Paddle Boarding with Kids: 6 Expert Tips for Creating Unforgettable Moments

We’ve always found paddle boarding to be a fantastic way to bond with our kids. It’s not just about the thrill of gliding through the water, it’s also about the laughter, the shared moments, and the memories we create. But let’s be honest, paddle boarding with kids isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

That’s why I’ve put together my top 6 tips for paddle boarding with kids. These handy tips are designed to make your next family paddle boarding adventure a breeze. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a paddle boarding newbie, you’ll find these tips invaluable.

Choose the Right Equipment

When it comes to paddle boarding with kids, one important aspect that can’t be overlooked is choosing the right equipment. It plays a pivotal role in enhancing safety and ensuring an enjoyable experience.

Initial trials may present a certain degree of difficulty, but it’s crucial to find the perfect fit for the size and weight of your child. Personal floatation devices (PFDs) are an absolute essential for kids. They provide safety while also lending a sense of comfort on the water. Make sure the PFDs fit well, ensuring they’re neither too loose nor too tight.

Selecting a suitable paddle board may take some consideration. For families with more than one child, or beginners, I’d recommend trying inflatable paddle boards. They’re easier to handle, particularly for children, being light and easy to manoeuvre. Equally, they are more comfortable for kids to sit or kneel on than hardboards.

Additionally, the paddle’s length is another factor to consider. Majority of paddles have adjustable lengths, allowing users to accommodate them according to their comfort and needs. When choosing a paddle length for your child, bear in mind that it should be around 6-8 inches taller than the user. This ensures your child can perform paddle strokes efficiently without straining themselves.

personal floatation devices (PFDs)Must fit snuggly
paddle boardInflatable
paddlesLength to be 6-8 inches taller than the user

Finding the right equipment may seem tedious but it’s a small price to pay for the sheer joy of witnessing your child’s exhilarated expressions while they paddle and the peace of mind that they’re safe. It’s not just about the gear, but also about setting them up for success in this adventurous journey that awaits.

Start in Calm Waters

Taking into account the safety and comfort of the kids, one vital tip I’d give to families beginning their paddle boarding journey would be to Start in Calm Waters. This is a terrific way of getting kids accustomed to the watersport without overwhelming them. It’s also important to remember that the conditions of the environment play a significant role in the paddle boarding experience.

Calm waters refer to water bodies with minimal wave action, such as small lakes or ponds. Unlike rough seas or rivers with strong currents, these offer a much more stable platform for kids to learn paddle boarding. Imagine it’s like starting young batters off with tee-ball before introducing them to full-on fast pitching – you are providing the right level of challenge for enjoyable learning without generating unnecessary fear or discouragement.

You might be wondering, ‘Why is starting in calm waters so important?‘ Well, it’s quite simple. It’s all about creating that perfect balance between safety and fun. Paddle boarding in calm waters :

  • Reduces the risk of capsizing
  • Helps the rider gain good balance and control
  • Gives the rider ample time to learn paddle handling techniques
  • Boosts the rider’s confidence for challenging waters in the future

If you’re looking to go paddleboarding as a family, look no further than Hunstanton Watersports. We’ve been doing this for years and our instructors are as qualified as can be. Or, if you’re looking for some lake paddleboarding instead of on our beautiful Norfolk Coast, check out our sister company, Bawsey Bay Watersports.

Do remember to keep an eye on the weather as well, since weather conditions significantly influence the state of the water. A sunny, windless day is ideal for your first few paddle boarding experiences. Isolated weather events, such as sudden rain or wind gusts, can unexpectedly change calm waters into rough seas. By contrast, consistent, fine weather ensures the waters will stay calm, providing the best possible conditions for teaching kids how to paddle board.

The Importance of Supervision

Supervision, another crucial factor while taking kids paddle boarding, cannot be overstated. Never leave your child unsupervised, especially in the early phases of learning. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a paddle boarding expert yourself, but familiarising yourself with rescue procedures and ensuring you’re a confident swimmer will certainly add an extra layer of security.

Ensure Safety First

The key to a great paddle boarding experience lies in its safety measures, and this is especially critical when kids are involved. By making sure you’ve got all the bases covered, you’ll be helping to create a fun, stress-free day for everyone.

First and foremost is the choice of equipment. The decision here can make a significant difference in ensuring the safety of your children. It’s crucial to choose the right paddle board size for your child. A board that’s too big will be difficult to control, while one that’s too small may not provide the stability required. An average board size for kids would usually range from 7’6″ to 8’0″ in length. High quality, child-specific paddle boards offer more stability and are usually lighter than their adult counterparts, making them easier for kids to manoeuvre.

Along with the board, right sized paddles are equally important. Too long, and it becomes an unwieldy oar causing discomfort and extra strain on the child’s arms. An ideal paddle length for kids is about 2 feet shorter than their height.

Secondly, suitable life jackets are non-negotiable for water sports and paddle boarding is no exception. Even if your child is an excellent swimmer, a life jacket must always be worn. Ensure it’s the right fit and designed specifically for water board sports. Other safety gear like helmets and knee pads can add an extra level of protection.

The use of a safety leash is also essential. Attached to the child’s ankle and the board, it ensures the board doesn’t drift away if they happen to fall off. Remember to select the right leash length; it should be roughly the same as the board length.

Lastly, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the weather condition and water currents. As I previously mentioned, a sunny, calm day without high winds or strong currents proves ideal for beginners.

