IRELAND. Meet ASI Level 2 SUP Instructor and ASI accredited school owner Adam Livingstone.
After moving to his dream beach house in Portmuck on the east coast of Northern Ireland, Adam tried SUP for the first time and it quickly became his new favourite hobby. So much so, that he started his own SUP school, Islandmagee SUP, with a focus on teaching people SUP with the correct safety protocols and techniques to enable everyone to enjoy SUP in safe and fun way.
We asked Adam a few questions to find out more…
What is your background?
Growing up I spent my summer holidays on the beach at either Portstewart on the North Coast or Dunfanaghy on the west coast of Ireland with my parents and two sisters. We loved being in the sea and I have great memories of body boarding all day. This love of the coast, beaches and being in the water never left me.
In my early 30's, now with my wife and 1st son, we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to move to our dream house on the beach in a wee place called Portmuck on the east coast of Northern Ireland. This is when my love for coastal living was reignited and it wasn't long before I decided I needed to try Stand Up Paddleboarding.
Before moving to the seaside I was a really keen golfer and spent a lot of my time playing golf and became focused on getting my handicap down as low as possible! I also went on a bit of a fitness kick and was training in martial arts and at the gym regularly. With a young family it became hard to fit in some of these hobbies and I needed something a bit closer to home. With the beach now on my doorstep SUP quickly became my favourite hobby and it wasn't long before I was addicted.
I'm now a Dad to 3 great boys and have the pleasure of introducing them to the coastal way of living.
What got you involved in the sport?
Living a stones throw from the beach I was regularly swimming in the sea and started to see the occasional person head out on one of these cool looking surf boards with a paddle. I decided I had to try it and after my first lesson I was addicted straight away and it wasn't long before I got my own board.
Around the time of my first lesson I was also training for a hiking challenge for charity with my sister. We hiked the full length of the Mourne Wall in the mourne mountains covering 12 peaks and over 30km in one day. After this we decided on our next challenge...to Stand Up Paddle the entire length of the River Bann (100km including crossing Lough Neagh). The same group began training for this challenge thanks to the coaching of Iain McCarthy from Suphubni, who decided to join us for the challenge! In the lead up to this I was paddling 10-20 miles a week along the coast and this is when I really developed my love for the sport and it became something I knew I would do for the rest of my life.
Why did you become an ASI instructor?
Firstly, I just wanted to develop my skills and knowledge further. Unfortunately, instructor courses were postponed 2-3 times due to covid restrictions. During that period, I began to spend more and more time on my SUP and noticed a big increase of other people buying their first boards and going out without any lessons or awareness of their equipment or safety. I also began to get a lot of questions from local people about paddle boarding. Eventually, after a lot of thinking and discussions I decided to make the goal of starting my own SUP school. My aim is to increase awareness of the correct safety protocols, techniques and introduce more people in our area to paddle boarding in a safe and fun way.
What are you doing now?
Now I’ve been running my own ASI accredited SUP school for just over a year. In this short time I've introduced more than 400 people to stand up paddleboarding and got them standing up for the first time.
What do you like about being an ASI instructor?
I really like getting to meet so many different people, getting to see how much enjoyment they get from paddle boarding and the improvements and confidence they get after one of our SUP session or courses.
I love being out on the water, surrounded by wildlife and nature, doing something I have a great passion for. Blue therapy is real and I get to experience the benefits of it more than most. I’m also someone who needs to stay active and get regular exercise so being a SUP instructor ticks all the boxes.
I feel proud to be an ASI instructor. Throughout all of my ASI training I instantly recognised the high quality of the coaches, teaching materials and the commitment to making SUP safety the number one priority. I really appreciate the high standards ASI have for certification and I believe this will have a great long-term impact on the sport.
Tell us about funny or interesting or nice situation that has happened to you with instructing?
The nicest thing associated with instructing for me to date has been watching people become friends on our SUPwise courses. It happened on numerous occasions where people who had never met before ended up finding SUP buddies. People who would otherwise have been too nervous to go out on a SUP on their own are now arranging get togethers to go out paddling. They now have a new hobby, someone to do it with and are equipped with all of the skills to do it safely. This gives me immense pride.
A big thank you to Adam for taking the time to give us some insight into life as a SUP Instructor and school owner.
If you fancy becoming an ASI SUP Instructor like Adam then click here to find out how to get started and make your dream job a reality!