Intensive Surf Instructor Training Course

3 Week Fast Track Course

Intensive Surf Instructor Training


Become an internationally recognised qualified surf instructor, ready to work!
Duration: 3 weeks (in our experience this would usually take 6 months!)
Train with Alan Stokes, the best surf coach in the UK.
Everything you need to become a qualified surf coach, achieved in 3 weeks.

Suitable for new surfers or those who can surf already.  This intensive course is designed to help you attain the skills, experience and qualifications to walk in to a job as a surf instructor.

The ISA Level 1 Surf Instructor Award is the industry standard for teaching surfing in the UK and around the world. Coupled with the Surf Coach Safety and Rescue Award, once you have them both, you’re ready to work!


Turn your passion into a profession and get paid to do what you love! Spend your working days at the beach and be trained by the UK’s premiere instructor in the heart of the UK’s surf capital.



  • International Surfing Association (ISA) Surf Coach Qualification
  • Surf Lifesaving Great Britain Surf Coach Safety and Rescue Award
  • Surf Skills Coaching from 3 X British Champ and UK Number 1 Surf Coach Alan Stokes
  • All Essential Shadow Hours Included in the three-week course
  • ISA Log book completed during the course and submitted on your behalf
  • Video coaching to help you to improve your surf skills fast
  • All equipment supplied through out the course
  • Job interview with Newquay Activity Centre upon conclusion of the course


If you haven’t surfed before, our intensive course is focussed to get you to pass standard in three weeks.


If you can surf already, you will improve your surfing under the guidance of Alan Stokes and become a better surfer and surf coach.


If you already have a suitable lifeguarding qualification, you can join the course for two weeks at a discounted price.



Our three-week International Surfing Association (ISA) Level One qualification focuses on the coaching of beginner level surfers. The aim of this course is to boost you from zero to hero with a team of dedicated coaching staff on hand to guide you every step of the way. Alongside the correct technical and safety skills, you will also gain the soft skills needed to effectively instruct new students on session. This comprehensive course will allow you to support, teach, encourage and adapt your lessons to suit the needs of your students in a safe and insurable manner.


This course is perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers looking to turn their passion into a profession and teach the art of surfing to those wanting to learn. It’s also open to those new to the sport who want to change their employment (and life) for the better!


Arguably, undergoing such a process will give you a huge advantage when working with inexperienced students; being able to empathise with their thoughts and feelings whilst on the water in a relatively new environment.


All ISA Level 1 courses require 20 hours of shadow coaching after completion which generally aren’t included by the provider. We’ve consolidated all requirements into our three-week course to give you the best chance of becoming an experienced and effective surf instructor in only three weeks! Your surf training sessions will be delivered by one of the UK’s best surfers – 3 X British Champion, Alan Stokes.


Your shadowing hours will be achieved working alongside the highly experienced Newquay Activity Centre instructor team. Your Surf Coach Safety and Rescue Award will be achieved through a week long intensive course in essential water safety and first aid skills.


We will also help to analyse your surfing with our innovative photo and video feedback sessions. These will provide you with a new aspect of your own surfing that will help you to understand where and what you can improve on. Our coaching system will see you deliver peer to peer coaching. This has the dual benefit of increasing your own surf skills while also learning to analyse that of your fellow students.



  • Be 18 or over
  • Be medically and physically fit
  • Enthusiasm for surfing and the ocean
  • Able to swim 200m in under 5 minutes (we can help you achieve this)


If you already have a suitable, recognised lifeguarding qualification but you want to take part in the two week surf coaching course, please drop us a line via our online chat and we can activate a discount for you.



Post qualification there is the potential to land a job as a surf instructor with Newquay Activity Centre, one of the 25 other surf schools in Newquay or of course take your qualification anywhere in the world as it is recognised internationally. Particularly during the summer months in the UK there is a high demand for great instructors. Some schools offer year round positions, or of course there is the option to travel in the winter to international locations. We have a network of contacts in New Zealand, Morocco, Bali, Portugal and beyond that we are happy to put you in touch with. So, if the dynamic is right then you could be sticking around in Newquay for a little longer than you thought!


We’ve tried to make it as straightforward as possible for you to enter the new world of surf coaching; all the processes are in place, it’s then down to you to grab the opportunity with both hands!



The course is spread over three weeks, with four days off. In your downtime you can practise your surfing or add extra shadowing hours. Here’s a rundown of what happens day-to-day. NB – the itinerary below is dependent on surf conditions and other variables, so should be used only as a guide.

We’ve been delivering training courses since 2001 and we’ve identified 8 Reasons why our intensive surf coaching course takes away the headache of doing it on your own!


1.     We recognised a problem! Each trainee who tries to attain their ‘shadow hours’ always struggles because you have to book in with a surf school for each lesson, they’re rarely consecutively and you don’t necessarily get to shadow with great instructors. The whole process can take months, but with us, you receive them within your two week surfing coaching module from instructors who are trained to help you get the most out of your shadowing sessions.


