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Become an IKO Instructor

Qualify as an international kitesurf instructor on one of Airzone Kitesurf School's IKO kitesurf instructor courses in New Zealand and travel the world doing something you love. Become an IKO kitesurf instructor and earn additional income, fund your travels or gap year, or completely change your lifestyle. Recognised worldwide, the Airzone Kitesurf School is the only place in NZ offering IKO instructor courses.

IKO Kitesurf Instructor Training Courses (ITC) 

The IKO Instructor qualification is truly international, respected 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. And once you qualify as a Level 2 instructor you can set up your own school anywhere.

The ITC course is for experienced kite surfers (see the list prerequisites below). But even if you have never flown a kite before, you can come on a fast track kitesurf instructor course with us in New Zealand and learn to kitesurf and qualify as an IKO instructor. We will take you from absolute beginner to IKO instructor in twelve weeks.

All IKO Pro course prices now include one year's IKO membership and recreational and professional insurance cover.

Planned ITC dates for New Zealand - updated!

ITCs are planned throughout the NZ season and current dates are listed below. Because we have our own IKO Examiner in house we can also 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.

All courses going ahead!!!!


ITC 5th to 9th December 2022$1485

13th to 17th February 2023$1485

ITC fee also includes online courses and a year's instructor registration and course manuals. 

IKO Assistant Training Courses (ATC) 

You need to complete an IKO Assistant Training Course (ATC) before coming on an ITC to give you a good foundation for the instructor course. The AITC is a five day course, and we usually plan it over the week before the ITC so you can do both courses back to back to gain the full qualification. Planned dates are outlined below but other dates may be available, so let us know if you really can't make any of these.   

ATC 28th November to 2nd December 2022$895

ATC 6th to 10th February 2023$895

Special price for ATC + ITC back to back $2330


The international kitesurf instructor qualification

IKO kitesurf instructor training course

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 kiteboarding schools worldwide, or start teaching by yourself. As a Level 1 kitesurf 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 certain number of hours 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.

ITC prerequisites

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 4 with the ability of jumping with grab, jump transition, toe side riding upwind, board recovery in deep water, rider recovery body dragging, able to make a self-rescue in deep water, self-launching and self-landing (evaluated during ITC).
  • Have a valid first aid and CPR certificate or complete it before the ITC. 
  • Complete the AITC.
  • Be able to read, write and speak fluently in the language the course is given.
  • Sign the IKO waiver form.

Course schedules

kitesurf instructors training at hill head beach

The AITC is five days and covers all the information you need as to have the knowledge to undertake the instructor course, including in depth theory on elements such as weather, wind, tide and location assessment, equipment history and types, kite flight theory, etc. You will also shadow an instructor teaching the full IKO beginner syllabus, so you know how it all works. Then the ITC teaches you how to teach it.

The ITC is also 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, be assessed teaching real students on the last two days, 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. 

kitesurf team pic 320 x 214

Newly qualified IKO instructors team photo

casey kitesurf instructor just passed kiteboarding instructor course

Instructor just graduated

Instructor just graduated

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
  • 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.

Course location

The course will be at our base in Rangiputa on the Karikari Peninsula in the far north of New Zealand. It's an amazing location with loads of wind, flat water and wave beaches, so you might get a chance to get out and let off some steam while you are here!

We offer fully catered accommodation for kitesurf instructors from $70 per person. 

Passing the course 

On completion of the IKO 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 Airzone's 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!”