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Paddling with Kids [ When to Start & Best Gear Choices ]

Paddle boarding is a great way to spend time with your kids. But as a concerned parent, it is obvious for you to wonder, at what age can you paddle board? This topic can easily be the subject of a debate since people seem to have different opinions on it. Therefore, it is natural to feel lost. But don’t worry too much, as you’ll find the answer in no time!

A child, who is 5-6 years old can participate in paddle boarding without much difficulty. Even so, you must always remember, that not every child has the same pace. So, some may take even longer, and as a parent or supervisor, you have to give them that space to grow. Every time they are in the water, they should have a leash, life jacket, and safety whistle with them.

Apart from their age, you also have to consider some other very important aspects to keep the kids safe and secure while paddle boarding. Keep reading the article to find out what they are, and how you can follow them properly. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it. 

Must-Follow Guidelines Before Paddle Boarding With Kids 

It’s always best to follow safety protocols for every activity. When it comes to kids and water, one just has to be extra careful. There are countless cases where a little negligence caused a great deal of damage.

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So, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here are some safety guidelines so you can make sure you have a fun and safe paddleboarding session.

Make Sure The Kids Know How To Swim 

The first and most important thing is, you must make sure the kids know how to swim. Paddleboarding can be dangerous even in flat waters. Despite having supervisors around them the entire time, it is still prudent to introduce them to swimming. It will serve a safety role since no one can predict when accidents may occur.

It is normal for kids to feel uneasy and frightened at first. Knowing how to swim would help with that issue immensely. When you think about it, this step can promote a sense of safety and confidence in them.

Plus, you, on the other hand, would also have an easier and less stressful time teaching them paddleboarding. 

Strict Supervision Is Needed

The second thing is ensuring strict supervision. No matter how good the kids are at swimming or paddleboarding, it is still important to keep an eye on them when they are in the water.

In any event, don’t make them feel like they’re confined. Give them the freedom to explore and learn. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t end up drowning or breaking the board. 

So, the idea here is to let the kids have fun while they are taking charge of their actions with the board. Younger kids learn better when they have a sense of independence.

They tend to practice what they see from the elders. Hence, it is important as a parent or supervisor to give them that opportunity. They will surprise you with how quickly they pick things up. 

Consider Weather Conditions 

The third aspect is to be aware of the weather conditions of the area where you plan to paddleboard. It’s wise to keep checking the updates for at least 2 days before the trip.

Whether it’s just a light rain or a thunderstorm, it can become extremely dangerous when you are in the water. A high number of these incidents result in unfortunate outcomes.

In addition, there can be poisonous plants in or around the area you are visiting, so it is important to look for them as well. Having a good idea about the place for possible danger would be advantageous.

It is guaranteed that you will have a more comfortable boarding experience once you know everything about your destination.

How To Teach Your Children To Paddle Board? Step By Step Guide 

Studies show paddleboarding has amazing benefits for our bodies. It is not only a fun sport, but it is also a great way to improve one’s health. But, is paddleboarding easy for kids?

No, it definitely is not. Paddleboarding requires you to refine many of your motor skills to get the hang of controlling the board and your body which is typically very challenging for most small kids. 

Hence when you take your kids with you, be sure you are keeping that in mind. This is a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can make the experience enjoyable for them so they won’t be scared of paddleboarding. 

Step One: Understand Their Abilities

Maybe you are a person who loves to paddleboard for hours and that is why you want your kids to love this sport too. In cases like this, you have to set your expectations low, since the kids may not love it right away. You need to be patient with them so they can understand what paddleboarding is all about. 

There is a possibility that the kids will be bored in half an hour. You can’t get mad at them for it, however. The first few times will be problematic, but the moment they learn how to paddleboard properly, it will change the game entirely.

Hence, it is necessary to give them the freedom to choose when they want to be on the water.

Step Two: Choose Easy Locations

As you probably know, paddleboards can be used in almost all types of water bodies. Whether it’s flat water, a lake, or even the ocean with high waves, these boards can tackle anything.

Experts often choose to go to the sea for more adventure and challenge. But when it comes to kids, it is better to select a less hazardous spot.

Lakes and rivers are comparatively safer than the ocean. These have softer currents, so the kids can learn to balance themselves easily. You can go to the beach too if the waves are not too strong.

Also, make sure the kids are not close to any motorboats, since they can cause accidents or the board can flip. 

Step Three: Small Steps

For the learning process, you must take the steps slowly with children. For example, let the kids sit or kneel while surfing, rather than standing up. This way, they will learn better balance and will have the confidence to take on the next steps, which might seem difficult to do on their first attempt.

If they are not comfortable with paddles yet, let them use their hands to work through the water. They will 100% enjoy this activity and will ask for paddles when they are ready.

So, small steps are crucial and should be the following teaching technique when working with kids. You can also let them float around on the board to get things started.

Step Four: Stand Up and Paddle 

Later on, you can teach them how to stand up on the board once they are completely comfortable with the board and water. Demonstrate how to balance themselves when waves crash on the board.

For instance, where to look, where to put their body weight, or how to hold the paddles properly. 

Also, there is a need to teach them what to do when they lose balance. If they fall, encourage them and have a good laugh together.

The most significant thing is to stay calm in these sorts of conditions because they are just kids, and they will learn things according to their pace and abilities.

Allow them to enjoy the whole experience at first. 

Step Five: Show Them The Proper Techniques

As mentioned, children follow their parents and do their best to mimic their example. You should use this fact to your advantage. This is the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your moves to them, and explain to them what they are.

The children will be tempted to follow the same pattern as you. However, you should be prepared for them to make mistakes as well. 

