Are you thinking about buying a kids stand up paddle board? It’s fun to take your kids paddling with you on the deck of your stand up paddleboard, but if they show a true interest in the sport, it’s even better when they can learn to paddle on their own. When shopping for kids’ paddleboards, think about what your child is most likely to be doing on the board. Paddling, obviously. However, do you think they’ll want to learn to surf or will they just cruise around with you? Do they have a competitive spark?
There are different boards for different paddling activities. Save yourself money and make sure your little paddler is headed in the right direction by deciding which part of paddling you will pursue together first. (Because, let’s face it, there’s a good chance your grom or grommette will want to try everything at some point.) You can click here for more SUP board choices.
Kid’s Surf Paddleboards & Cruising Boards
Luckily, kids can surf and cruise on the same type of board. These boards have what are called “planing hulls” that scoot across the surface of the water. Surf boards will have a little bit more “rocker” (the curve on the bottom of the board) to help catch and keep waves than the completely “cruising” oriented boards will have. If you think your child will surf more than cruise, definitely start by looking for a surf-style SUP. The Riviera brand is a good one for a surf/cruising crossover. In this board category we have the Riviera 8-Foot Soft Top SUP for kids available at Carolina Paddleboard Co.
Children’s SUP Race Boards
If your little paddler likes to race and win, go straight for a kid’s race board. The 11-foot Bark Hero SUP from Surftech is made especially for this. It exhibits all of the features of an adult race board—displacement hull (to slice through the water), slight rocker for catching bumps, and slick graphics—but sized for kids. And if you want to go with a little more high-performance option for a serious child paddler, we have the 11′ Bark Challenger built with a lighter Pro-Elite construction.
Race boards are also more comfortable and easier for kids to paddle if they’re going to be tagging along with you for longer paddles. (You’ll be more comfortable, too, because you’ll be able to paddle a bit instead of just floating along.)
How Do You Know You’re Buying a Kid’s Board?
Some stand up paddleboards for kids are labeled as that. The truth is, kids can paddle anything if it is narrow enough, but true kids’ boards are between 7 feet to 12 feet 6 inches long and no more than 25-28 inches wide. You might also take into consideration transportation and whether your child can carry their board to and from the water.
Other characteristics of kids stand up paddle boards can include (but are by no means limited to!) a foam top, lighter weight construction, and brighter graphics.
Why go for a kids’ board instead of a narrow adult board?
If your child is a super high performing paddle phenom, then a high performance, narrow, lightweight race board might be the right choice for you. We are finding, though, that kids can develop a better stroke when they’re started on a board that is sized appropriately. With more and more kids starting to paddle daily, you can always flip your kid’s board and get a new one as they grow. Call or come by the shop to talk to one of our pro’s to help with board selection or shop kids boards online here and don’t forget to check our SUP sale items.