SUP KidsDecember 22, 2015
Stand–up paddling isn’t just gaining popularity with adults; it is also becoming more and more popular with kids of all ages too. SUP is extremely fun for kids and a fantastic form of cross training exercise. Kids love SUP because kids love water and love having fun in the water. Besides, SUP is such a good way to build self-esteem, in the outdoor setting with fresh air and some sun. Whether your child is athletically inclined or not, your child will enjoy stand–up paddling. Plus, the benefits are numerous. SUP is also great way to introduce water safety for your child too.
SUP Benefits for Kids
Those who enjoy standup paddling will know both health and mental benefits they get from SUP. Likewise, kids who SUP will say the same: SUP improving athletic skills, SUP helping to improve balance, coordination, and overall strength. However, to say the very least, those are not all of SUP benefits for kids. Standup paddling gets kids to be outdoor, to enjoy fresh air, and to get ample vitamin D from the sun. Not only SUP provides a good amount of extreme fun, it also provides a good opportunity for kids to build their self-esteem and self-respect, being able to overcome their fear of instability in the water. Also, kids who have accomplished SUP tend to have a better overall body awareness and be more safety-conscious. Last but not least, going SUP somewhere, be it the river, the lake, or the ocean, always gives a family a precious time to bond. Also, another point to note, most of top international SUP athletes and many times World Champion like Connor Baxter start SUP from a very young age. So, don’t be surprised if your kid becomes the next World Champion.
Simple Steps to Get Your Kids Start SUP !
Nowadays, there are many places that give proper SUP lessons and instruction for kids. Kids who get through SUP-kids program will learn about water safety and understand potential hazard in the water. Sup-kids.com also has some interesting courses for kids.
However, if you are an experienced paddler, you can start by taking your child out with you on the same board. Let your child sit on your board while you paddle out to make him/her comfortable being on the board.
Once they feel ready to standup paddle, let them try. Before that, make sure you have the boards that are suitable for kids. Generally, the boards that work well for kids are around 8 – 9 feet long or less. And inflatable SUPs are ideal because they are lightweight, easier to carry, and the surface is a little softer to land on. Once you have the right board, you can start by letting your kids try in the flat calm water first.
First, hold the board for your child. Then, ask him/her to kneel on the center of the board. You can let your child paddle in the kneeling position until he/she feels more stable and comfortable. Once your child feels more relaxed, let them try standing up slowly. However, whenever he/she feels a bit unsure, just have him/her kneel back down. Once your child feels that he/she has a firm balance on the board, it is important to let them practice a few basic moves such as: turning, accelerating and decelerating, falling and jumping off the board, especially, getting back on the board in deep water.
Gear Guide for SUP Kids
1. Right Length Inflatable SUP Boards
Technically, a kid can use any inflatable SUP board. However, as mentioned earlier, boards that work well for kids are around 8 – 9 feet long or less. Again, as mentioned elsewhere, Inflatable SUPs are ideal because they are lightweight, easier to carry, and the surface is a little softer to land on.
2. Paddle Fits Kids’ Size
When picking a paddle for your kids, make sure the paddle fits their size. A paddle that is too long or too big will be much more difficult and too heavy for a child to use. To save some money, an adjustable paddle may be ideal as its length can be adjusted to the child’s growing. To pick the right paddle for your kids, make sure the point where the blade fans out from the shaft should be at the child’s eye level, when the paddle is standing on its handle. However, the paddle for kids paddling mostly in flat water may be an extra inch or two longer while kids who mostly SUP surf may want the paddle an inch or two shorter.
3. A Board Leash and a Lifejacket Is a Must!
The leash is normally attached to the child’s ankle and to the SUP board. If he/she should fall or jump in, the leash will make sure they do not lose their board, which in water acts as a floating device. In most cases, a straight 10-foot leash is perfect for kids.
Safety Tips & Techniques for Kids Starting SUP
1. Have a Spotter
Always have a spotter around while kids are paddling. The spotter or an adult can be in the water or on a board close by to make sure that every kid is being attentive and comfortable. It is also a good idea to bring along a rope or some tow line in case your child get tired. Then, you can tow them back safely to shore.
2. Always Start on Flat Calm Water
Choose a location that has calm and flat water and is not too busy. Busier places will make safety more difficult. Calm water will help keep the board more stable for kids. Also, there will be less distractions for your kids as well.
3. Remember to Use Sun Block
Never forget to put on sun screen for your child. As SUP is fun and challenging, some kids may spend several hours paddling, kids can easily get sun burn. Actually, the sun reflection off the water can cause serious burns very quickly.