Paddle boarding is a popular water sport and is an excellent activity for the entire family. Can children paddleboard, too? Of course! Children can learn and develop their paddleboarding skills over time. Keep reading to learn more about safely when taking your kids out on the water.
Are Paddle Boards Safe for Kids?
Paddleboarding is a fun activity that children of all ages can enjoy, but it’s important to know the rules and regulations before you take your child out on the water. Here are some tips to help ensure safety while enjoying this great sport.
Before taking your child paddling, make sure they have the proper equipment. A life jacket (a coast-guard-approved personal flotation device is best) should always be worn when in or near the water. If you don’t own one, borrow one from a friend or family member who does. Make sure the life jacket fits properly and has been tested for buoyancy. Life jackets must fit snugly around the neck and shoulders.
Know the Rules
According to the Professional Stand Up Paddle Board Association, any child under the age of 6 must wear a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times. It must be either a USCG-Type I, II, III, or IV. If you are on coastal waters, you must carry at least 3 nighttime visual distress signals with you at all times.
Consider Your Child’s Age
Children under the age of five years old should never be allowed to paddle alone. They need constant supervision and guidance. Parents should supervise their children closely at any age and until they are comfortable on the board.
Can 8-Year-Olds Paddle Board?
Yes, but they should be under adult supervision at all times. Children and adults should always wear personal flotation devices when out in open water.
If you’re looking for a new way to spend quality time together, consider trying paddle boarding. You and your kids will enjoy the fresh air, exercise, and most importantly, spending time together.
Can Kids Use an Adult Paddle Board?
Adult boards are not recommended for children, especially those just starting out. There are boards for kids out there that you can look into. Wider boards are usually best for kids and should allow them more stability and control. Also, check the weight limit to ensure it will be a stable board.
Here are five different types of paddle boards for kids.
Pop Up Paddle Boards
These are usually made of plastic and fold up into a compact size. The pop-up boards are perfect for younger kids because they are easy to carry around and store. However, these boards are not very stable and tend to tip over easily. Ensure your child has practiced and feels comfortable on the board before using one of these.
Inflatable Paddle Boards
There are several inflatable paddle boards designed specifically for kids. These boards are easier to transport and store than traditional paddle boards. In addition, they are much lighter and less bulky than regular paddle boards. This makes them ideal for young kids who want to try paddle boarding without having to worry about carrying heavy gear.
Hybrid Paddle Boards
Hybrid paddle boards combine the features of inflatable and rigid paddle boards. They are typically made of foam and PVC, are lightweight, and offer good maneuverability. However, they lack the stability of stronger boards. Therefore, hybrid boards are recommended only for older kids who already feel confident on a paddle board.
Kayak Paddle Boards
Kayak paddle boards are similar to kayaks. They are made of wood and can be used by adults and kids. Kayak paddle boards are great for beginners because they provide stability. However, they are heavier and bulkier than inflatable paddle boards. If you plan on using this type of board, it is important to practice first.
Surf-Style Paddle Boards
Surf-style paddle boards are designed for surfing. They have a large deck area and a small nose section and are suitable for experienced paddlers. However, they are challenging to learn. If you decide to buy a surf-style paddleboard, make sure you take lessons or hire a professional instructor.
Another item your child will need is an adjustable paddle which can be shortened or lengthened to meet your child’s height needs.
How Do You Paddle Board with a Child?
If your child is joining you on a paddle trip, try to stay in calm water and have the appropriately sized board to fit you both. Children may find it hard to balance themselves while standing on a paddleboard. If you let your child practice paddling with you before letting them off on their own, keep in mind that children will tire faster than adults. Make sure you frequently stop so they don’t get too tired.
Ensure both of you have a life jacket on for safety. Teach your child to use their paddle board on land first, then progress to the water. Let them get comfortable sitting on the board in the water and find their balance.
How to Teach a Child to Paddle Board
It’s always a good idea to teach your child the basics of paddle boarding on land before hitting the water.
- Teach your child to stand on the board by holding onto the sides.
- Once they get comfortable, let go of the side rails and allow them to lean forward and backward.
- Next, encourage your child to move their feet from side to side to find a comfortable position on the board.
- Finally, ask your child to stand straight and hold the board steady.
- Once they have mastered this on land, have them try this technique in a shallow body of water.
Here are some other tips to consider.
- If your child falls off the board, help them back on the board and encourage them.
- If you are in deep water, gently guide your child back to their board and have them rest their paddle and arms on the board.
- Do not push your child back on the board. Allow them to catch their breath and have them swing their leg onto the board.
- If they feel tired, have them swim their board back to shore and take a break before attempting again.
Your child will feel comfortable and confident with their paddle boarding skills with practice.
Paddle Boarding Options in Sarasota
Contact us at Ride & Paddle! We offer a wide range of paddleboard options for kids. Getting your family out on the water together is great for everyone’s mood and mental health. With some practice, your child’s skill level will improve. We offer boards and other water sports options that are great for the whole family. Book your online rental today!