If you are keen to find an outdoor adventure that the entire family can enjoy, then pass on your love of stand up paddelboarding (SUP) to your children and you can look forward to enjoying the water together. Over 2.8 million Americans have taken up stand up paddleboarding, and if you give your kids a great experience during the first few times they try it, they will likely fall in love with it just as you did. Make stand up paddleboarding a fun and safe experience and they will be begging to hit the water with you again.
Giving Your Child Their First SUP experience
Supconnect Publisher Andre Niemeyer paddling with his son in San Diego. | Photo: Supconnect
Getting your children SUP’ing while they are still very young is a great way to get them started. While children aged three and under wouldn’t be strong enough or probably even particularly interested in paddling themselves, getting them to ride along on the nose of your SUP can be a fun experience. If you make this activity a regular thing, it will allow them to progress as they feel more comfortable. Some children will want to paddle on their own at the age of five, while others may not feel ready until they are a little older.
Have Realistic Expectations
Even though your children may seem enthusiastic about SUP'ing, don’t forget that kids get cold, tired, bored, thirsty, hungry and even a little whiny. Parental patience is essential, especially if any of your children have some kind of medical condition that may make them want to cut the activity short. You may only get to go 50ft on your family SUP outing, but that’s fine. Not all young children will be interested in going out for very long or hard paddles. To make things more interesting, try changing things up a bit. Pick a new place to take your paddleboard, have a competition to see who can do the best jump off the board, paddle out to the middle of a lake for a swim, or just sit down and hang out. If your paddle together only lasts about 10 minutes, don’t get frustrated that it's been so short. Give them some praise, a high five, and be grateful that your child had a fun experience SUP'ing in the first place.
Always Be Safe
Before you head out on the water, use your judgment on the conditions. You want it to be calm and out. If it’s rough and windy it will not just be hard for your kids but could also be a little scary. The smaller they are, the bigger the waves will look. A one-foot wave may just look tiny to you but could look like a massive tsunami to them. Ensure your children can swim well before you get them on a board and equip them with a PFD life jacket and sunscreen before you hit the water.
If you are able to make stand up paddleboarding fun for your children while also giving them lots of encouragement, your kids will simply love spending an afternoon paddling with you.
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