Here are 5 keys for introducing children to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) that reduce the intimidation factor:
1. Make Your Child Comfortable
Stand-up paddleboarding involves two main ingredients—water and a paddleboard. So if your child is interested in paddleboarding, they should be comfortable on the water.
A child who’s learning to paddleboard should know how to swim well enough that when they fall off (and they will!) they won’t panic. Get them used to falling in the water before getting them on a board.
Consider putting the child on the board on land first. Teach them how to properly stand on the board with a firm surface underneath, and they’ll be more comfortable trying to get on, stay on and get off the board in the water.
2. Use Child-Size Equipment
For the best paddleboarding experience, children should be using equipment that fits them. There are kid-sized boards available for children with a smaller footprint that’s easier for them to handle.
These boards are usually 8-9 feet long, compared to 10-feet+ for adult SUPers. A child-size board is easier for your child to both paddle and carry to and from the water.
Your child will also need the right size paddle. An adjustable paddle is a great idea for a growing child. A life jacket (PFD) that fits correctly is also a must for all paddleboard excursions. Safety is always first in paddleboarding!
3. Try a Hands-On Approach
The best way for children to learn how to paddleboard is by learning hands-on. Get in the water with them and help them on the board. It may take a few tries for a successful stand, but show patience and give encouragement and they’ll be up in no time.
It’s also a great idea to invite other children to learn, too. Kids love to follow what their friends or family members are doing, and paddleboarding is no different.
4. Make It Fun
If a child isn’t having a good time, the paddleboarding session won’t last for more than a few minutes. So set fun goals for them to aim for, or come up with simple games.
Once children have had enough, call it a day instead of forcing them to stay out on the water. It may take more than one session for a child to feel comfortable on the board. Staying out against their will could cause them to resent the activity in the future.
5. Provide Constant Encouragement
Stand-up paddleboarding is no different than any other activity. Children may become frustrated if they can’t stand on the board right away, or if they keep falling in the water. Give constant encouragement along the way so they don’t give up too easily.
Encouragement from a parent can go a long way with a child. Give compliments to your children when they’re doing well, and give inspiration when they’re having a tough time.
The more confident a child feels, the the more likely he or she will want to keep trying!
By Emma Orton, Digital Marketing Specialist for Yakima Australia/New Zealand. Yakima manufactures roof rack systems for all your paddle sport needs.
Do you need help finding a child-size paddle? Call or email our Wisconsin-based customer service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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