Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is an exciting water sport that offers kids an opportunity to have fun, develop balance and coordination skills and explore nature.
But, as any parent or guardian knows, if you want a child to stick with a new hobby, you have to provide them with the tools they need to be successful at it.
So, if you're considering introducing your child to the world of paddle boarding, selecting the right paddle board is crucial.
This quick guide aims to provide you with valuable insights and considerations when picking the perfect paddle board for your child:
1. Determine their skill level
Kids often surprise us. Yes, this might be the first time they’ve taken to the water on a paddleboard, but that’s not to say they won’t be a natural and just glide through the water with relative ease.
So, if you sense they have a natural ability for paddleboarding, you might want to go straight in for a board that is better suited to speed and agility.
However, for most kids new to paddleboarding, the best bet is a board that offers stability, manoeuvrability and ease of use.
2. Consider the type of paddle board
Just to make things awkward (and potentially expensive) for parents and guardians, there are several types of paddle boards designed for different activities and water conditions. Here are the main options to consider:
- All-around SUPs: All-around paddle boards are versatile and suitable for various water conditions. They offer a good balance of stability, manoeuvrability and ease of use, making them ideal for beginners and kids who want to explore different paddleboarding styles.
- Surf SUPs: Surf paddle boards are specifically designed for riding ocean waves. They are shorter, narrower and more manoeuvrable, allowing kids to catch waves and experience the thrill of surfing. However, they require more balance and are better suited for intermediate or advanced paddlers.
- Touring SUPs: Touring paddle boards are designed for longer trips and excursions. They provide better glide and tracking, making them suitable for kids interested in exploring lakes, rivers or coastlines. These boards are longer and narrower, offering increased speed and efficiency.
- Inflatable SUPs: Inflatable paddle boards are portable, easy to store and durable. They are an excellent choice for kids due to their lightweight construction, which makes them easier to carry and handle. Inflatable SUPs also offer good stability and versatility, suitable for various skill levels.
- Junior SUPs: Junior inflatable paddle boards come with a robust build quality that will help you get your children into paddle boarding without breaking the bank. They are built to help optimise balance on the water and allow for easy turning.
3. Get one that’s built to last
You don’t want to have to be forking out for a new board every year, as it will prove to be a false economy (‘buy cheap, buy twice’, as they say).
Investing in a durable and well-constructed paddle board ensures its longevity and safety. So, consider the board's materials, such as epoxy, fiberglass or inflatable PVC. Epoxy and fiberglass boards are more rigid and provide better performance but may be less forgiving in case of falls.
Inflatable SUPs are more resistant to impacts and are less likely to get damaged. Look for reinforced construction, durable fins and quality stitching in inflatable SUPs. Look out for these key terms: “high density PVC” and “fused drop stitch construction”.
Quick tip: Look at a board’s reviews – they’re usually a good indicator of a its durability!
4. Keep them on the boardWe’ve touched on this a little bit already, but stability is crucial when selecting a paddle board for kids.
Look for boards with a wide and stable platform that offers good balance. Rounded or square tails provide additional stability, while pointed tails offer better manoeuvrability but may be more challenging for beginners.
A tapered nose line is often best, as it allows young paddlers to get more and more performance out of the board as their skills grow.
Additionally, consider boards with soft, non-slip deck pads that provide traction and comfort, ensuring a secure footing for your child.
5. Don’t forget the safety element
Paddleboarding is a fun and relatively safe activity. But when you’re doing anything involving open water, you need to think long and hard about safety.
So, in addition to buying a board, you’ll also need to get some essential accessories:
- Leash: A leash is an essential safety accessory that attaches the paddle board to the paddler's ankle or calf. It ensures the board remains within reach, preventing it from drifting away in case of a fall.
- Buoyancy aid: For younger or less confident swimmers, consider using a buoyancy aid, such as a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD), to provide an extra layer of safety and support.
- Paddle: You want an adjustable paddle that can be resized to your child's height. Ensure the paddle is lightweight and durable, providing comfortable grip and easy manoeuvrability.
- Dry bag: To protect your child’s belongings from water damage, consider buying a dry bag or waterproof phone case. No parent or guardian wants to have to deal with a child whose smartphone has sunk!
Here at Aquaplanet, you get a complementary bag of accessories with every BOLT board. The Aquaplanet BOLT is specifically designed for kids or lighter paddlers (up to 60kg). These SUPs will help to provide fun for the whole family during the next vacation or trip to the beach and come in two beautiful colour options.
Buy a BOLT board today and unleash your kids' inner adventurer!