Tips for Paddleboarding with Kids
We all love a family walk at the weekends, but what if we could amp our family time up a bit for a more exciting sport? Why not swap the rolling hills for the beautiful big blue ocean and start paddleboarding?
Not only is it an opportunity to bond as a family and spend time together, but it is also the perfect chance to explore the UK’s stunning coastline and create some amazing memories while exploring the great outdoors.
Here at F-ONE, we believe watersports are the perfect way to spend time together as a family, just take a look at our blog on why kitesurfing is the perfect family activity.
If you want to try a slightly less intense sport, paddleboarding could be the one for you and your family and is especially suitable for those with young children!
Prepare for Extra Paddling
A rather obvious point, but with a child on your board, it will require extra strength when paddling, as well as the confidence in knowing you are capable in the water.
Ensuring that you are feeling both physically and mentally prepared in advance of your first outing as a family will make the whole experience much smoother. You will know what to expect, and your enthusiasm will rub off on everyone else, especially the youngest.
Get a Buoyant Board
With extra weight in mind, an essential part of preparation is to ensure that you have a sufficiently buoyant and robust board which can hold the required weight of both you and the child.
When choosing a paddleboard, it is essential that you base your choice on the correct weight as too small or too large a board can cause many issues. This will be equally important when taking a child with you, as the extra weight may affect the paddle, balance and reaction of the board.
Make Sure Children Are Water Confident
The first step to getting children in the water is to boost their confidence by ensuring they can swim.
It is easy to feel not in control of a situation involving water when unconfident and can cause people to panic, even adults. Therefore, children must know how to swim and feel comfortable in the water. This will not only be a relief for them but also you as the responsible adult.
Use a Life Jacket
Another tip for peace of mind, wearing a life jacket will make the activity feel less daunting and lessen the worry should the youngest fall off the board!
Choose Calm Locations
As an introductory to the sport, it is probably best to pick calm conditions and sheltered locations, to begin with. This will make the experience less stressful for the child, as rushing waters can be overwhelming, but also for you.
With less to worry about with a more stable foundation to paddle on, the activity should run much smoother.
Don’t Go Too Far
Especially when first introducing paddleboard as a family activity, it is probably best not to travel too far.
There are a few reasons for this, including a child’s attention span. There is a possibility that they may get tired or distracted if the excursion carries on for too long. This can be frustrating if you are eager to get exploring but is probably best to test the waters (literally) and build from there.
You will want to avoid creating any negative experiences, as it may take much convincing to get them back on a paddleboard again, so keep it as positive as possible.
Begin by Sitting
Ideally, it is best to start the activity by placing the child on the paddleboard sitting down. It is much easier to get on the board yourself with them already on it.
Once they are comfortable seated in the board, allow them to explore the board and ask them to move from being sat to kneeling. Once they look and confirm that they are ok, they can sit at the front of the board, and you can get on the board too.
Paddle from a Kneeling Position
Once you are on the board, start to move the board from a kneeling position. Balancing you and the child on the board will be much trial and error so explain this beforehand and talk them through what to do if they fall off.
Once you have conquered kneeling, you can move to standing and continue paddling from there.
Keep it Fun!
Paddleboarding with your children is a fantastic way to bond and will be the basis of many happy (and funny) memories for years to come!
An excellent way to keep smile both in and out of the water is to invest in an easy to transport paddleboard. An inflatable stand up paddleboard is perfect for this as they don’t take much room to store and are easy to set up and pack away in a car after a session in the sea; keeping everything short and sweet!