The SUP SAFE Course

SUP SAFE Courses

Our safety education courses cover how to choose and use your safety equipment, understanding the conditions, and what to do when things go wrong.  They’re the perfect way to really improve your general water knowledge.

There are two ways you can access these courses:


The online version of the course is broken down into three separate (and completely free!) courses; Safety Equipment,  Understanding the Conditions, and What to do When things go wrong.  Each course is split into numerous bite-sized lessons, offering a huge resource of information, videos, pix, analysis and commentary on all aspects of SUP Safety. You can work through each course lesson by lesson at your own pace and convenience, or just simply dip in to the bits that you want to find out about.  The online courses are COMPLETELY FREE, and you can sign up for them right here.

In the classroom

The classroom course is presented by  our trained SUP SAFE presenters around New Zealand, and delivered in an interactive way, giving you examples and scenarios to work with in order to make it as interesting as possible and maximise your learning. You’ll get some good information to take away, as well. Click here to find your nearest course.

Whichever version of the course you do, you will learn about:

  • Choosing the right leash for the conditions, and what could go wrong
  • Choosing the right PFD for the conditions, how to use and service them, what could go wrong
  • Communication on the water
  • Other safety options and equipment
  • Understanding wind direction and strength
  • Understanding tides and currents
  • How to interpret weather forecasts
  • Planning a SUP trip
  • The SUP SAFE code
  • What could go wrong and how to deal with possible emergency scenarios

There may be a small charge for the classroom course, which will depend on the local presenter (as some have support from local councils etc in order to run them FOC, while others have to recoup costs for renting rooms etc), but should not be more than $40 per person. A small outlay in return for knowledge that may save your life!

Check out also the SUP RESCUE course. With the skills you will learn in this 2.5 hour practical and classroom course, you will be equipped to save someone from drowning. It’s a vital skill that every stand up paddleboarder should have. Unfortunately, preventable drowning incidents are all too common around the New Zealand waters, and you never know when you might come across someone in trouble.

Find a course

There will be courses run all over New Zealand throughout the summer. Courses will be scheduled, and/or on demand – if there are enough takers then the local course presenter will put one on. Contact your local presenter to put your name on their list! Or if there isn’t a course near you, check out the online course, which is completely free and you can do at your own pace . Where the course presenter is shown as TBA, this is because the training is still under way. If you would be interested in a course in this area please let us know, and you will be contacted as soon as the presenters are ready to begin running the course.
Northland Paddleboarding, Far North

Contact: 027 777 1035 –

SUP Bros, Whangarei

Contact: 022 644 9613 –


Contact: TBA – contact NZSUP

SUP Well, Auckland

Contact: 021 289 0221 –


Contact: TBA – contact NZSUP


Contact: TBA – contact NZSUP

East Coast Paddlers, Bay of Plenty

Contact: 027 451 0579 –

Moana Paddle Nelson, Nelson/Marlborough

Contact: 027 272 7259 –

Golden Bay Kayaks, Golden Bay

Contact: 03 525 9095 –


Contact: TBA – contact NZSUP

Paddle Wanaka, Wanaka/Queenstown

Contact: 0800 926 925 –

Water Cooled Sports, Dunedin

Contact: 03-479 2206 –

More presenters will be added to this list very soon.  If there is not a presenter in your area please contact us to request a course and we’ll see what we can do, or if you’re OK with online learning, check out the online course, which is completely free and you can complete at your own pace whenever you like.

We are hugely grateful to Water Safety New Zealand for the funding to create this course, and Maritime New Zealand Safer Boating Forum for the funding to train the course presenters around New Zealand.