instructors teaching children on an ISA educational course ©Surfing Federation of India

More than 1,500 instructors at 150 educational courses across 35 countries have been certified by the International Surfing Association (ISA) as they continue their attempt to drive the global development of the sport.

The ISA Coaching and Instructing Programme aims to develop the skills, knowledge and abilities of individuals who wish to take a scientific approach to the coaching of surfing and stand-up paddle disciplines.

Risk management, duty of care and water safety are major areas of focus in order to ensure a safer environment to learn the sport.

Non-traditional markets have been prioritised, with Russia and China among countries in which course have been held alongside more traditional markets like the US and Indonesia.

Two hundred courses across 40 countries are all ready underway or planned for 2016 with a target of certifying a further 2,000 instructors.

Overall, more than 5,000 instructors have been certified by the ISA.

It comes as surfing continues to focus on inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©ISA
It comes as surfing continues to focus on inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©ISA

“ISA Educational Courses are an integral part of the growth and development of Surfing globally and it’s fantastic to see the interest and enthusiasm shown in our hugely successful programme," said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

"It’s vital that we have an industry wide standard course that allows instructors and coaches to develop their skills and knowledge.

“Surfing is a lifestyle sport, imbued with youthful values and practiced by 35 million people worldwide.

"Many people choose to surf recreationally for fun but is also important that we have in place a structured grassroots programme that allows the millions of young surfers around the world to develop their skills with the help of official surfing instructors.

"We’re looking forward to running many more courses in the near future.”

This comes after surfing - along with baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing - was proposed for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by Japanese organisers last year.

A final decision will be made by the IOC at its Session in Rio de Janeiro ahead of this year's Olympic Games.