Top Tips For Paddleboarding With Kids
Posted by Alex Clasper
If you are taking children out on the water, there will be a few more things to consider than normal, but letting kids have a go on a SUP is a fantastic way to build their confidence in and around water and have loads of fun as a family in the process! Make sure that you take the time to plan ahead to get the most out of your trip by following these top tips for paddleboarding with kids.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Cast your mind back to when you first tried paddleboarding. There were probably a few wobbles, lots of time sitting down to familiarise yourself, and a couple of big splashes when you inevitably fell in! The same will most likely happen when you first go paddleboarding with your kids, but this is all part of the fun and is something that should be celebrated, as if your not getting wet, you’re not trying hard enough! To keep them at ease you can get them to play around on the board on land first so they can practice standing up, where to put their feet and how to turn.
While the main goal of paddleboarding with kids is always to have fun, it’s important to establish a couple of rules before you begin venturing out. Make sure they are confident in the water and are able to get themselves back on the board. Take a look at your surroundings and agree on how far away your children are allowed to go. Have a frank conversation about what could happen in an emergency, talk them through what to do if they get into difficulty, and choose a meeting point back on shore should you need one. We would recommend you go out with them on the front of your board for the first few voyages so they can get confident on board and what to do to stay safe, our 10’8” Ride MSL is a fantastic board for this.
Use The Right Paddleboards
When paddleboarding with kids, it’s vital that you choose the right-sized paddleboard. A board that is too small will make it much harder to balance and a board that is too big will make it harder for children to get any power in their strokes or turn the board around. Letting kids explore on their own paddle board is a really great way of building their confidence. The Red Kids Snapper Board comes complete with everything your child needs to feel a real sense of ownership and feel stable as they build up to gliding across the water.
You should always promote and follow proper safety precautions when paddleboarding with kids. There’s a high probability that someone in the group will fall into the water at some point, so instil good habits by making sure that your children are wearing a correctly fitting SUP buoyancy aid. Remind them to communicate with you if they don’t feel comfortable at any point during your trip on the water and talk to them about the importance of only paddling when the conditions are available. Remember sun cream and some water to stay hydrated, and then concentrate on having a good time!
Be Patient And Encouraging
Kids tend to get frustrated a little more quickly than us adults, so remember to be patient if they don’t pick it up straight away or their progress isn’t linear. A little encouragement goes a long way if your children are struggling to maintain their balance, so stay calm and remember to praise them so that they feel good about themselves.
Plan The Right Route
Take the time to plan a route somewhere where it will be safe and gentle for kids to paddle. Avoid the ocean to start with until kids are comfortable balancing and can deal with waves and opt for somewhere flatter like a lake where they can get familiar with their board in flat conditions. Rivers can seem like a gentle place to go but do factor in the current. Go upstream on the way out and downstream on your way back and don’t forget to check what the wind will be like.
Play Some Games
Finally, don’t forget to make your paddleboarding adventure fun for kids! Games are a great way to keep the attention of your children once they have developed basic paddling techniques. You could have a race, play catch, and even try and run across your boards without falling in. If you let kids be creative and come up with their own ideas for play, they’re bound to have a great time.