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How much do kitesurfing instructors earn?

Before setting out to get certified as an instructor, you might want to know how much money you will make.

There are multiple factors that will affect your income. The biggest will be to find a school that has plenty of students, and is at a location with reliable weather and wind. Both of these are required to ensure that you can teach a reasonable number of hours every day. Some schools might offer a fixed salary, but if they don’t have sufficient bookings or the weather does not allow for lessons every day, the salary will reflect this.

Most schools will offer you some perks (accommodation, meals, travel) and between 15 - 35% of whatever they charge for the lessons you do. The other share of the lesson fees go to the school because they provide the students, equipment, facilities and insurance. If you bring new students to the school and generate lessons on your own, most schools will pay you a higher commission for these lessons, up to 50%.

Depending on the school’s rate and how many students you teach at the same time, you can expect to earn between US$ 40 to US$ 100 per 2 hours of teaching you do. For example if the school charges for a 2-hour two-to-share lesson US$ 300, your pay will be US$ 90 for 2 hours. Similarly, if a 2-hour individual lesson is US$ 200, your pay will be US$ 60.

Realistically, in a well-booked school, you will probably not have to teach more than two 2-hour courses a day. This means you could earn US$ 180 on a good day. However, if there are is a lack of students (e.g.when it is no longer tourist season at the location), or the weather is not on your side during some parts of the year, you might have to find a second job. Some schools offer a minimum pay or pay guarantee (e.g. guaranteed 4 hours work on 4 days a week).

Therefore, when applying for jobs as kitesurfing instructor, it is always important to check whether you will be working freelance (paid only for exactly the hours you teach) straight salaried or for a low salary with commission on lessons you teach.

A typical scenario for a fixed salary agreement for a level 1 instructor could be: $1200 per month plus flights, accommodation, breakfast and lunch.

Even if you work as freelancer or for a low salary with commission, some companies will still help you with expenses such as flights, if you stay with them for the whole season, or provide accommodation free of charge or at a low rate. And don’t forget that you can negotiate for free use of the equipment.

Of course the pay depends on experience and other task that you may have to take on, such as equipment repair and maintenance, customer hospitality, web-marketing, sales and any other jobs that come up in a kitesurf school.

What should definitely be included in your contract is a liability insurance. If something happens to your students during your course, you should not have to take any responsibility yourself. Make sure that the school provides this and that you sign a document declaring that you are covered by the school’s insurance policy before you start your job.

Another factor to consider is the relative value of your earnings. Many of the best kitesurfing spots are in developing countries where cost of living is very low, and a basic salary will afford you a decent standard of living.

If you believe you can earn more money by working independently, without affiliation to a school, you will need to ensure that you have all the locally required permits and most importantly a comprehensive liability Insurance.

Teaching kitesurfing is not about making money. It is a lifestyle choice. You can earn between US$ 1,000 to over US$ 2,000 per month and live a life in relative comfort in low cost locations, For more information on this, see the article "Life as a kitesurf instructor".

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