Kids Paddle Board Guide…the simple guide to buying a kids SUP!
Paddle Boarding as a Family
Searching for a kids paddle board or kids SUP (stand up paddle board) can be a bit of a headache for parents. Some websites make choosing a kids paddle board sound super complicated but the truth is that children can pretty much jump onto any board and have loads of fun. They will probably even be able to stand up and paddle within an hour. It’s simplicity makes paddle boarding a brilliant activity for the whole family!
So, if you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids, paddle boarding may just be the answer!
SUPing has become really popular in the last few years and as a result there are now loads of boards to choose from! This is great…but it can also make it a little daunting for parents who are trying to select the best value kids SUP board.
That’s where we come in…
We’ve tried to make this Kids Paddle Board Guide as clear as possible and packed it with lots of useful tips and advice. There are links to some of the best value boards and safety gear that can be delivered to your door!
The way we see it…the sooner you choose a board and get the right equipment…the sooner you can get on the water!
Can my child just use an adults paddle board?
Basic paddle boarding doesn’t take a huge amount of skill but it’s definitely worth investing in some proper kit to make sure hat everyone in the family is safe and having the most fun possible.
There’s no reason why your child couldn’t try on a larger board before you invest in a specific board for them, but bare in mind that it will be much harder for them to control than a smaller child’s paddle board. Younger kids may get pretty frustrated with it if they’re unable to keep up or manoeuvre properly because they don’t have the appropriate equipment.
Also, getting kids their own boards means that you can go out together. So, if you want to set up your family for years of paddle boarding adventures then you’ll need to invest in some kit.
Types of Kids
We’ve researched, tried and tested kids paddle boards and have compiled everything we know into this Kids Paddle Board Guide.
There are two main types of paddleboards, solid SUPs and inflatable SUPs. The type you want will depend on how you will be using it. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide…
There are a few types of solid boards. The main ones that make good beginner boards for kids are:
Plastic SUPs which are the cheapest solid board bug they are pretty heavy and not as easy to manoeuvre in or out of the water.
EPS foam core are generally lightweight, affordable and harder wearing.
Advantages of Solid SUPs
- You may find that you feel more stable while standing on a solid board.
- They are easier to paddle than inflatables so if you’re looking to cover any distance you should consider a solid board.
- They look good. SUPs with added lightweight wood detailing look amazing!
- There is no need to inflate your board so you can be having fun sooner
Disadvantages of Solid SUPs
- They’re big so you need room to store them…if you’re a family of four then you’ll need a big garage and a big car!
- If you plan on taking them on holiday you need to think about where they can be stored safely. I’d not feel comfortable leaving expensive kit outside my tent all day.
Inflatable SUPs (iSUPs)
These are made from layers of PVC plastic with fibres joining the top and bottom layers together. A decent quality inflatable board should feel solid when inflated correctly. Look out for models that include useful features and extras like anti-slip surfaces, cargo nets and camera mounts.
Advantages of iSUPs
- They take up much less space so are much easier to store at home or transport in the car.
- Great for travelling as they just roll up and fit in a back pack.
- Perfect if your heading to water that’s not easier accessible by car…think tranquil lakes and estuaries.
- They’re softer so if kids fall off they’re less likely to hurt themshelves on the rails.
Disadvantages of iSUPs
- They may not feel as ‘solid’ to use.
- Not as hard wearing as solid boards. You will probably get a puncture repair kit included.
- They take some setting up so expect to spend a good 20 minutes getting your board inflated before each use.
What size paddle board does my child need?
You’ll notice when looking at paddle boards that they have a Volume measurement. This will tell you how buoyant it is in the water. The more buoyant, the more weight it can hold. Beginners want a Volume that is roughly double their weight in kg. So for example if your child weighs 30kg then you need a kids paddle board with a Volume of at least 60 litres (30kg x 2 = 60kg/ 60 litres). The more advanced, the less volume you need, so pros will be using boards with Volumes much closer to their body weight.
Choosing a Kids SUP board
Some websites over complicate things when it comes to choosing a kids paddle board. To be honest, as long as it is pretty rigid when inflated and is roughly the right size, then your child will have loads of fun.
Obviously, if your ten year old is going to be getting into long distance paddling or big wave surfing then you may like to research different shapes and sizes!
Below, we’ve recommended some kids paddle boards that will suit all ages. The first set of links will take you to amazon.com and the second set are links to the UK site. (They’re affiliate links which means that if you decide to purchase through our link then we make a little money…it won’t cost you anything and it’d be awesome!)
Buying An Affordable Board
As with most purchases, you get what you pay for. That being said, there are some really good affordable paddle boards to be found. You should still expect to pay a few hundred for a each board but they’ll give hours of fun and will resell well if you ever want to part with them.
