Any surf school operating in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve must meet or exceed BCASI guidelines


Surf Schools play an important role in promoting surfing. The idea for BCASI approved surf schools was introduced in 2002 to help the public obtain better value for money and greater safety during surfing instruction. Surf schools operating outside the District of Tofino, Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park (ie: “remote”) are not subject to these regulations as certain area specific regulations may apply. In order to become a BCASI approved surf school, the applicant must satisfy the following criteria:

1. The surf school must have a minimum of $2 million liability insurance (both aggregate and occurrence)

2. Proper equipment in good condition must be provided including the following:

  • a. semi soft surfboards for beginners, preferably with rubber fins
  • b. all surfboards must have leashes
  • c. full wetsuits must be used on all students, common sense must be used in relation to water temp for the addition of gloves and boots for winter.
  • d. coloured rashguards must be worn by all students.
  • e. instructors must wear a different colour of rashguard than students and be clearly marked with “instructor”

3. Instructor:student ratio of 1:5 or better must be standard practice. Assistant Instructors will be counted as and instructor. It is recommended that all surf schools have a 1:4 Instructor:student ratio or better for kids under age 12

4. All instructors must be BCASI level accredited Instructors, Assistant Instructors must be supervised by an accredited Level 1 Instructor

5. Instructors must have a First Aid Kit that includes a means of communication such as a VHF radio, cell phone or walkie talkie with them during lessons. First Aid kits must contain the supplies required by WorkSafe BC for level 1 Occupational first aid (see Appendix A of full manual)

6. All surf schools must register and submit their Instructor List (including qualifications) by June 1st each year. Updates should be submitted when necessary

7. All approved surf schools must follow the BCASI approved Emergency Action Plan and fill out Incident Report Forms for all incidents occurring during lessons.

8. All member surf schools must adhere to the BCASI Emergency Action Plan in case of an emergency during a lesson. See full manual for details

9. All member surf schools must follow the BCASI Code of Conduct


Fun, safety, passion and innovation are values the BCASI promotes.

As an organization representing the surfing industry, the BCASI also promotes the stewardship of the beach environment by encouraging its members to minimize their impact as much as possible.  This means not leaving behind any garbage or other items after surfing or lessons, and participating in regular beach clean-ups. Surf school members will also encourage students to carpool to the beach.



Formed in 2002, the British Columbia Association of Surf Instructors is the non-profit governing body for surfing instruction in British Columbia. The mandate of BCASI is to train and certify surfing instructors and coaches thereby ensuring that a high standard of safe and efficient instruction is maintained. In doing so, the BCASI hopes to foster surfing etiquette and safety in the water.

Certification under the BCASI means you and your surf school adhere to the highest safety and professional standards that exist in the Canadian surfing industry.

As the popularity of the sport of surfing in Canada grows rapidly and the surf industry continues to expand, the BCASI welcomes new membership.

The BCASI’s aim is to promote, encourage, and develop the sport of surfing in B.C.


To promote the surfing industry in B.C. by developing safety standards for surf instruction, create relevant certification programs for surf instructors and implement an instructor certification process.


Inspiring life-long passion for the surfing experience by offering quality instruction and training.



  • To provide training, education, and certification for British Columbia’s surf instructors. 
  • To promote awareness of ocean hazards and safety to the general public. 
  • To maintain high standardization criteria. 
  • To provide employment for Canadians as instructors of surfing.
  • To safeguard the surfing industry, schools, instructors, students and environment. 



The BCASI encourages all its members to maintain a code of ethics. Businesses and individuals who accept a BCASI membership are agreeing to the following points:

  • I will act honestly, responsibly and with integrity
  • I will encourage the safety of my students and the public at all times
  • I will teach diligently and with respect 
  • I will not become involved with activities that could harm the reputation of my employer or the BCASI
  • I will keep my training and certifications up to date



All members, individual, surfing and business, must adhere to the following:

  • You must be able to swim at least 50 meters in open water.
  • You must keep surfing equipment in good condition. 
  • Always wear a leash to prevent you from losing your surfboard.
  • Have consideration for other water users such a s kayakers and fishers.
  • If you are new to the sport, never rent a surfboard without first having a lesson from a BCASI certified instructor. 
  • When paddling out, avoid surfers who are riding waves. 
  • Do not drop in on another surfer. Whoever is up and riding closest to the critical section (the “peak”) of the wave has priority. 
  • Be environmentally friendly. Always leave the beach and other areas as you wish to find them. 


View BCASI complete manual here.