UK. Introducing ASI SUP instructor John Aldcroft based in Chichester, England. A keen waterman, John took to SUP after looking for a no wind activity.
1. What is your background?
Relevant to paddle boarding I basically had a heavy background in white water kayaking. In my younger days I represented the forces in white water slalom and white-water racing and within this I’ve circumnavigated Anglesey by sea kayak and have kayaked the Zambezi. Both of which I’d love to attempt by paddle board now although the Zambezi might be a tough call.
2. What got you involved in the sport?
I started teaching kitesurfing and needed a no wind activity, paddle boarding was the one that appealed at the time. Plus, I also enjoyed the fact that I could wrap a line around my ankle and catch mackerel and sea bass on occasion whilst paddle boarding. I started doing longer paddle boarding trips and took things from there.
3. Why did you become an ASI instructor?
I became an ASI instructor through a roundabout route really. I decided to revive my kayaking and thought it would be a good idea to do my paddle sport instructor course with the BCU which touched on paddle boarding. I enjoyed that aspect and looked into doing an instructor course specifically within paddle boarding.
A number of people had mentioned ASI. I liked the fact that several people held the ASI in high regard and so I thought I’d go with ASI. I liked the fact that they had paddling fitness tests and have more in-depth knowledge of paddle boarding.
4. What are you doing now?
I’ve just finished a hugely successful season teaching paddle boarding during COVID-19 and I am thinking of taking a break so that I can up my skills in other activities outside of paddle boarding that I’m involved with, namely martial arts and learning wing foiling.
5. What do you like about being an ASI instructor?
I enjoy the pragmatic approach to teaching paddle boarding that the ASI has given me and the reputation that ASI carries with that. My business has benefitted enormously.
6. Has COVID changed what you do? How?
Certainly, but I won’t bore you with that. But suffice to say we are a COVID-19 aware operator and I completed a COVID-19 Awareness for activity instructor's course to adhere to current guidelines.
7. Tell us about funny or interesting or nice situation that has happened to you with instructing?
I can’t give you one in particular but what I can say is that I’ve found instructing people just got easier and easier with the main emphasis being to keep things safe but fun at all times. Within this one thing I do to lighten the session is play "catch the instructor" once I can see the group has a degree of skill to do this with the objective of the students being to touch my stern with their bow whilst I try to avoid them. It usually draws a few laughs as they must be standing to do this and I have to jump in the water if they do touch my stern, with student concentration levels going through the roof as they attempt this.
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