Paddle Boarding For Kids – Essential Tips

Paddle Boarding For Kids – Essential Tips

If you’re into paddle boarding then you’ll no doubt be aware that it continues to grow in popularity making it one of the faster growing water sports globally. Beyond getting yourself out on your board to get in that exercise routine and soak up some sun, its worth considering that paddle boarding is also a great family activity that can be enjoyed with the kids.

Whilst definitely a great idea, its important that you recognise some of the essential safety tips and ‘how tos’ before you get the kids out on the water.

Let’s take a look at some of the key considerations:

Little Girl on Board

Safety First

Like all recreational water activities, you can not put a price on your safety and more so when it comes to your children.

Your Child should be able to Swim – it might seem like common sense but its inevitable that kids will fall in the water so being able to swim even if at a very basic level is very important. If they were to panic when their face went under water for instance you can imagine how this will stifle their confidence so ensuring that they are comfortable in the water is a great place to start.

Personal Flotation Devise – wearing a PDF or life jacket is a non-negotiable so make sure that they have a well fitted comfortable PDF on. Get them use to floating and playing in the waster with it before you set off on your board.

Your Competency on a Board – before you think about bringing your kids out make sure that you yourself are comfortable on your board and have a practical understanding and feel for paddling. Adding on the additional and often unstable weight Boy in Surf on Paddle Boardof your child will make things more difficult so make sure you are comfortable with the fundamentals of your board and paddling.

Water & Weather Conditions – as should be the case for all beginners, paddling in calm flat water conditions is advisable. Make sure that there are no strong currents or waves and try to avoid windy conditions. It is also best to start out in an area where there isn’t too much water traffic (boats or other water craft) as this too can create choppy waters and increase the risk of an accident.

Sun Protection – even in overcast conditions, make sure that you and your kids are wearing suitable protective water attire and slap on the sunscreen. Common sense once again but of even more importance when out on the water given the suns reflective rays.

Paddle Board Leashleashes are essential for all paddlers as it will ensure that you and your board are not separated if and when you fall into the water.

<< Did you know you can actually Lose Weight on the Water >>

Paddling on the Same Board with Your Child

Before your kids set out on their own paddling adventures, its important that you have taken them out yourself so they can get a feel for the overall experience. Ensure that your board is sufficiently large enough so it can accommodate the additional weight. Overloading your board will affect its overall buoyancy, stability and manoeuvrability so you may be putting yourself as well as your child in a dangerous position if your board is not appropriate.

When setting off from a calm water area, have your child get on first and take up a seated position in the centre of the board – a little in front of where you would stand noting that you will be adjusting your position slightly as you factor in their weight. Once they get comfortable with their balance they can then kneel up or move between both seated and kneeling positions.

Once your child is settled then you should hop on your board as well and then start paddling. If easier start off in a kneeling position yourself and then stand once comfortable.

Is Your Child Paddling On Their Own Board?

Distinct from having kids sit with you as a passenger on your board, if they are ready to set out on the water themselves then here are a few important tips that you should take on board. These are in addition to the above mentioned safety tips.

The Board – children’s paddle boards are typically smaller than a standard paddle board in both length and thickness. They will therefore sit a little lower in the water making them easier to climb back on after a spill. As they are also lighter they will Young Girl Paddling on Board be easier for kids to carry and generally manoeuvre and play around with.

If your looking to buy a board you should look for one that is a little bigger than what they need so it will suit them as they grow. Inflatable boards are preferable as they are lighter in weight and offer a softer surface to paddle and play on when compared to a solid or rigid board.

Kids boards are cheaper than adults boards although you do get what you pay for. Useless you are under a tight budget you should look for a board that is made from quality drop-stitch materials with a highly durable deck pad given that it will take a bit of a beating – kids will be kids after all.

There are a whole host of boards available and from many reputable manufacturers so do your research giving consideration to both budget and quality.

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Zupapa Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Bestway Hydro-Force Aqua Journey Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
Goosehill Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Soopotay Inflatable SUP Board

Nixy Huntington Paddle Board 9’6″
Aqua Marina Vibrant Stand Up Paddle Board

Paddle – unless your child is a similar height to you (unlikely) then they should have a suitable length paddle. A paddle that is a few inches taller than your child will be suitable. If you have an adjustable paddle then this will likely suit but you should otherwise consider investing in a smaller paddle. This will help them develop a proper technique as well as being a more efficient way to paddle.

