Paddleboarding works many muscles and improves one’s balance as well. Your kids have been begging you to go paddle boarding lately, but you wonder if they’re too young. What’s the right age for this activity?
Children between the ages of five and six years (and older) are most ready for the rigors of paddle boarding. Kids below that age can still go paddle boarding but will need parental supervision.
In this article, I’ll talk more about the right age for kids to start paddle boarding as well as offer safety tips and advice on selecting a child’s first paddleboard. You won’t want to miss it!
What Age Can Kids Start Paddle Boarding?
The best age for a child to start paddle boarding is five years old, as mentioned in the intro. If your kid is below that age, you must accompany them on the board.
By the time a child is eight years old, they might be itching for more independence when paddle boarding. However, every kid goes at their own pace, so your child might be older or even younger before they’re ready for independence.
Here are some factors you can use to determine when kids should start paddle boarding.
Can your child swim skillfully? Are they natural water babies?
Swimming is an important part of paddle boarding, as your child will slip and fall off their board all the time (especially in the beginning!).
Your kid needn’t be an Olympic swimmer, but they should know how to resurface and swim without panicking. They should be able to do more than pace water as well.
Adherence to Instructions
The safety of your child when paddle boarding greatly depends on their ability to follow instructions.
If your child is easily distracted or doesn’t want to take instructions from adults, then maybe now isn’t the best time for paddle boarding.
How to Teach Your Kid to Paddle Board ( A Step-by-Step Guide)
Are you ready to experience the fun that is paddle boarding with your child? Here are some steps that will make the transition easy and almost seamless.
1. Make Sure Your Child Is Comfortable
Your child cannot possibly learn how to paddle board unless they’re comfortable with balancing themselves. They should also be comfortable being in the water. They have to get used to falling too because as I said before, it will happen a lot!
Allow your child to practice falling and get back up on the board by themselves. Nothing takes the fear out of falling than doing it intentionally, after all!
2. Practice on Dry Land
If your child is still a little uneasy around bodies of water, then teach them how to paddle board on the lawn.
Okay, so your backyard can’t toss your child into the water like a lake can, and it’s also a lot easier to balance on the hard ground than it is on water.
Nevertheless, your child will learn about the basics of balancing. They’ll also begin building up their confidence, which is hugely important.
3. Start Paddle Boarding in Calm Waters
Once you transition from the yard to the water, choose calm waters to start. The paddle boarding experience will be much more relaxing!
Protected bays and lakes are the best paddleboarding locations for beginners because they don’t experience strong winds, and the waters are calm.
4. Teach Your Kid Safety Tips and Techniques
Before your child ever goes paddle boarding by themselves, you must teach them essential safety tips and paddling techniques. Show them how to keep their hands straight so they don’t overwork their digits when paddling.
Don’t be hard on your child if they make mistakes; instead, be patient and encourage them.
Paddle Boarding Essentials For Kids
Now that you know how to teach your kid to paddle board, let’s look at the essentials and equipment required for this watersport.
Safety gear is a must for indicating to others that there’s trouble and surviving in case of an accident.
•Whistle: Anything can happen when paddle boarding. Your child can use their whistle whenever they need help.
•Personal Flotation Device: Your child shouldn’t ever go paddle boarding without a life jacket, as it will prevent drowning. Ensure you get the right size PFD for your child.
•Sun Protection Essentials: From waterproof sunscreen to sunglasses and a hat, your child must protect themselves from the sun when spending whole afternoons out paddle boarding.
•First Aid Kit: It’s good to have a first aid kit in case your child hits a rock or twists their hand when paddling. You don’t need a big kit; a small one will suffice.
•Water and Snacks: Paddling is energy-intensive, and your kids can easily become dehydrated while on the water. Be safe and pack enough water and snacks for all of you.
Basic Paddle Boarding Gear
Besides the above safety essentials, your child must have the following items for paddle boarding.
•Paddle: A small paddle will help your child feel independent, as they can paddle freely.
•Water-Resistant Storage: Waterproof storage is essential for keeping snacks, drinks, and technology like a smartphone dry.
•SUP Leash: A stand-up paddleboard or SUP leash supports the rider so they stay on the board. I’d recommend a leash for children especially.
Are There Risks Associated With Paddle Boarding?
Although paddleboarding is fun, it does come with its share of risks.
The dangers differ depending on one’s paddling experience and the conditions of the day. Below is a list of the most common paddle boarding dangers to be wary of.
Wind and Tides
Paddling in adverse conditions is dangerous, especially in strong winds and tides.
When paddle boarding, your body becomes the sail in strong tides. This can be draining if you paddle against the wind to get to the shore.
Avoid paddle boarding in bad weather like offshore wind, thunderstorms, and strong onshore winds to be safe.
Cold Water Shock
Also known as hypothermia, cold water shock is a condition caused by excessively low body temperature.
If you think that your child might be experiencing cold water shock, get them to shore immediately, ideally before they start shivering or experiencing slurred speech.
Even though paddle boarding is a low-impact sport, you risk straining or spraining muscles. Most injuries in this sport are on the upper arms and shoulders, so paddle boarders are advised to use their whole body and maintain good posture when propelling the board.
Paddling involves a lot of chafing and repetitive motion; therefore, if you are a beginner, your hands may develop blisters. To avoid blisters, wear thick gloves whenever you paddle.
Drowning is a common risk with any water activity and by far the most dangerous on this list.
When paddling, you should not be separated from your board so you can always easily get back on after falling off.
Alternatively, if you are paddling in a river, attach the SUP leash to your waist and let it go if you are trapped in the water.
You should also wear a life jacket. By doing all these, you will greatly reduce the risk of drowning.
How To Choose a Paddle Board For Your Child
With so many different types of paddle boards on the market, picking the right one for your child may be tricky. This section will help you narrow down your options.
Size is the number one factor to consider when choosing a paddle board for your kid.
If you pick an adult-sized board for your child, it will be too big for them to use. Go for a kid-friendly board if you want the little ones to enjoy the water sport.
Paddling Skill Level
How well can your child paddle? If they are beginners, an inflatable board would be ideal for them. Such boards are made using soft and safe materials.
If they are more experienced, buy them a hardtop board in a kids’ size.
You need to consider your child’s weight before buying them a board.
Most paddle boards have a weight range that guides buyers. If you pick a board that weighs too little, the board will be tipsy and won’t paddle well.
For the best paddling experience, choose a board that is within your child’s weight range.
Kids can go paddle boarding with your supervision, and they’re ready to get more involved on the board around age five.
Once they’re older and more skilled in swimming, they can paddle independently provided they understand all the safety rules and follow instructions.
I hope the information herein has answered your question so you can now plan for a day of paddle boarding with your child.