Paddleboarding is a unique aquatic sport that combines strength exercise with a calming pace. Your child may want to try the sport, especially if you are already actively paddleboarding yourself or if you've let them enjoy an occasional ride on the bow of your board. It could seem complicated and difficult for some kids, but they can enjoy this sport with just a little bit of practice, patience, and encouragement. To get you started, we've got three helpful tips to get your kids excited for paddleboarding.
1. Explain the paddleboarding experience
Many children benefit from knowing the big picture before starting a new activity. This will help them understand how the equipment works and overall expectations. Give them a brief overview of the sport, how the equipment works and take them to an aquatic recreational area that would work well for paddleboarding with kids, such as a still water lake. You are already used to getting your children prepared for outdoor activities with sunscreen and bug spray. Take some time to review what to expect for the day’s paddleboarding adventure. Explain why you love paddleboarding and how you both can have fun together. You may even want to share with them how you learned about paddleboarding and why you decided to try it in the first place. You should also share fun stories of places where you have paddled and what different types of wildlife you've encountered.
2. Review water safety rules
Although you will be traveling in shallower waters at first, there are a few safety concerns with any aquatic sport. First of all, the child should not be afraid of the water. Also, you should be aware of their current swim level. When it comes to new aquatic adventures with kids, make sure to outfit them with a comfortable, properly fitting life vest. They are likely to fall into the water at first, and it is going to be okay. It's just like riding a bicycle, except they'll be standing on a board, floating on water. Also, review with the rules of the watercourse with your child. Make sure that you are paddleboarding with kids in a safe area that is designated for this kind of watercraft. Since your child is a beginner, make sure to pick a spot that is relatively shallow, not very crowded, and is away from motorboats that ride fast and make waves. Adventures with kids can be exciting, but make sure that you agree on a travel path before you start. Have them lead so that you can keep pace with them as they get the hang of it. Make sure that they understand to stop when they hear “stop” if they get too far ahead or close to danger. Also, have a plan in place if they end up getting tired during your trip. Having an extra leash or rope will allow you to tie their board to yours so you can paddle everyone back to where you started without having to push them to the point of discomfort .These tactics will also help you keep your patience as a leader as you guide your child through a new sporting experience.
3. Evaluate endurance
In addition to knowing how to swim, balance is key with successful paddleboarding adventures. Have your child practice balancing on the board beforehand on land. Review proper footing and tips on how to regain balance. Show them how they can get back on the paddleboard when they fall off. If your child is paddling on his or her own board, he or she will need enough strength and coordination to push the paddleboard through the water. You can easily practice paddling as you each hold your paddles. Have your child follow along as you demonstrate the movements from a safe distance from each other. If you plan to rent equipment from a waterside resort or sports shop, you can still practice oar coordination in advance by using a broomstick. Make sure to review how to move forward, move backward, stop and make turns.
Now get out and enjoy your time together!
Teaching a child a new skill can be very rewarding, but make sure that they can enjoy paddleboarding at their own pace. If they seem to be struggling at first, give them some encouragement. They are just starting and it takes courage to take on any new sport. Be patient with them and remind them that it takes time to build up strength and balance. You will find being an encouraging coach to them is very rewarding as they learn new life experiences, such as paddleboarding, that you can introduce them to.