instructing Youth Stage 1 and adult Start Windsurfing courses under Senior Instructor (SI) supervision.
From 16 you can qualify as an RYA Start Windsurfing instructor, as long as you hold these prerequisites – RYA Intermediate non-planing certificate, RYA Powerboat Level 2, and a valid First Aid certificate.
The course is five days and, on successful completion, you will be awarded your RYA Start Windsurfing Instructor certificate so you can instruct the Start Windsurfing course and Stages 1-2 of the Youth Windsurfing Scheme.
The RYA Intermediate Instructor qualification can be pursued by current RYA Start Windsurfing instructors who have the required logged teaching hours at an RYA Training Centre. This qualification enables you to teach the Intermediate syllabus as well as Stages 1-4 of the Youth Windsurfing Scheme.
The Intermediate course is four days’ long, with more advanced skills, such as harness and footstraps, blasting control and more advanced gybing techniques, all covered. The FastFwd coaching method (Vision, Trim, Balance, Power, Stance) is also first introduced in this syllabus too, to help enhance your coaching and assist your student(s) in starting to analyse their own sailing.
Once you have gained further experience, the RYA Advanced Instructor is the ultimate in RYA Windsurfing coaching and instructional qualifications, allowing you to teach the entire RYA Windsurfing Scheme.
The course itself has a clinic-based approach, assisting instructors in enhancing their coaching ability, breaking down of skills and delivery of more advanced techniques.
Check back in tomorrow morning for the next steps along the RYA coaching pathway.