Introducing ASI SUP Instructor Jarlath in Ireland

Posted date: 30-March-2021

Jarlath McHale is an ASI SUP instructor who runs an adventure activity centre in Castlebar, Co. Mayo on the rugged and beautiful West coast of Ireland.

We caught up with Jarlath to find out more about his activity centre and his journey to becoming an ASI SUP instructor.

Hi Jarlath; tell us a bit about your background

“I have been surfing for the past 20+ years, which is what got me into working in the outdoors. I went back to college and graduated from GMIT Outdoor Education and Leisure 7 years ago and went on to set up Mayo Adventure Experience.

“I then went on to do a Masters in Sport Science and Exercise Psychology at Waterford IT to add more value to what we can offer. I am a qualified Level 2 SUP Coach Trainer with the ASI and have a range of other instructorships from various NGB’s here in Ireland.”

How did you get started in SUP?

“I got into SUP because of surfing and found the two sports complement each other. I love canoeing and mixed with my passion for surfing it was just the right combination for me. I work and live beside Lough Lannagh so I’m never too far from the water.”

Why did you become an ASI qualified SUP instructor?

“I became an ASI instructor due to the high standards they set for both instructor and clients.”

What are you doing right now?

“Currently I run the day-to-day operations of my business, taking bookings, organising staff and doing my best to offload the office work to someone else so I can get out paddling, either with clients or solo.

“All our staff are ASI qualified and mostly graduates from the same degree course I completed 7 years ago. We run a variety of activities including SUP, canoeing, kayaking orienteering, team building and much more.

“Our clients range from local kids who attend our adventure camps, people with disabilities to elite athletes.”

What do you love about being an ASI SUP instructor?

“I like being part of the ASI team because of how organised and progressive they are. As they are a world-wide organisation, I find it great to see where new job opportunities are popping up. They are also very helpful for things like legislation and insurance and where to get the best advice.”

How has COVID and related restrictions changed how you operate?

“Covid has really put a halt to things for us. We have a backlog of courses to run for new instructors, as well as just being at complete standstill now. It is not all bad and we have to look at the positives; at least there is a new demand for people to get out in the outdoors and lots more are trying sports like SUP due to Covid.”

Can you tell us about any memorable or positive stories that have happened whilst instructing?

“We have one qualified SUP instructor who started in our adventure camps and hung around assisting for a number of summers and  holidays. We also now have two more summer camp attendees who will follow that line to graduate from being young adventurers messing around for the summer to taking a leadership role and teaching the new line of young adventurers in our town by becoming instructors under the ASI.”

Thanks so much for taking the time to give us some insight into your paddling life and recent experiences, Jarlath. We wish you all the positivity in the world as you paddle into 2021, hopefully, COVID free!

If you fancy becoming an ASI SUP instructor like Jarlath then click here to find out how to get started and make your dream job a reality!


ASI is a professional membership and training organisation and international governing body for instructors, coaches and schools in the outdoor recreation industry for surfing, stand up paddle and bodyboarding.

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