SUP KID – A NEW WAY TO SPEND YOUR TIME WITH YOUR CHIDNovember 19, 2017
Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is not meant for adults alone; it is extremely fun for kids as well. Moreover, it is a fantastic way to introduce children to an exciting form of cross training while having a memorable experience on the water. Whether a child is athletically inclined or not, stand-up paddling can be enjoyed by children of all ages and the benefits are numerous. Besides being extremely fun, SUP also works on the child’s balance, coordination, fitness level and confidence.
However, as much interesting as it is, it thus has some necessary precaution to be followed so as to avoid injuries or accidents. Adhering to the precautions will not only prevent you from accidents but also help you achieve the best out of it. The highlighted below are the possible precautions to be taken before paddling.
There are two ways to take a child paddle boarding: the child can share one board with the adult, or paddle himself on a separate board. If your child is yet strong or confident enough to paddle himself, it may be better to let him sit or stand in the front of the board while the adult paddles. Whether the child will be on your board, or alone on his, a few key rules must be observed every time.
Necessary Precautions to Take for SUP Kid
- The Child Must Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
It is essential that the PFD fits properly, so it is advisable to have an expert fit the vest on your child the first time. Even if your child is an expert swimmer, accidents happen and an unexpected wave can render even the most proficient swimmers scared and surprised, especially if they receive a mouth full of salt water in the process, yuck! Think of the PFD as a seat belt, you do not expect to need it, but it is absolutely essential for safety that you use it.
- Get the Right Board
There are several different boards that work well for kids, but as a general rule, they will have the easiest time paddling a board that is eight to nine feet long or less. A shorter and wider board will be more stable and easier for them to paddle and turn if they are paddling solo. That being said, I know of lots of kids age 7 and up who have done just fine on an 11′ board. The longer board will be a little trickier for them to paddle at first but also gives them some growing room.
- Avoid the Wind
Additionally, when finding a safe place to paddle, it’s important to avoid the wind. Wind creates difficult challenges, and potentially dangerous situations for children, and weaker paddlers in general. On a blustery day it is best not to take your child out paddling. If there is any wind at all, make sure to start near a shore that has an onshore wind. This way if the child isn’t strong enough to paddle, he or she will be blown toward the shore. A much better alternative to the panic that could accompany being blown out across the bay.
- Your Child Must Be Able to Swim Before Getting on A Paddle Board
A stand-up paddleboard, unlike a kayak, has nothing to strap the paddler in. This creates a much higher risk of falling off into the water (which is also half the fun!). It is important that any child preparing to paddleboard, even while wearing a life vest and under parental supervision, must be able to swim.
Benefits of SUP for Kids
The fitness aspect of Stand-Up Paddle boarding (SUP) is one of the key underlying factors of why it gets so many people hooked. SUP helps children, just like adults, keep in shape, as well as achieving new levels of core stability and stamina. SUP offers a core and cardiovascular workout for your kids, because training on an unbalanced surface targets the muscles in the mid-section of their bodies (stomach and lower back), essentially joining the lower body to the upper body.
Once your child learns how to standup paddleboard, he begins to master it with increasing endurance of the constant paddling. As this balance improves, and his muscles aren’t getting quite as tired, then his endurance increases.
Fun-filled For Kids Too
Other than the regular picnic and amusement park excitements, SUP can be a memorable family experience for your kids.
SUP is one of the things that can help bring out the best personality out of children. It can help to build their confidence level and propel their socialization process.
Water naturally soothes the body and exercise help to reduce stress. Add to all of that the soothing sounds as you glide through the water, the sensation of actually walking on water, and the rhythm of your stroke, and the stress you feel starts to loosen its grip on you and melts away. This is the same with kids.
When you stand-up paddling on the same board with your child, it is vital to first check the weight restrictions of the specific board you will be using. Each board style is different and it’s important to make sure the board can hold the combined weight of yourself and your child. It’s also advisable to use a longer board that leaves room for the child, such as the Tower Social SUP, clocking in at a roomy 11 feet, 5 inches.
The hardest part of paddling together will most like be, simply, both getting up on the board without slipping. It may be best to start out by kneeling and stabilizing the board, then allowing the child to climb on. Paddle out and practice until both of you are confident enough to stand. Take it slow, and following the same fashion as before the adult can rise up to stand first followed by the child.
You may have to alter your usual stance to make room for a child at the front. Most likely if you just scoot back a few inches from where you stand alone on the board, there will be room for both of you to balance easily.
Most importantly, take your time and have fun with it! SUP together might be difficult at first, and you both may end up taking a dip in the water, but practice makes perfect. Eventually you’ll fall into a seamless rhythm and bond over a new healthy hobby.
Once your child has mastered the basics of SUP, he will likely desire more of a challenge and hop onto a personal board. Children may benefit from smaller boards and paddles depending on size and strength. Remain close to your child throughout, in case they require some advice or a helping hand. Start slowly, allowing your child to try out paddling themselves in calmer waters before moving on to more choppy water. They may find it tiring to paddle themselves the first time but it’s important to not get discouraged. If your child becomes exhausted and does require assistance, have them hop on your board and tow theirs back to shore. Most importantly, all of the aforementioned key rules must be followed when the child is on their own board, as well. And most, most importantly, have fun!