Become an IKO instructor
Qualify as an international kitesurf instructor on one of Airzone Kitesurf School's IKO kiteboarding instructor courses and travel the world doing something you love. Become an IKO kiteboard instructor to earn additional income, fund your travels or gap year, or completely change your lifestyle. The International Kiteboarding Organisation qualification is exactly what it says in the name - international - it's recognised worldwide.
IKO Kitesurf Instructor Training Courses (ITC)
The IKO Instructor qualification is truly international, recognized across the world. With jobs for Level 1 instructors at amazing locations throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, the US, Bahamas, Caribbean and more, it really does open up some great opportunities.
The ITC course itself is for experienced kite surfers (see the list prerequisites below). But if you are not at that level, and even if you have never flown a kite before, you can come on a fast track kitesurf instructor course with us in New Zealand to learn to kitesurf and qualify as an IKO instructor. We will take you from absolute beginner to IKO instructor in twelve weeks, or less if you already have some experience.
ITCs are planned throughout the UK season and current dates are listed below. Because we have our own IKO Examiner in house we can sometimes set up courses to suit specific dates or for groups who want to do the course together. Just let us know if you have any dates in mind.
IKO Assistant Training Course (ATC) dates
3rd to 7th July 2023 £315*
4th to 8th Sept 2023 £315*
* plus US$169 registration fee paid direct to the IKO, which gives one year's IKO pro membership and immediate access to online learning.
Instructor Training Course (ITC) dates
10th to 14th July 2023 £510*
11th to 15th Sept 2023 £510*
* plus US$299 registration fee paid direct to the IKO, which includes one year's recreational and professional insurance cover.
Instructor Equivalency Course (IEC)
If you already have a kitesurf instructor qualification from another recognised training body, such as the BKSA, or if your IKO qualification has lapsed, you can enter straight onto an IKO ITC and pay a smaller IEC fee of £375 (plus IKO registration fee of US$249, which includes one year's IKO pro membership and personal and professional insurance), or attend a 3 day IEC subject to availability.
SPECIAL PRICE for ATC and ITC TOGETHER £775 plus IKO fees.
The international kiteboarding instructor qualification
You are aiming to become a Level 1 IKO instructor by the end of your ITC. This qualification enables you to teach straightaway around the globe. So you can apply for jobs at kitesurf schools worldwide, or start teaching by yourself. As a Level 1 instructor you can teach two students with one kite.
The next milestone is to progress to a Level 2 instructor. You can achieve this by teaching a total of 160 hours to between 20 and 30 students as a Level 1 instructor, and passing an online exam. As a Level 2 instructor you can to set up an IKO kiteboarding school or become a head instructor within an existing school. You will also be more attractive to employers at kitesurf schools who often want Level 2 instructors to guarantee a level of experience.
You need to have certain levels of experience and some other qualifications before you can come on an (IKO) Kitesurf Instructor Training Course (ITC). The IKO currently requires that you must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be a certified IKO kiteboarder Level 3N with the ability to jump transition, jump with grab, ride toe side upwind, perform a board recovery in deep water and rider recovery while body dragging, do a self-rescue in deep water, and self-launch and landing (evaluated during ITC).
- Have an IKO Assistant Instructor certification - see above.
- Have a valid first aid and CPR certificate or complete it before the ITC.
- Complete the online Pre-ITC Course.
- Be able to read, write and speak fluently in the language the course is given.
- Sign the IKO waiver form.
The ITC is five days, each day starting at 9.30am and finishing around 5pm. Timings are a little flexible depending on weather, numbers on the course and progress. You will have additional homework and preparation most days. The first two days will be spent mostly in the classroom, though we do try and get outside everyday so cabin fever doesn’t kick in.
You will undertake a riding assessment and boat session during the course, with timings dependant on wind and conditions. We then have live teaching practice on day four and five with real beginner students.