2.     Getting your logbook completed and submitted correctly can be a real faff. If you get it wrong (highly likely the first time), it will be sent back to you, and you must track down the instructor that you shadowed to correctly fill in the document. We solve this problem by assisting you to get it right first time and then submitting it for you.


3.     Many new surfers struggle to gain the standard required for their ‘surf test’. We teach you the skills required to pass the test and put a huge focus on getting you there. We do this using the 3 x British Champion surfer and number 1 UK surf coach, Alan Stokes.


4.     If you can surf already, we concentrate on getting footage of you to pass the ‘surf test’. Upon achieving this, we concentrate on taking your surfing to the next level. Not only do your personal surf skills benefit, but you learn from the process of achieving this. Double win.


5.     Our course is three weeks long for a reason. We concentrate on teaching you real coaching skills both in the classroom and at the beach. Video analysis, goal setting, teaching mixed ability groups, dealing with tricky conditions, these are all skills that we see as essential to becoming an awesome coach.


6.     The SLSGB Surf Coach Safety and Rescue award was designed to equip surf instructors with safety skills and first aid knowledge to deliver safe, insurable lessons. We get you there in a week. If you already have the award, we can discount the course price and reduce the length by a week.


7.     With 7 beaches in Newquay, we can guarantee conditions to surf on every given day of the course. Spending 3 weeks in the surfing centre of the UK is something that will benefit all new surf instructors and we’re pretty sure that you’ll LOVE our beaches.


8.     In a nutshell, we’ve been through this process with pupils repeatedly for the last 20 years. This course has been developed to encapsulate all the features that you need to achieve in an intensive, fun three weeks in Newquay.


We’d love to teach you to be a surf instructor, book online now or drop us a message through our online chat if you have any questions!

Newquay Activity Centre takes ocean-based training awards seriously; we have the qualifications and experience to consistently maintain a high level of safety and enjoyment for every activity. We are a two-time Gold winner at the Cornwall Tourism Awards and a Gold award winner at the South West Tourism Awards. Our ocean-based instructor qualifications in Newquay are designed to help you thrive in a new and enjoyable career.

Our friendly and knowledgeable instructors are experienced in delivering coach qualifications in Cornwall whilst making them as informative and enjoyable as possible. All our instructors are highly qualified and have experience working with people from all backgrounds. We pride ourselves on inclusion and adapt our sessions to suit all ages and abilities. We’re not happy unless you’re happy, so book your ocean-based instructor qualification today for a new, enjoyable, and rewarding career! Our lead instructor is 3 x British Champion surfer Alan Stokes needs no introduction to anyone that knows anything about surfing. He has lead the UK competition scene for over a decade and now is seen as the UK’s premiere surf coach.





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What’s Included

Four-day Surf Coach Safety and Rescue award delivered by industry expert Mark Kelly
Two-day ISA surf coach qualification with Industry figurehead Baz Hall
Skills development with the UK’s best surf instructor, Alan Stokes.
Video analysis of your surfing
A job interview for for a freelance coaching role with Newquay Activity Centre
Classroom-based theory and beachside practical sessions
Free use of all equipment including Rip Curl wetsuits, boots, hats, gloves, rash vests, rescue boards, rescue tubes and huge range of surfboards
Close to accommodation options (recommendations available on request)
Male and female changing rooms, toilets and hot outdoor showers
On-site storage and lock boxes for your valuables
Shadowing hours with the Newquay Activity Centre instructor team
Roles of the surf coach
Surfer safety
Instructing methods and communication
Discount card for apres surf food and drink at local cafes and eateries
Customer discount at Newquay’s Rip Curl store (15%)


  • You can book securely online or if you would prefer we can take payment over the phone.
  • Once paid you’ll be sent an email confirmation and an enrolment form to complete
  • Pay in full at the time of booking or
  • Split the payment into two instalments
  • All payments to be made in full 8 weeks prior to the course start date


We can’t reserve your place until we receive payment (in full or an instalment). Payment in full must be received no later than 8 weeks prior to commencement of the course.


Yes definitely! We pride ourselves on being super welcoming and friendly. Most of our students arrive solo and leave with friends for life.


To work as a surf instructor, you need to gain an SLSGB Surf Coach Safety and Rescue Award. In order to complete this award, you need to be able to swim 200 metres in under 5 minutes. This is quite achievable for most standards of swimmers.

We advise you to train in the swimming pool prior to the course.


The better you are at surfing, the easier the surfing skills section is.  However, we have proved this to be achievable for first-time surfers during the course. If you can clock up time surfing before the course, then we strongly recommend that you do so.


If you think you may benefit from a few extra sessions before or during the course, please check out our surf lessons and get in touch, we will discuss how this works.


If you don’t pass your surf test, you have 12 months to achieve it after your exam date.


You can still join the course. We will supply you with pre course training recommendations that will help you to achieve the standard. No doubt, it is harder to pass within three weeks if you haven’t surfed before. But this has been achieved by around 40% of our previous students.