When they fail, let them know. Explain what you mean rather than being harsh towards their mistakes. Make them understand that falling off the board is okay, and show them the right way to fall.

By doing so, they won’t be injured. Also, teach them other important tips, for instance, how to keep their hands straight while paddling so they don’t strain their arms. 

Step Six: Don’t Force Them

If your kids are not enjoying something, it is wise to listen to them. It’s almost certain that you won’t succeed in getting them to appreciate something if you force them to like it.

So, you should respect their choices and be tactful with your words so they get encouraged to try again even if they fail a hundred times. 

And most importantly, have fun with them. Let them sit on the board aimlessly if they want. Give them the time to rest when it is needed. Hand them snacks and spend some quality time together in the water.

The whole process should be based on whether or not the kids are having a good time, rather than forcing them to learn paddle boarding.

Must-Have Gear When Paddle Boarding with Kids  

Ensuring safety is equally important as teaching the kids proper techniques. This is one of the aspects you should never ignore. Read the list below to find out the essential gear every kid in the water should have. 

Life Jackets 

Even if your kids know how to swim, it’s still necessary that you get them life jackets. Paddleboarding can be quite dangerous at a young age, and hence to avoid drowning, life jackets can be a great help.

There are always risks associated with being on open water. It can be sudden weather changes or an increase in water levels.

The jackets need to be tightly secured so the kids won’t be able to take their jackets off. Plus, even if they fall in the water, it does not get lost.

Do check before you buy these jackets because not all of them have the same floating quality.

Gogo Kids Swim Vest can be a safe option for you to buy, as it has many great features.

Paddles 

The paddles that go with the board are just as important as the board itself. Kids’ paddles however are designed more precisely so they have a comfortable grip.

It is also put together in a way that would not be too heavy for them to lift. Therefore, investing in good children-friendly paddles can help ensure a safe ride.

Super Kids SUP Paddles can be an excellent choice, as they are adjustable. They’re incredibly floaty, and it’s easy to adjust their height.

Nevertheless, they are built strong with an aluminum shaft and nylon blade. Hence, this paddle would not break easily even in the strongest currents. 

SUP Leash

A SUP leash may appear to be something very small and unimportant, but that’s not the case. You would be wrong if you think they have no actual work on the board.

These are extremely vital even for professional surfers. They provide the support you need to stay afloat on the board and keep you close when you fall in the water. 

So, when it comes to kids, you have to make sure their boards have leashes on them. During training, it will keep them near the board if they fall.

You can either buy an ankle leash or even a waist leash as per your preferences. Abahub Premium Leash can serve both purposes because of its length and rope-like shape.

Therefore, you can also tie it around your kids’ waists.

Safety Whistle 

Accidents can happen at any time, anywhere. Taking precautions is the ultimate way to be safe when unprecedented things happen to you.

Therefore, you should carry a safety whistle at all times, and you should give your child one as well. You would likely be provided with one if you are paddleboarding in paddleboard venues.

But in case you choose to go alone in rivers or lakes, it’s wise to keep a whistle with you at all times. It will alert other people about possible accidents, so they can come and rescue whoever needs help.

LuxoGear Emergency Whistle can be an outstanding option. It has a reflective lanyard with clips, so it won’t fall off your neck. 

Safety Kit and Warm Clothing 

It’s a good idea to carry a first aid kit with you when you go paddleboarding with your children. Any medical emergency can occur during the time you are in the water.

Therefore, this can save you from trouble. Keep band-aids, pain killers, and other necessary medications you and your family may need during this time. 

Keeping warm clothes for after-sessions is also a great idea. Provided if you have a long drive home, your kids would appreciate the extra layers at that time.

Plus, it’s a lot safer to change into dry clothes after paddleboarding. In this way, colds and fevers could be prevented.

Choosing The Right Paddle Board Sizes For Kids 

To decide on paddle board sizes for your kids’ paddleboard, you have to calculate a number of things. Those are their height, weight, and arm length. 

Getting the right-sized board is very important because otherwise, it gets difficult to balance. Kids can end up getting hurt too. So, do take time and make sure you are getting them their perfect paddleboard.

Although this is an approximate size calculation, you should still inquire about the boards before purchasing them.

The weight and height of every board will differ, so they may be different from those mentioned here.

However, for the most part, this is the standard calculation. Now, what size is a kids paddleboard? 

In the case of kids under 8 years old and under 30 kg, they can use SUPs that are 4.5-5 feet tall, and 5 inches in thickness. Children who are 9-12 years old and weigh 30-40 kg should choose boards measuring 5.5-6.2 feet. Next, kids who are 14-17 years old should get boards that are 7-8 feet tall, if their body weight is 50-70 kg. 

So, the standard volume of these SUPs is 5 inches, no matter the weight or height of the users. The length of the kids’ arms is important to calculate the paddle’s size. This calculation is easier.

You should get them paddles that are 6 inches longer than their arm, or 10 inches longer than their height. So, if the kid is 5 feet, the paddle should be 5 feet 10 inches tall. 

Conclusion

Paddleboarding with kids can be so much fun, and full of opportunities to bond with them. If you are someone who loves paddle boarding, I’m sure you want to pass on that love to your kids too.

It’s a legitimate concern among parents to determine whether or not their children are old enough for SUPs. 

Hence, I hope this article has helped you to understand what age can you paddleboard and more. Make sure you and your family are safe in the water and take the necessary precautions as needed. Hope to talk to you soon! 

If you are just starting to look into paddleboarding we have a wide selection of guides to help assist you in finding the best option to suit your needs, check them out here!

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Written by Water Diversions

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