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SUP leader courses in the Lake District



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British Canoeing Awarding Body

SUP Inland Open Water Leader Award

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A SUP inland open water leader will be running trips on windy days on large lakes. They will lead groups in force 4 wind on large lakes, on easy river journeys or sheltered coastal venues.

SUP Open Water Leader

How can Wild River help prepare you for the assessment?

Wild River runs a two day training course to help prepare for SUP leader assessment.

On this course we will cover:

  • Trip planning and predicting weather and conditions.
  • Pre-trip information gathering.
  • Safety briefs for river or open water environments.
  • Board choice and set up for open water or river environments.
  • Group control strategies.
  • Towing options.
  • Rescues and incident management.
  • Development of personal skill.

Other Wild River opportunities for development:

  • Attend a SUP sheltered water performance award to improve your personal skill.
  • Bring in one of our team to observe you leading a group and provide feedback and mentor support.
  • Attend a SUP white water performance award to improve white water understanding.
  • Receive some individualised bespoke training.
  • Gather a group to create a bespoke training course of 2 or 3 days.

The key part of any training course is the individual debrief to assist with your development of your detailed action plan.

How does assessment work?


Wild River assessments will take place over two days with up to 4 candidates. This will allow us work in the two different environments over the two days.

On an assessment candidates will be expected to be able to:

  • Plan and lead an inspirational open water journey in a way that encourages independence and development of the participants.

  • Plan and lead an inspirational river journey in a way that encourages independence and development of the participants.

  • Paddle their board at a good standard in the top end of the remit (force 4).

  • Deal with any incidents that occur.

  • Lead a downwind sailing journey.

Prior to an assessment you will be given the opportunity to contact the group members to gather information about their ability, equipment needs and aspirations for the day. You will be encouraged to plan the day in detail with logistical support from Wild River if necessary. The group will have at least 4 participants.

At present we haven’t got a venue any venue options appropriate to run assessments in a single day. This might change as we get a better picture of how the new award works.

Pre-requisites for assessment:

  • Prior to assessment all candidates must register with their home nation association (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales, Paddle Northern Ireland). .

  • Full home nation association membership.

  • Valid (within 3 years) 2 day First Aid Award recognised by Paddle UK.

  • Valid (within 3 years) Safeguarding Training recognised by Paddle UK.

Where does a SUP Open Water Leader operate?


The British Canoeing SUP Inland Open Water Leader qualification is appropriate for leading others on journeys on inland open water. This includes large areas of open water that exceed the sheltered water definition, where the paddlers are no more than 500 metres offshore and in wind strengths that do not exceed Beaufort force 4.

It also includes moving water environments up to, but not including, grade 2 rivers (not involving shooting of, or playing on weirs or running rapids).

The British Canoeing SUP Inland Open Water Leader would be deemed appropriate to operate in inland tidal water, which includes defined beaches where the group could easily land, slow moving estuaries (less than 0.5 Knots) and in winds not above Beaufort force 4 (force 3 if wind direction is offshore)

This award covers all the Lake District open water such as Windermere, Ullswater and Coniston. It also includes easy rivers with flow and perhaps some bumpy bits such as (in Cumbria):

  • The Eden from Langwathby to Lazonby or Wetheral to Carlisle.

  • The Eden from Carlisle to Rockliffe.

  • Lower sections of the Lune downstream of Devils Bridge.

  • The section of the river Leven below Haverthwaite.

Other UK venuesinclude:

  • River Severn Shrewsbury to Telford.

  • River Wye from Kern Bridge to Monmouth (if Symonds Yat is portaged).


Open Water SUP Leader Courses

Paddle UK have developed an online eLearning resource to support leaders learning and can be accessed using the following link: e-learning

Training Dates

Dates to be arranged.

Cost £200

Contact Wild River

Assessment Dates

13,14 November 2024

Cost: £270 per person (min 3 required to run).

It may be possible to deliver 1-1 assessments over a single day. The cost for these would be £350.

Training Prerequisites

There are no formal prerequisites for leader training but candidates should have a level of personal skill relevant to the environment.


For assessment all candidates must register with Paddle UK.

At registration evidence of the following is required:

Full home nation association membership (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales or Paddle Northern Ireland).

2 Day First Aid Award (within 3 years) recognised by Paddle UK.

Safeguarding Training (within 3 years) recognised by Paddle UK.


Google Forms Action Plan

How to Register Video

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader GuidanceSUP Inland Open Water Leader Course Documents

Safeguarding Training

Paddlesport Leader e-learning

British Canoeing Environmental DefinitionsEnvironmental Definitions

Paddlesport Leader Assessment




Paddlesport courses in the Lake District