Choosing a Kids Paddle Board | 2020 Guide
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.
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 for 2019 as clear as possible and packed it with lots of useful tips and advice.
This post is packed with info (over 2000 words of it!) so if you want to skip straight to our best Kids Paddle Board picks then click here.
We’ve included links to some of the best value boards and safety gear.
The way we see it…the sooner you choose a board and get the right equipment…the sooner you can get on the water!
Choosing A Kids Paddle Board
We’ve researched, tried and tested kids paddle boards and have compiled everything we know into this Kids Paddle Board Guide for 2019.
Can My Child Use An Adults Paddle Board?
There’s no reason why your child can’t try on a larger board before you invest in a specific board for them.
Bear in mind though 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 Paddle Boards
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 you’re 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 themselves 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.
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.
Buying 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 on a paddle board.
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.
Links may be affiliate.
Buying New, Second-Hand or Renting a Kids Paddle Board
It’s definitely worth renting or borrowing a board first to check that it’s something your child will enjoy.
Most seaside resorts will hire SUP boards and equipment and deliver family lessons at a reasonable price.
If you decide that you want to buy then you can either check out these new kids SUP boards online or find a local sports shop that sells SUP boards.
Another great option is to lookout for a second-hand board.
Finding a second-hand Kids SUP Board…
1. Contact your local hire shops to see if they have boards or equipment for sale.
2. Take a look on Ebay to see what’s available.
3. Look up your local sports shops to see if they sell used boards.
4. Find a local Facebook sales page and search for boards or ask if anyone has anything for sale.
Best Affordable Kids Paddle 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.
Here are our favourites:
Affordable Solid Kids Paddle Boards – available from the 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 – available from the 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.
Affordable Inflatable SUPs for Kids – available from the 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.
Well-Known Brand Kids Paddle Board
Well-known, quality brands that are better known may cost a little more they will resell more easily, should you ever want to part with it!
Kids Paddle Board Brands – from the USA
Great for older kids and adults | 10ft 6 x 32″ | Weighs 22lbs
Includes: Travel bag, Hand pump, Phone case.
Kids Paddle Board Brands – from the UK
Great for kids up to 60kg | Volume 170 litres | 9ft4″ x 27″ | 1 year warranty.
Includes: Travel bag, Hand pump, Paddle, Fin.
If you’re in the UK then you should also take a look at McConks who work hard to create ethical and sustainable inflatable boards.
Family Paddle Boards
This board fits up to 10 people…it’s massive! So you can even bring Granny along!
Other Kids SUP Equipment
You’ll need a kids paddle if your board doesn’t come with one.
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)
If it’s a cooler day then a wetsuit is probably a good idea.
You can choose between shorties with short legs and arms or full suits that will keep your child warmer.
We managed to find our boys some awesome ex-rental suits.
Boots stop little feet getting too cold and also help kids to grip to the board meaning they’re less likely to fall 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
We hope that we’ve helped you to find the perfect kids paddle board.