A popular water sport, mainly among teens and young adults, paddle boarding is also a child friendly activity that is fairly easy for kids to pick up and excel at. As long as your children have basic swimming skills and are comfortable in and around water, teaching them to paddleboard is going to be quite simple and a lot of fun! Here are some tips to get you started. |
Start With Safety
First and foremost, ensure your child is wearing a certified life jacket when learning any new child friendly activity involving water. Safety always comes first! You will be starting your son or daughter out in shallow water, but a life jacket is going to make any tumbles off a paddle board that much safer, and really, it’s just good practice for water sports.
Second, ensure you are teaching the skills of paddle boarding in not only shallow water, but in an area that is calm and a safe distance away from waves, currents, boats and swimmers that may be in the area. This is going to allow for the safest conditions to teach and minimise distractions, as well as protect swimmers from a possible projected paddleboard in the event of a fall.
Once you have obtained a paddleboard, through purchase or rental, equip your kids with child sized paddles. Although paddle boarding is a child friendly activity, child sized paddles can be challenging to come by so an adult paddle that can be adjusted down to child’s size will work also. Show them how to hold the paddle shaft with two hands instead of the proper adult position of one hand on top of the paddle handle.
Tip: don’t forget the sunblock, sunglasses and sun hat to protect your child from the sun while out on the water.
Start With Kneeling
Start with having your ‘students’ kneel on the paddleboard before attempting to stand, to give them a feel for the water beneath the board. This is a good time to teach your children the basic skills of paddle boarding, including the forward paddle stroke and buoy-turn, and have them practice paddling while still in a kneeling position. Give them some practice time while still on their knees until they feel ready to take it to the next level and stand.
Time to Stand!
Help the little ones stand to their feet by stabilising the paddleboard until they are up and balanced. Stand by and spot them as they continue to balance and begin to practice the skills they learned while kneeling. Standing close to your children’s paddleboards will also help you keep them away from other activities that may be happening in the water nearby that could threaten to interfere.
Paddle boarding is a child friendly activity that is pretty easy to teach, but you may want to consider signing your offspring up for a lesson if you lack experience and are unfamiliar with the strokes. Any place that rents paddleboards will most likely offer a beginners’ class to get the kids started. You may also want to consider taking a lesson together, so you can enjoy the day together out on the water on paddleboards!
Richard Edwards is the Managing Director of Summit & Blue, an adventure holiday company offering independently crafted child friendly activity holidays to exciting destinations around the world, including France, Italy, Portugal, the USA and Canada. With unique itineraries and exciting activities like biking, hiking, white water rafting and canoeing, we create holidays for those looking for an experience a little more off the beaten track.
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