Whether you’re an avid fan of SUP and want to bond over it with your children, or simply want to get your children to move more by taking them along with you on your next SUP adventure, there are a few things to keep in mind when going SUP with your children. Things like what you’ll need, where to begin, and what safety precautions to take are all important to consider before going on a family SUP trip.
What do you need in order to SUP with your children?
You’ve decided you’re going SUP as a family, and you’re wondering if you need anything special to do that. Let’s go over the actual equipment you’ll need. Before you start though, what you’ll need depends on your child’s age. Are they toddlers? Are they young adults? If they’re young adults or teenagers and are fairly tall, they should get their own paddleboard. If they are toddlers or under the age of 12, it would be better to be on your paddleboard with you.
Whether or not your child can come with you on your board also depends on their weight. Each paddle board has a maximum weight limit. If you and your child exceed that maximum, then you’ll either need a board that is thicker and has a higher weight limit or get a separate board for your child. It may also make sense to have a board that’s a little wider to have enough space for the both of you.
Here’s what you will need to go SUP with your children:
- Personal flotation devices for you and your child(ren)
- Paddleboard for yourself and your child(ren)
- A waterproof bag for things like snacks, etc.
You really don’t need much extra if you’re already familiar with paddle boarding and want to take your kid along with you next time. You either simply have gotten the same thing for your child, or make sure what you already have is strong enough for the both of you.
Where to start when paddleboarding with children
Here are a few things to do before you go paddleboarding with your children. First, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the things mentioned above. Next, you’ll want to check if your child has the basic swimming skills, they need to keep themselves afloat when they fall off. The personal flotation device will help keep your child safe, but knowing that they can swim will help create peace of mind for you as their parent or guardian.
It’s best to start off practicing in more shallow water or on land. Try having them stand on a paddleboard first on dry land, and then eventually move to the water. Getting your child acquainted and accustomed to being in the water is key for them to feel comfortable on the board. Once they’ve spent time just being in the water, it’s time to put them on the board while sitting and have them get used to being on the board as well. Once you know your child is comfortable with being on the board in the water, it’s time to take care of you!
If you’re not a confident paddleboarder, then it’s imperative that you get comfortable ASAP. Going SUP is already challenging on your own, but add a child into the mix, and balancing becomes much harder. You must feel stable enough that when your child falls off your board, you’ll be able to help them climb back on without falling off yourself.
Other things to keep in mind
On top of everything else mentioned above, you’ll also want to just make sure the expectations are all about having fun. Kids can sometimes forget to not expect perfection, and it’s important to remind them that it’s completely normal to fall off the board and in fact half of the fun!
Another option to make sure that fun is at the forefront of their minds is to simply play games with them on the paddleboard. Play paddleboard tag or do silly poses and see who can stay on the board the longest. Make sure the goal is both to have fun and end up in the water.
The easiest way to set the tone is by simply demonstrating it yourself. Fall into the water and show that it’s not a big deal! In fact, if you want to practice for this, try going kayaking with your children or surfing and get them used to both being on the water, as well as falling into the water. The more fun you have, the more fun they’ll have.
Choosing a familiar place will also help your child feel comfortable when going SUP and help them adapt to the new activity when the environment is known to them.
Another way to ensure fun is to include your dog. To read on how to go paddleboarding with your dog, read this article here. Children are much more likely to find the whole outing fun with their canine companion there. The dog can either be on the paddleboard with them or could simply swim in the water while you and your child paddle. Either way, having a pet alongside will help your child feel at ease, as well as remind them to have fun.
SUP is a fun activity on your own, but an even better activity to do with others - especially with your family! Surf Star Co is a paddleboard company that manufactures inflatable paddleboards. These are lightweight and easy to store, which is a huge bonus especially if you end up buying multiples for your entire family.
With different designs and colors to choose from, Surf Star Co is known for its superior quality and innovative paddleboard designs. A total bonus is that they’re affordable and easy to use. If you’re looking to add SUP to the list of family activities for weekends, make sure to give the paddleboards from Surf Star Co a try!