Before buying a stand-up paddle board, there are many factors to consider, especially if you’re getting one for your kids. If you love paddleboarding and have kids, it’s only fair that you want to do it together. Not only is paddleboarding fun, but there are also many health benefits of SUP for kids.
Stand-up paddle boards designed for kids are typically much smaller than regular adult-sized boards and are therefore less expensive. If you’ve been thinking about getting a stand-up paddle board for your kids, this article has everything you need to consider beforehand.
Let’s get right into it.
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What to Consider Before Buying A Kids Stand-Up Paddleboard
These are the ten most important factors to consider before buying a SUP for your kids.
The first thing to consider before buying is stand-up paddleboard safety. Kids and teenagers are generally more reckless in doing their activities, including paddling. The last thing you want to happen to your kids is falling off the board without any safety precautions.
You should look for a paddle board with safety measures like ankle leash tying loops and puncture-resistant vinyl in place. On top of that, you should make sure that your kids wear a personal flotation device (PFD) whenever you take them paddling.
2. Inflatable vs. Hardshell Paddle Boards
While hardshell SUPs have better overall performance, they are quite expensive and require a certain level of skills to use. The sharp edges of hardshell SUPs are not as kid friendly.
With that said, an inflatable SUP is the better choice for your kids. Besides the more affordable price, inflatable SUPs are much more beginner-friendly and forgiving when your kids eventually slip and fall onto the board.
The SUP’s size also determines how much your kids can enjoy the activity. Generally, your kids can use a 9 – 10′ all-rounder board, but it can be too clunky and large for their size. A 7-foot river-surfing paddleboard can be the perfect size for young kids to play around in a lake under nice weather.
However, you should always put the near future into consideration. Kids grow up fast – especially if they’re closing in on the teenage ages. If you want to have a SUP that your kids can use for years, it’s worth getting a larger model.
A wider SUP typically has better stability on the water, allowing your kids more room to maneuver while they’re paddling. While a 30″ wide SUP may be the standard for adults, it may be too much for children and make it harder for them to paddle. A board between 26″- 29″ wide should have just enough balance and stability for your kids.
A wide paddle board has to sacrifice speed in exchange for stability. But if there’s a time where you have to pick between stability and speed, you should always pick stability. Once your kids are used to balancing themselves on the board, you can treat them with a faster model.
Thickness is also an important factor to consider for a kids’ SUP. A thinner board would work better for kids since it will sit lower on the water and give better balance. Thinner SUPs are also easier to climb back onto in case they fall off the board.
A 5-inch thick paddle board should have a perfect balance between stability and durability. But it can be difficult to find a kids-sized paddle board with 5-inch thickness. If that’s the case, you can get the smallest variant of an adult-sized paddle board model.
6. Deck Pad
The SUP’s deck pad is another important factor to consider because it determines the paddling comfort and experience in general. When it’s possible, always choose the board with a textured deck pad.
A textured deck pad will allow your kids to have a better grip and have better stability while paddling. Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is the most popular deck pad material since it’s durable, comfortable, and high-traction. But if you can’t find a kid’s SUP with a textured deck pad, you can buy a third-party EVA mat and install it yourself with an adhesive.
While a SUP made for kids is typically less expensive than adult-sized ones, it’s still worth setting your budget. There is an overwhelming number of options when it comes to stand-up paddle boards. Setting a budget will help you narrow down the choices you can buy.
You should also keep in mind that your kids will outgrow the SUP in a few short years. There’s nothing wrong with saving your money to buy the best budget SUPs when your kids have grown up.
8. Fin Setup
Kids like to tinker with any removable part of their paddleboards, and therefore you want a board with a fixed fin setup. That way, you won’t have to worry about them losing the fins when you want to take them to the lake.
Ideally, a fixed three-fin setup is the best route you can take. A three-fins setup provides a better turning ability for the board without sacrificing too much speed – in other words, an overall better setup for beginner and kid paddlers.
9. SUP Design
If you’re trying to get your kids to love paddle boarding as much as you do, you should pay more attention to the colors and designs they like. Kids’ paddle boards usually have brighter and more fun designs. But if your kids prefer a more understated look, there’s nothing wrong with getting a small adult-sized board with a design that they like better.
Kids often break stuff, including their brand-new stand-up paddle board. If you don’t want to buy a new paddle board every time you take them on a lake trip, you should invest in higher-quality boards. You can pick a SUP model from highly respected brands like Bluefin, Damaw Youth, Yaska, Red and Thurso that have proven the durability of their boards.
Picking a paddle board for kids isn’t the same as picking one for yourself. There are many more safety and durability factors that you should consider when buying a SUP for kids.
You may not find a perfect board that has everything you want, but these factors should help you narrow down your choices and make the right purchase.
Katie Saunders is a water sports enthusiast. She loves getting out on the water with her kids especially on their inflatable stand up paddle board. Katie formed the Inflatable Sports Guide community to share her knowledge and inspire others to get out on the water and have some fun!