BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding

BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding Award

Swimsuit / swim trunks emblem – The BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding patch is NOT worn on the uniform or the sash; it is worn on the left side of the swimsuit / swim trunks

The BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding award introduces Scouts to the basics of stand up paddleboarding (SUP) on calm water. They’ll learn about the necessary skills, equipment, self-rescue, and safety precautions. This award also encourages Scouts to develop paddling skills that promote fitness and safe aquatics recreation.

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) originated as an offshoot of surfing. It is still used in the surf and has expanded into whitewater. Stand Up Paddleboarding in the surf or whitewater requires skills beyond those covered in the BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding award. Such skills are best acquired from qualified instruction.

The U.S. Coast Guard considers stand up paddleboards as vessels when they are used outside of designated swim areas or ocean surfing zones. Therefore, federal regulations concerning life jackets, sound devices, and lights apply

BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding Award

Any person approved by the council, who is trained in *BSA Safety Afloat* and recognized as a SUP instructor by the ACA | Canoe – Kayak – SUP – Raft – Rescue or equivalent organization may serve as a counselor for this award. An ACA Level 1 or Level 2 Stand Up Paddleboarding Assessment Course or ACA Instructor certification is strongly recommended.

There should be one qualified counselor for every six Scouts. Ratios of youth to adults must also meet the BSA Youth Protection policies. Everyone must be monitored by a buddy, including the instructor. The instructor’s buddy may serve as an assistant on the water or as a lookout on land if the instruction is close enough to shore for easy verbal communication. The instructor’s buddy must know enough to realize when the instructor is having difficultly rather than demonstrating a fall.

Upon successful completion, participants earn the BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding patch along with their achievment card.  Completion indiciates the individual has experieneced a valuable introduction to stand up paddleboarding.

BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding Achievement Card

BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding Requirements

The BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding award and patch is available to any youth or adult who is registered with a troop, ship, or crew and completes the requirements as follows:


Review the BSA Safety Afloat policy. Explain to your instructor how this applies to stand up paddleboarding.


Before fulfilling other requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test: Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth, level off, and begin swimming. Swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be completed in one swim without stops and must include one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.


Explain safety considerations for stand up paddleboarding in the following environments: lake, moving water, whitewater, open ocean, ocean surf.


Review the characteristics of life jackets most appropriate for stand up paddleboarding and understand why one must always be worn while paddling. Then demonstrate how to select and fit a life jacket for stand up paddleboarding.


Describe the correct type of leash to wear in the appropriate water venues.


Name and point out:


The major parts of a stand up paddleboard


The parts of a paddle for stand up paddleboarding




The different types of stand up paddleboards


How to correctly size and hold a paddle for stand up paddleboarding


Using a properly outfitted stand up paddleboard, demonstrate the following:


How to safely carry a stand up paddleboard


How to safely paddle away from a dock or shoreline (on knees)


How to stand and balance on a board in the neutral position


How to appropriately fall off a board


How to remount the board


Forward stroke


Back stroke


Forward sweep


Reverse sweep


Draw stroke


One self-rescue technique – lay on your stomach and paddle with your hands


With supervision from your instructor, paddle a course that involves:


A straight line for 25 yards and stop within one board length


A figure 8


Moving abeam to the right 10 feet and to the left 10 feet

Aquatics Supervision – Leader's Guide

BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding Requirements Brochure

BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding Information and Award Application

Additional references can be found at and