Practical assessment is ongoing throughout the course. You will need to make a presentation to the group and there will be an examination on the last day. Individual feedback happens on the last day in the afternoon.
Our approach is very much about support, helping you to become a good instructor, not just testing you on what you already know.
What to bring
- Your own gear to go riding with – kite and board, etc
- Full warm wetsuit – it gets chilly standing around in the water teaching
- Helmet and buoyancy aid if you have them (you will need them when you are an instructor, but can borrow some of ours if you do not have them)
- Writing materials
- A valid first aid certificate unless undertaking a course with us
- An Assistant Instructor qualification unless taking the AITC with us
If you do not have all the kit yourself, or cannot bring it due to travel restrictions, you can borrow/hire our equipment for the elements of the course where it is required. Please let us know before the course.
The course will be at our base in Fareham Hampshire, between Portsmouth and Southampton. The beach location is at Hill Head. There is free parking at the school and at the beach location. We get great wind here, so you might get a chance to get out and let off some steam too!
We are based at Hill Head/Titchfield half way between Portsmouth and Southampton, easily accessible by road - M27/M3 and A3 are all close. We are 20 mins away from Southampton Airport and train station, 30 minutes from Portsmouth or Southampton ferry ports and 10 minutes from Fareham train station.
We have accommodation available on site from £35 per head. We run the course in the communal area during the day, and then you share it with the other guys on the course the rest of the time. You have full use of the kitchen, so can save some money on catering, or there are lots of cafes, restaurants and pubs nearby, plus takeaway delivery services if you want to spend all your spare time studying (or kiting)! We have a double room available for £60 a night or a spot in the bunk room for £35 a night. You can see what it looks like here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/8624306.
Passing the course
On completion of the five-day ITC, and any supporting courses needed, you should have covered all elements required to become a qualified Level 1 IKO instructor. We hope that you qualify at the end of the course, but if you don’t we will map out a way forward for you to achieve L1 qualification. If there has not been enough wind to compete your live teaching, or you are weak in any area you may be required to complete some additional training, or a personal action plan before you are signed off as an IKO instructor. It is extremely rare for anyone to fail without a way forward to qualify.
We can't guarantee that you pass the IKO course - that depends on you. Though we work with you to help you in every way we can. Our aim is to produce good instructors, and for you to get the most out of your instructor course. All previous students have either passed the course, or have completed some extra tasks required following the course to become instructors. All are now fully signed off and teaching around the world.
Some previous students - how becoming a kitesurf instructor changed their lives:
Ben Mugford – Career change
Ben was a senior buyer for a defence and technology company. He’d had enough of sitting at a desk in a job he didn’t enjoy. Remembering how much he enjoyed windsurfing and travelling during a gap year, Ben realised he had a choice and could make a change in his life to get away from that desk. Ben said “Many people don’t like their jobs, but don’t think they can do anything about it. I felt I was cheating myself by not doing anything, so I booked onto Airzones IKO kitesurf instructor course. I had a great time, and now have a new passion in my life!”
Ben and his girlfriend, Janet, who also attended the course have given up their jobs, and are now managing a kitesurfing school in Melbourne, Australia. They plan to set up their own school in Fiji or the Caribbean in the future.
“I’ll never regret making the changes to my life”, says Ben.
Ellie Stimpson – Gap year
Ellie had just finished college, and wanted to fund her gap year before going to university. Having completed a three day course with us the year before, Ellie decided she loved kitesurfing, and becoming an instructor could be the perfect way to help finance her trip and future travels. After some frustration trying to practice in the UK with the wrong conditions Ellie joined our instructor course in February and March in New Zealand. “It was great being able to kitesurf every day”.
After completing the course Ellie travelled around New Zealand, then over to a kitesurfing job in Australia. After a quick stop back home it was off to Asia for some more travelling and kitesurfing before returning to the UK and university in York.
“Now all my holidays while at uni can be funded by kitesurfing instruction, and if not, I can just have fun kitesurfing!”