Why Upskill?

Paddling for many is a lifetime learning experience. Whether it is training towards a competitive peak, practicing and perfecting whitewater skills, seeking greater challenges at sea or exploring a new waterway, the range of new skills and experiences available to many paddlers is continuous and comprehensive.

Often, new skills and safety awareness are self-taught however more is to be gained by formal face-to-face paddler education. You will learn a great deal from joining a club or participating in an organised paddling event or being coached. Once you have learned skills from others, you may be interested in passing these on yourself.

There are two major education pathways you can choose to gain qualifications:

  1. The Paddle Australia Qualifications Scheme encompasses the qualifications required to lead and instruct groups of paddlers in most forms of paddling and incorporates boat handling, group management and safety training at every stage. All commercial paddling operators must have a PAQS award. PaddleNSW regularly conducts PAQS courses in many disciplines.
  2. Coaching is primarily focussed on improving a paddlers technique and fitness specific to a paddling discipline. Paddle Australia Coaching Awards system comprises several levels of coaching, from beginners to elite competition paddler level. Coaching is predominantly provided by competition-based club coaches, and a number of private independent coaches. All Paddle Australia coaches must have a P.A. Coaching qualification however you don’t have to be competitive to be a coach. You may coach in small groups or one-on-one.
Group of teenage paddlers in blue singlets rafted up in boats and facing away from camera.

Volunteers and officials can undertake specific training and qualification in paddlesport administration through the various PNSW paddlesport committees.

Other new education courses conducted by PaddleNSW, eg swift water rescue for emergency personnel, and pack rafting, are available on the paddle education calendar or via the Paddle NSW Education Facebook page.