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.
Planned ITC dates for New Zealand
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.
ITC 4th to 8th December 2017$1300
ITC 26th February to 2nd March 2018$1300
ITC fee also includes online courses, printed instructor manual, IKO handbook and a year's instructor registration.
IKO Assistant Instructor Training Courses (AITC)
You need to complete an IKO assistant instructor course (AITC) before coming on an ITC to give you a good foundation for the instructor course. We usually plan the AITC over the four days prior to an ITC and use the best three, giving one day off. Planned dates are outlined below but other AITC dates can be arranged to suit you in advance of your ITC if you prefer.
From 2017, the AITC is replaced by the AITC plus which is five days long.
AITC Plus 27th November to 1st December 2017$650
AITC PLUS 18th to 23rd February 2018$650
The international kitesurf 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 of jumping and grab, 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 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 AITC requires you to shadow a qualified IKO Level 2 instructor for 10 hours of live teaching plus one day of theory. We run the AITC over three days and timings are flexible depending on tide times and conditions each day. If it's in conjunction with an ITC, we choose the best three days out of the four leading up to the ITC. This makes it more likely that we can complete a good AITC and gives everyone a break between the two courses.
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 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 $60 per person.
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!”