If you don’t pass the surfing skills module within the two weeks you have a further 12 months to make the grade. But we will try our very best to get you there during the two-week course.

What are my chances of work at the end of the course?

The surf school industry has grown massively in the last 10 years. Every beach that has waves, seemingly has a surf school. If it doesn’t, perhaps you should set one up. As a lifestyle business or lifestyle employment it takes a lot of beating. Organised surf instructors pick up work year round by travelling to different parts of the world where they are in demand. Or gain year round position at a bigger surf school. Many surf instructors choose to set up their own operation, as once you have the qualification, you just need the equipment and a place to operate lessons and you are good to go.

What level of fitness do I need to pass the ISA surf instructor course?

As you can imagine, the fitter you are, the easier it is. But, that said, it isn’t a triathlon! Our coaching sessions are usually two hours long and you can participate at your own steam. If you need to rest, you can. Our pre course training programme will help you prepare for the course. When you have passed your ISA surf coaching qualification you will need a life saving qualification, this will mean that you need to gain a minimum standard of swimming 400 metres in under 5 minutes. This is achievable for most individuals and some times requires a some swim training to achieve the standard.

I don’t have any equipment, can I still take part?

We have an excellent range of wetsuits, wetsuit boots, gloves and hats. We also have a huge range of surfboards, from foamies, to softtop progressor boards, all the way through to mini mals and shortboards. Just let us know at time of booking and we will reserve your equipment, this is included in the price of the course.

Where can I stay?

Most pupils stay in one of the following;

An Air BnB (there is a huge range of options in Newquay)

Surf Lodge Accommodation (we work closely with Smarties, Escape and Ocean Surf Lodge)

Hotel or Guesthouse (Check for the options or drop us a line for recommendations)

Their van (either wild camping or staying on one of the many local touring parks/campsites)


Surf Life Saving Great Britain (SLSGB) and International Surfing Association (ISA) are all recognised worldwide.

What is the pay rate for a surf instructor?

Freelance surf instructors generally get paid between £35 and £50 for a two-hour coaching session (which means, with prep and lesson close down you will work for approx. 3 hours). A professional instructor will deliver three lessons per day. If you take a full-time job or build your own roster of regular clients the pay can range dramatically. Some instructors demand huge sums by offering an awesome service and getting excellent results. Like any job, the more that you put in to it, the more that you get out of it.


You’ll need :

  • Patience and the ability to work well with others
  • Enthusiasm to learn and train
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • Leadership skills
  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • The ability to work on your own
  • Knowledge of the English language
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • The ability to retain important information
  • The ability to remain calm when faced with new situations

Due to the ever-changing restrictions around COVID-19, we are constantly monitoring the latest news and making sure our practices are always up to date with government guidelines. We have developed our course to be COVID safe with all teachings following the correct safety guidelines. Theory work can be completed online, if restrictions are in place, allowing you to work remotely from the safety of your home or hotel. Our practical activities will be taking place outside and will follow all social distancing guidelines.


We ask all of our students to be transparent and honest if they, or any member of their family, develop any COVID-19 related symptoms. If you think you may have contracted the virus, we will ask you to self-isolate for the appropriate amount of time before joining or returning to the course and we ask everyone to regularly carry out lateral flow tests.


It’s important for us to stress that you will not miss out on the course as we are able to offer online learning while you are self-isolating. We have made sure that your ability to complete the course will not be affected by future restrictions or lockdown rules.


Cover for public liability will be in place whilst you partake in activities with Newquay Activity Centre, this is to a limit of £5 million. Personal accident cover is available, similar to travel insurance (injuries due to accidents etc), this is something participants can acquire themselves by looking online if they wish to purchase. Insurance is a topic covered during the course Q and A sessions so that everyone is clear of how this works in the outdoor industry.

  • Food.
  • Accommodation.
  • Travel costs – fuel, parking.  (We may occasionally travel further afield to seek out the best conditions. However, our centre is within walking distances to most sites so this will be kept to a minimum).
  • Retake fees incurred should they be necessary if you do not pass the initial assessment; you will be given training and support to prepare for each activity’s initial assessment whilst on the course, so please do not be concerned.

There will generally be ratios of 1:8 (instructor to pupil) for all activity training. However, theory classes may have larger ratios. You’ll often be broken down into smaller groups and all learning will observe the correct social distancing guidelines.


You need to be over 18 to join the course. If you are 65 or over we’d love to chat to you about the course before you book. Please email us to arrange a time and we’ll contact you. Or you can call us on 01637 877722


If you can’t join the course, please let us know as soon as possible via email. Your cancellation notice will start from the date we receive it.


Cancellation charges for the Outdoor Activity Instructor Academy, courses and modules are payable as follows:

  • Over 12 weeks – deposit only
  • 36 days to 12 weeks – 50% of total cost
  • 21-35 days – 75% of total cost
  • Under 20 days – 100% of total cost


Find out more under our terms and conditions.

Book Your Course



01637 877722

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