By rigorously ensuring these safety measures, you’re providing a stable and controlled environment for your children to enjoy paddle boarding, instilling confidence while preserving the fun.

Keep them Engaged

Now that we’ve covered the fundamental safety aspects of paddle boarding with your little ones, we can focus on the importance of engagement. Remember, children have a relatively short attention span. So, when introducing something new like paddle boarding, the key to success lies in maintaining a high level of engagement to keep it enjoyable and rewarding for them.

One effective strategy is creating games. These could involve friendly races, treasure hunts, or even spotting different kinds of wildlife. Even a simple paddle around the lake/sea becomes a lot more exciting if they’ve got a purpose or a goal. Complement this with short, achievable challenges like ‘first to reach that buoy’ or ‘spot the most number of ducks’. To keep it fun, make sure everyone gets a turn at setting the day’s challenge.

Another useful tip is using visuals for teaching. Not every child is adept at following verbal instructions alone. Utilising visual aids such as diagrams or even demonstrating techniques yourself often helps create a more comprehensive understanding. So, instead of simply telling them how to stand or paddle, show them. In doing so, you have a better chance of holding their interest and making the learning experience more hands-on and interactive.

Keeping them on the move is essential as well. Long periods of inactivity can lead your child to lose interest quickly. However, consider their stamina and avoid pushing them beyond their limits. Comfort breaks and snack times are also crucial. Energy levels can dip during intensive activities like paddle boarding, making it essential to stay well hydrated and nourished.

Instilling a sense of responsibility can be beneficial, too. You can achieve this by involving them in every aspect of paddle boarding, from carrying their kit to cleaning up afterwards. This inclusive approach will not only keep them engaged but also help build a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Remember, the goal is not to carve out a world champion paddle boarder but to foster a love for the sport, the outdoors, and most importantly, to create fun and lasting memories with your kids. As we delve deeper into this topic in the subsequent sections, we’ll explore more ideas for ensuring a seamless and enjoyable paddle boarding experience with kids.

Pack Plenty of Snacks and Drinks

When you’re out paddle boarding with your little ones, it’s critical to stay fuelled and hydrated. Packing plenty of snacks and drinks keeps energy levels up and kids content. Remember, a kid with a full stomach is a happy kid.

First off, for hydration, water is a must. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun, so I make sure to bring enough water for everyone. Flavoured electrolyte packets can be a big hit if your kids aren’t big fans of drinking water. If you’re going for a long excursion, consider freeze-packing some of your drinks. They’ll thaw gradually and keep everything else cool at the same time.

On to snacks! Not all snacks are created equal when it comes to paddle boarding. Some important considerations are snack longevity, nutritional content, and ease of consumption.

It’s preferable to opt for snacks that don’t melt or spoil quickly. Here are examples of a few paddle board-friendly snacks:

  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, and oranges. They’re wrapped by nature – perfect for an outdoor adventure.
  • Energy bars: Quick, portable, and usually not very messy.
  • Nuts and seeds: These are trail mix staples for a reason. They provide long-lasting energy.

Considering nutritional content, try to pack a balance of proteins, fats, and carbs. They’ll give slow-burning energy to keep everyone paddling.

Finally, consider how easy the snacks are to eat. It’s best to choose items that are not too messy and can be eaten single-handedly. On a paddle board, there isn’t much room for a full banquet!

Capture the Memories

Paddle boarding with kids isn’t just about the physical activity. It’s also about creating unforgettable memories. Keeping these precious moments alive could make your children appreciate and look back on with fondness. There’s something magical about paddling out onto a still lake or quiet sea, the sun shining, and the gentle ripple of water around your board. These experiences are meant to be treasured, whether it’s your child’s first time or hundredth time paddle boarding, and here are a few ways to do just that.

Snap Some Pictures. Today, almost everyone possesses a smartphone with a decent camera. Utilise it. Capture your kids’ wide-eyed expressions, their first attempt standing on the paddle board, the serene panorama. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Silhouettes, close-ups, candid – possibilities are limitless with a camera in your hand. Remember, waterproof your device. Or better yet, grab a waterproof camera.

Create a Paddle Boarding Journal. Writing experiences tends to make them more tangible. Encourage your kids to jot down their thoughts, observations, and feelings post-paddle boarding. Ask them questions like: what did they visit? What animals did they see? What was the water like? This not only boosts their writing skills but also deepens their connection to nature.

Collect Souvenirs. Bring back a small reminder of your day at the water. It could be an interesting pebble, a shell, an odd-shaped driftwood piece – as natural, personal, and interesting as possible. Create a ‘memory box’ filled with these trinkets – each evoking their own unique paddle boarding story.

In a digital age where every moment is fleeting, these physical tokens of your shared experiences are invaluable. They’re a testament to the joy, challenges, and growth that paddle boarding brings into your kids’ lives. So, on your next paddle boarding adventure, remember to carry more than just your snacks and drinks. Equip yourself with a camera, a journal, and an eagerness to capture the magic.


So there you have it. Paddle boarding with kids isn’t just about the sport itself. It’s about creating memories, bonding with nature and nurturing a sense of wonder. It’s about capturing the joy in their eyes with a click, jotting down their innocent observations in a journal and collecting souvenirs that’ll remind them of their adventures. It’s about seizing those magical moments that go beyond the board and the paddle. So next time you head out, remember to take more than just your paddle board. Take a camera, a journal and an open heart. Because paddle boarding with kids is more than a sport, it’s a journey of discovery and growth.

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