Template:BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding/req

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  1. Review the BSA Safety Afloat policy. Explain to your instructor how this applies to stand up paddleboarding.
  2. Before fulfilling other requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
  3. Explain safety considerations for stand up paddleboarding in the following environments: lake, moving water, whitewater, open ocean, and ocean surf.
  4. Explain the characteristics of life jackets most appropriate for stand up paddleboarding and understand why one must always be worn while paddling. Then demonstrate how to select and fit a life jacket for stand up paddleboarding.
  5. Describe the appropriate type of leash to wear in different water venues.
  6. Name and point out the following:
    a. Major parts of a stand up paddleboard
    b. Parts of a paddle for stand up paddleboarding
  7. Discuss the following:
    a. Different types of stand up paddleboards
    b. How to correctly size and hold a paddle for stand up paddleboarding
  8. Using a properly outfitted stand up paddleboard, safely demonstrate the following:
    a. How to carry a stand up paddleboard
    b. How to safely paddle away from a dock or shoreline (on knees)
    c. How to stand and balance on a board in the neutral position
    d. How to appropriately fall off a board
    e. How to remount the board
    f. Forward stroke
    g. Back stroke
    h. Forward sweep
    i. Reverse sweep
    j. Draw stroke
    k. One self-rescue technique -- lay on your stomach and paddle with your hands.
  9. With supervision from your instructor, paddle a course that involves the following:
    a. A straight line for 25 yards and stop within one board length
    b. A figure 8
    c. Moving abeam to the right 10 feet and to the left 10 feet.



Any youth or adult who is registered with a troop, ship, or crew and completes the requirements is eligible for a patch and recognition card, available from the local council service center. Instruction for BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding is to be conducted under safe conditions on calm, flat water free from wind, waves, current, or outside boat traffic—within swimming distance of shore. There should be no submerged trees or structures that could injure an individual falling off a board. One to three hours in one or more sessions should suffice for instruction and practice. Paddle lengths and life-jacket sizes should be adequate to fit all participants. Counselors are expected to supplement the material in this document with their own knowledge and resources. All counselors must be trained in BSA Safety Afloat. Completion of this award should prepare the participants for unit activities in similar environments and encourage them to seek more advanced courses prior to paddling in more challenging venues.

Who can teach SUP

Any person recognized as a SUP instructor by the ACA | Canoe - Kayak - SUP - Raft - Rescue or equivalent organization may serve as a counselor for this award, with the approval of the local council. An ACA Level 1 or Level 2 Stand Up Paddleboarding Assessment Course or ACA Instructor certification is strongly recommended. A person experienced in SUP skills and safety may serve as a counselor in a BSA summer camp program under the direction of a currently certified BSA Aquatics Instructor.

SUP Safety

In addition to the basic board-handling skills, the counselor needs to have the following:

  • Knowledge of the dangers of falling off the board near docks or onto submerged obstructions–scene safety
  • Knowledge of the different leash types and when and when not to wear them
  • (Knowledge of how to rescue SUPs; both with and without an attachment point at the nose

Scout-to-Counselor Ratio

There should be one qualified counselor for every six Scouts. Ratios of youth to adults must also meet the BSA Youth Protection policies. Everyone must be monitored by a buddy, including the instructor. The instructor’s buddy may serve as an assistant on the water or as a lookout on land if the instruction is close enough to shore for easy verbal communication. The instructor’s buddy must know enough to realize when the instructor is having difficultly rather than demonstrating a fall. Please report any issues with this page.

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