Kids Paddle Board – USA
Affordable Solid SUPs for Kids – USA
|Great for kids up to 110lbs | Volume of 93 litres | 8ft long | Weighs 12lbs
Includes: Paddle, Leash, Fin
|Great for kids up to 180lbs | Volume of 140 litres | 8ft2 x 28″ | Weighs 14lbs
Foam top soft board.
Affordable Inflatable SUPs for Kids – USA
|Great for kids from 30 – 120lbs | 7ft x 30″ | 4 layer construction.
Includes: Travel bag, Hand pump, Repair kit.
|Great for kids up to 120lbs | 8ft x 30″ | 2 Year Warranty .
Includes: Pump, Paddle, Fins.
|Great for older kids and adults | 10ft x 30″
Includes: Leash, Travel bag, Hand pump, Repair kit, Paddle.
Kids Paddle Board – UK
Affordable Inflatable SUPs for Kids – UK
|Great for kids up to 60kg | 8ft. | Weighs 6.5kg! | Double layer skin
Includes: Leash, Travel bag, Hand pump, Paddle, Fin.
|Great for kids up to 95kg. | 9ft x 30″. | Weighs 10.7 kg | 3 ply reinforced .
Includes: Travel bag, Hand pump, Adjustable paddle, Repair kit
|Great for older kids. | 10ft x 30″ | Weighs 10kg.
Includes: Leash, Travel bag, Hand pump, Repair kit, Paddle, Fin.
Buying A Quality Brand Board
Quality brands that are better known may cost a little more but if you can afford buy one it will mean that your kids paddle board will resell more easily, should you ever want to part with it! Here are some great brands, including our favourite by Red Paddle Co…the strength of their boards has apparently even been tested by driving a tractor over the top!
Kids Paddle Board Brands – USA
Great for older kids and adults | 10ft 6 x 32″ | Weighs 22lbs
Includes: Travel bag, Hand pump, Phone case.
Kids Paddle Board Brands – UK
Great for kids up to 60kg | Volume 170 litres | 9ft4″ x 27″ | 1 year warranty.
Includes: Travel bag, Hand pump, Paddle, Fin.
A Board for the Whole Family
This board fits up to 10 people…it’s massive! So you could even bring Granny along! I’ve not tried a big family paddle board but I’d imagine that manouvering wouldn’t look like the most graceful form of paddle boarding…it does look fun though!
Safety Tips for Paddle Boarding with Kids
- Find somewhere with flat water and no hazards nearby like rocks. If you’re in the sea then choose a calm day with no wind. Even the flattest of seas can be a bit choppy when you paddle out a little.
- Start them off on your paddle board to begin with (check weight limit first). Let them sit, then kneel and then stand when they feel ready.
- Stay close. Children aged around 5 or 6 can start wearing a leash. Don’t put one on too young or they’ll get tangled. A leash will not only keep the board close but it will help them stay buoyant if they fall off.
- Practice jumping on and off the board with your child. Check that they can get back on when they need to. Getting wet early on will also mean that they’re less worried about falling off.
- Stay close by. Either on your own paddle board or in shallow waters alongside depending on their age and ability.
- Dress appropriately. Depending on the weather you’ll need to wear sunscreen and sun hats or wetsuits and boots (see suggestions below).
Kids SUP Paddles
If you buy a kids paddle board that doesn’t come with a paddle then take a look at our suggestions below. To get the correct paddle size, ask your child to hold their hand above their head (with a straight arm).The paddle length should measure the same as the height of the wrist from the floor. An adjustable paddle is a good choice if you’re not sure which paddle to go for.
Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
Make sure your child has a PFD that fits well, even if they can swim.
If it’s a cooler day then a wetsuit is a good idea. You can choose between shorties with short legs and arms or full suits that will keep your child warmer.
Boots will help kids to grip to the board meaning they’re less likely to keep falling off.
Extremely Useful Kit
What do you do with your car keys, camera and snack when you set off on your family paddle!? We’ve managed to destroy one electric car key in a pair of shorts that ended up in the sea! Expensive mistake! Invest in a dry bag and mobile cases and you don’t need to worry!
Waterproof phone pouch
Just for fun!
Do I need to say anything about these!? They’re hilarious! They attach to your kids paddle board for a little extra fun factor!
Paddle Boarding Community
So, you’re kit is sorted now and you just need somewhere to paddle. With paddle boarding being one of the fastest growing sports at the moment it shouldn’t be too difficult to find like minded people near you. Search for groups on Facebook to find some for your area. They’re a great place to ask about safe places to paddle with kids or to ask any other questions you have about paddle boarding. Some areas also have clubs or meet ups that are great places for learning a little confidence and picking up new skills.
Just type ‘where you live’ and the word/s ‘sup’ or ‘paddle boarding’ into the search on Facebook and see what comes up!
For us paddle boarding is about fun, fresh air and fitness. We’d love to hear why you’re keen to get paddling with your kids…let us know in the comments!
We hope that we’ve helped you to find the perfect kids paddle board.