Stand Up Paddleboarding for Families: How to Get Your Kids Involved

Stand Up Paddleboarding for Families: How to Get Your Kids Involved

Stand up paddleboarding with kids (SUP) is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors, get some exercise, and spend quality time with your family. Introducing your kids to SUP can be a rewarding experience, fostering their love for water activities and building lifelong memories. Here’s how to get your kids involved in stand up paddleboarding, ensuring they have fun and stay safe.

1. Choose the Right Equipment

Selecting the right paddleboard is crucial when introducing your kids to SUP. Consider the following:

Board Size and Stability: Choose a wider and more stable board, which provides a better balance for kids. Inflatable paddleboards are often a good choice due to their buoyancy and soft surface, making them safer for children.

Paddle Size: Ensure the paddle is the correct size for your child. Adjustable paddles are ideal as they can be resized as your child grows.

Safety Gear: Equip your kids with properly fitting life jackets. A leash that attaches the rider to the board is also a good idea to prevent the board from drifting away if they fall off.

2. Start with the Basics

Before hitting the water, teach your kids the basics of paddleboarding on land. Show them how to hold the paddle, the correct stance, and basic paddling techniques. Practicing on land helps build their confidence and makes them feel more secure once they're on the water.

3. Choose Calm Waters

When starting out, select a location with calm, shallow waters. Lakes, bays, or slow-moving rivers are ideal for beginners. Avoid areas with strong currents, waves, or heavy boat traffic, as these can be intimidating and dangerous for kids.

4. Make It Fun

Kids are more likely to enjoy paddleboarding if it’s presented as a fun activity. Incorporate games and challenges such as:

Balance Games: Have them try to balance on one leg or do a little dance on the board.

Races: Set up small races or obstacle courses to make paddling more engaging.

Nature Exploration: Turn the activity into a mini adventure by exploring the local flora and fauna. Look for fish, birds, and interesting plants.

5. Keep It Short and Sweet

Kids typically have shorter attention spans and may tire quickly. Keep the initial paddleboarding sessions short to prevent them from becoming bored or frustrated. Gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable and confident on the board.

6. Encourage and Praise

Positive reinforcement is key to building your child’s confidence. Encourage them when they try something new and praise their efforts, regardless of the outcome. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, to keep their enthusiasm high.

7. Safety First

Safety should always be your top priority when paddleboarding with kids. Here are some important tips:

Supervision: Always keep a close eye on your kids while they’re on the water. Stay within a reasonable distance to assist if needed.

Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before heading out and avoid paddleboarding in adverse conditions such as strong winds, thunderstorms, or extreme temperatures.

Hydration and Sunscreen: Ensure your kids stay hydrated and protected from the sun. Bring plenty of water and apply sunscreen regularly.

8. Progress at Their Pace

Every child is different, and their comfort level with paddleboarding will vary. Allow them to progress at their own pace. Some kids might take to it immediately, while others may need more time to feel comfortable. Be patient and supportive throughout the learning process.


Stand up paddleboarding is a wonderful family activity that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. By choosing the right equipment, starting with the basics, and making the experience fun and safe, you can foster a love for SUP in your children. Remember to keep sessions short and engaging, encourage and praise their efforts, and prioritize safety at all times. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating memorable paddleboarding adventures with your family. Happy paddling!

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