Kneel First – starting out in a kneeling position towards the centre of the board before standing is always the best way to start off. Help your child onto the board if necessary and ensure that they are comfortable on the water before they set off. Sketch of Paddler on BoardOnce they have a feel for the board, the water conditions and paddling in general, then encourage them to stand up.

Supervision – somewhat similar to wearing a PDF and being able to swim, ensuring that your child is always supervised by an adult that can also swim is a must. Make sure that they are always within reach i.e. don’t venture too far away from the shore. Kids are unpredictable particularly if they are out boarding with other kids so keeping an eye on them at all times should also be a priority.

Paddle Boarding Basics – make sure that your children have a feel for the basic paddling techniques and safety precautions. Remain patient and get them to practice how to paddle, turn, fall off and get back onto the board. Do this initially in shallower waters where you can stand beside them to steady the board.

Above all else (safety aside) its supposed to be fun so make sure your kids are out there and enjoying themselves. It doesn’t need to be competitive so play around, take a few pics and enjoy some quality time with your children.

As always we would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.

Until then stay safe and get wet.

14 thoughts on “Paddle Boarding For Kids – Essential Tips”

  1. Good read! My best friend has 2 sons. I don’t lol but I’m going to ask him about this and forward the link to him. They are always doing something wild and crazy lol

    • Good to hear Thomas. If they have access to water then it’s definitely worth trying. Even if its taking a lesson or borrowing a board. A very easy water sport to get addicted to so worth making the effort.

      Cheers – Jason.

  2. My son’s so into paddling. So far I’ve been taking him with me and he loves it. This year he wants his own board. I’ve bookmarked this article so we can discuss it and come back.
    Thank you so much.

    • Hey Tanya. Good to hear that you and your son have found paddle boarding. It’s still a growing sport so definitely worth pursuing. A Xmas present for what has been an awful 2020 perhaps. Just a thought!!

      Stay safe and all the best – Jason.

  3. I am so sorry that I haven’t had a chance to learn it myself in my younger days, to teach my grandchildren when I’ll have them. My kid is a grown up already.
    Your whole article is so easy to read, so very logical in explanations, that I could exactly imagine each and every step of it.
    I like how you started with safety and even didn’t skip the sun protection, as well. I also like how you keep warning us that a child is a child, and will sometimes act unpredictably.
    Still, the whole paddle boarding sounds like a lot of fun, while your post will surely be a valuable help for parents when they start teaching their kids how to do it.

    • Thanks for your comments. If you’re thinking grandkids then paddle boarding may not have been a thing in your younger days but never too old as they say. When you do have the grandkids though give them a bit of a nudge as the benefits are a plenty so well worth the experience.

      Do stay safe and all the best – Jason.

  4. Hi Jason,

    It is a very informative article. Thank you for your tips. I love water sports very much but my 2 little girls are still very young so I haven’t tried paddle boarding with them but I’ll certainly give it a go someday. A very useful article though so I’ll check out your suggestions.

    Stay safe and get wet,


    • Good to hear Alex. Kids take to the water very quickly if encouraged so definitely worth giving it a go if you get the opportunity. My little girl loves it so I’m sure yours will to. Perhaps take a look at Paddle Boarding for Beginners as well Alex if you’d like to get a better feel for the sport.

      All the best – Jason.

  5. Great tips for kids to start paddle boarding! And like you mentioned, safety is of utmost importance. We’re not a massive water sport family but I have a couple of relatives that have gone boarding with their kids so I will share your post with them. Thank you!

    • Hi Dana. Water sports in general are great for kids so as long as they can swim then it’s definitely worth trying. Please do forward on the article and if I can help in any other way then don’t be shy. You might also like an earlier post on the Top 10 Benefits of Paddle Boarding as that too will give you a little more info.

      All the best Jason.

  6. I’ve only ever done stand up paddle boarding a couple of times but it was a whole lot of fun. It’s a lot harder than it looks though (sea wasn’t totally calm, so that may have had some impact), and jeepers, does it engage your core! I’m very interested in getting my son to try it too so I found this post really helpful! Cheers

    • Good to hear Gareth. It does take a little getting use to and the weather and water conditions certainly do play a part in it. Do get your son to give it a go. Kids take to the water well and its a brilliant way to get them off their devises or away from their screens – definitely worth the effort.

      All the best – Jason.


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