Looking for fun family activities for the summertime? Stand-up paddleboarding should definitely be on your list. Stand-paddleboarding is the perfect combination of fun and exercise for parents and kids alike, it will keep you cool and by the water, and, most importantly, its safe and easy to manage.
Getting started with Stand-up paddleboarding with children
Paddle on the same board to start
One of the best ways to get started paddleboarding with your children is to just take them out on your board, or rent one board that you can both fit on. This will allow your child to get used to balancing on the board and paddling around, without them having to worry about keeping up with you or losing you. Even older children might appreciate the opportunity to join you on the board for the first few paddles around.
Start out on flatwater
“Flatwater” generally means water that isn’t moving along with a current and it also isn’t choppy or tidal. A creek or river may seem flat to you if it isn’t moving swiftly, but it is still flowing and that doesn’t count as flat water, that’s moving water. A bay can be flat at times when it’s calm out, but it still can be tidal and can be difficult to paddle against the current when the tide is coming in or out, and you want to go the opposite direction. A lake is probably your best bet for flat, non-tidal water. If you don’t live near a lake, then a section of protected bay that isn’t subject to strong tidal currents will work great as well.
Go on a nice sunny day when you won’t mind falling in
It might seem obvious, but if you are a seasoned paddler who can pretty much balance in any conditions, you might not think about paddling when the water is a bit chilly. But, if you really want to teach your kids to love paddleboarding, you’ll want to make sure they enjoy falling in as much as they enjoy paddling about, and that means the water temps should be bearable at the very least, and maybe even enjoyably cool on a hot day.
Pack a cooler and make a day of it
There isn’t anything more relaxing than spending a day on the water when you have all that you need. Pack a cooler with cold drinks, snacks, and some easy to fix lunch items and you’ll be ready to head out on more adventurous waters, like exploring the marshes or paddling around a larger lake. With a drybag, you can also bring essentials like your phone, some clothing layers, hats for shade, and a water toy or two to pull out when if (or when) they start to whine that they are bored. It’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared with young children.
Let them try paddling alone with properly sized equipment
Once your littles (or big kids) have paddling with you down pat and are enjoying it, it’s probably a good time to go and rent or buy them their own kid-sized paddleboard and paddle. Why can’t they just try yours out? Well, they can, but the paddle may be too long to actually get any propulsion and the board may be too big for them to actually move through the water.
Get an extra board, invite some friends
Kids are social creatures. They might like doing stuff with you, but they LOVE doing stuff with their friends. So, if you are struggling to get your kid out their paddleboarding and enjoying it as much as you do, consider inviting one of their friends on board as well. They’ll likely have more fun and want to come back again and again if they can bring their buddies along.