ASLS™ Course – F.A.Q.


Frequently Asked Questions about the ASLS™ Course

What is the ASLS™ course about?
ASLS Course 2017 - Flyer 01s

The Advanced Surf Life Support™ (ASLS™) course is the first and most advanced course of its kind. The ASLS format has been custom-made to prepare and train health professionals in acute surfing medicine, to learn and master basic aquatic life saving rescue techniques, and wilderness medicine at remote surf locations, and to learn and master basic aquatic life saving rescue techniques.

Who can take an ASLS course?”

The ASLS certification is appropriate for any licensed medical professional who has an interest in surfing and water activities (MD, PhD, OD, PA, NP, RN, Paramedic, EMT, etc.). Medical professionals in training can take the ASLS depending on their stage of training. Our graduates include surfing enthusiasts, ship and expedition doctors, physiotherapists of national teams, medical personal from pro surf events, big wave surfers and other water sport professionals, among others.

Why take an ASLS course?”

In addition to earning CME credits and an Advanced Surf Life Support certification, will provide you with skills, tools and knowledge to handle medical care in beach and surf settings where help may not be readily available. And it is also a lot of fun!

What will be taught at the ASLS™ course?

The EASD ASLS™ Course features a wide array of topics with drowning and hypothermia, rescuing techniques, theory about waves, tides & rips, outdoor scene safety and patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment of wounds, marine envenomation, and musculoskeletal injuries among others. The participants get practical training by experienced surfing doctors, wilderness medics, drowning specialists and professional surf lifeguarding instructors. They will teach the ASLS™ students how to work with proper medical kits, splint injured extremities, and rescue victims in open water.

How long does the ASLS certification last?”

You will receive an ASLS certification after your participation in and completion of the course including the successful passing of the written and practical exams. The ASLS certification lasts for 4 years from the completion of your course.

How do I get re-certified?

Due to the changing nature of Surfing Medicine  and the relatively short time frame of our course, we do not offer a re-certification course. Instead after four years you must retake the ASLS course a in order to keep your certification. Of course you will be eligible to receive further CME credits then.

Will we surf?

The ASLS™ course programme takes account of our mutual passions: medicine and surfing! While we sure can not control the swell and weather conditions itself, the schedule should leave enough time for a daily surf-session.

Do you give surf lessons?

No! The ASLS™ course is not teaching you how to surf, it is about surfing medicine! You sure will learn some things for your surfing, but we do not give no dedicated surfing lessons. Also, when applying for the ASLS course you should bring some surf experience. This does not mean you should be a super surf crack, however bloody beginners barely able to standup on a surfboard sure will be overwhelmed by the course’s water exposure.

Do you provide surfboards?

Yes & No – We do provide surfboards for life guarding training, scenarios etc. But we do NOT provide surfboards for surf sessions before/after the course day. However you can rent equipement in Ericeira, with one of our local contacts.

Do you provide wetsuits?

No. However you can rent equipement in Ericeira, with one of our local contacts.
Why don’t we provide wetsuits? We expect anyone taking the ASLS™ course already should have been around in the water for a while. Anyone surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, or alike should have her/his own wetsuit anyway. Bring it along!

I am a kiteboarder/windsurfer. Is this a problem?”

Not at all. On which board you use to ride on the water is secondary. However, to attend the ASLS™ course you should feel comfortable in the water – with and without board. We will do quite some swim and rescue training during the course, also in breaking waves. You don’t need to be on swimming competition level, just feel comfortable in the liquid element!

How should I prepare for the course?

In order to get ready for the ASLS™ course all registrants will receive a preparation manual prior to the course in sufficient time. As to your physical preparation and recommended fitness level please see the next question

How fit do I need to be before the course?

The surf rescue training will be incredibly fun but also physically demanding. So you need to be in shape before the start of the course. The fitter you are, the more fun you will have while learning the rescue skills and saving people in the scenarios. Ask yourself:

  • Am I able to paddle 20 minutes on a surfboard?
  • Am I able to paddle 100 meters in 1 minute on a surfboard?
  • Am I able to swim 50 meters in 1 minute?
  • Am I able to swim 20 minutes at moderate speed?
  • Am I able to thread water for 10 minutes continuously?

If you can answer all these questions with ‘Yes!’, you are definitely already in a great shape and ready for the course! If not, don’t worry! There is still plenty of time to get in shape. Last year everyone reached their goal in time. You will do it, too!

How do I become an instructor?”

ASLS alumni or seasoned Surfing Medicine professionals are encouraged to apply. We will explain you the pathway in person. One thing said in advance: it is a very rewarding, sometime challenging but always satisfying and fun job!

How do I host or license a course in my area?”

If you have a great facility and passion for Surfing Medicine we invite you to think about hosting a licensed course. Please get in contact with us and we will let you know all the details:


Is there a time-table?

Yes, of course there is a course programme providing day-to-day information. With plenty of activities in the water and on the beach we do need swell for several exercises but also we do not want do endanger anyone by massive waves or rips. With a course like the ASLS™ we do have to adopt the timetable to these external conditions. For this reason the course schedule is not yet available for download, however it will be handed to all registered participants in sufficient time.

I plan to arrive a day later / depart a day earlier. Will I get the certificate?

In order to receive the Advanced Surfing Medicine Life Support course certificate participants need to attend the complete course and pass the written and practical exams, which will be held on the last course day. Anyone being absent during the course or not passing the exams will get a printed “proof of attendance” instead of the full course certificate.

Is Saturday the last course day for departure only?

Saturday has a full schedule and as such part of the course. On this last day of the course the written and practical exams will be held. For more on this please see question above.

Is Sunday arrivals day only?

On Sunday, 21st of May 2017 you will have sufficient day to arrive, do the on-site registration, get the keys to your lovely crafted cottage, etc. Just make sure to arrive before 15:30 on sunday. In the evening there will be a welcome dinner for all participants, the course team, the instructors to get together and with first easy-to-digest presentations.

What if I can not attend the course? Do you offer refund?

Since we all know the pitfalls of working in the medical business, we sure understand anyone getting into the situation of cancellation.

Of course anyone can cancel her/his reservation at any time. As we usually already have some people on the waiting list, your place being assigned to someone else will make her/him happy. In that case that your place will be inherited by someone on the waiting list, as soon as she/he paid we will refund you 100% of the course fee.

However, if your course place can not be assigned to someone, our refund policy can be found in the ASLS course’s Terms & Conditions – (

Can I bring my wife/family to the course?

While we would love to get to know your wife/family, the course program will be quite packed. From the past year’s we have learned that ASLS™ course + surf + family might get pretty ‘intense’. Also, the available space on the venue & locations is perfectly fitted to the participants + instructors + ASLS™ team leaving few to none space for extra guests. However, if you still wish to bring your beloved ones along, we sure could arrange something. Let us know.

I heard there is a closing party… !?”

Yes. After a week of hard training, lectures and the exams, we all deserve some more surf time together and a closing celebration. As this party will be on the evening after the exams, please arrange your flights accordingly so we all have your big smile around on the closing night.


For any questions, comments, or concerns you may have in regard to the ASLS™ Course please do not hesitate to email us: 

By registering for the ASLS course you accept the ASLS Course – Terms & Conditions.


Please note: Please note that the last ASLS course were fully booked 5 months prior to the course’s start – so it advisable to book early. Secure yourself on of the remaining places now and head to the registration: ASLS REGISTRATION


Dive into the unforgettable magic of previous ASLS™ courses with the videos of 2013 & 2014:

ASLS Course 2014:

ASLS Course 2013: