One of the best things about being a parent is getting to share the things you love with your children. My daughters are 5, 4, and 2, and I’ve had them all out on my paddleboard several times now. At first I was afraid to SUP with kids, but now it’s a blast.
Initially I was scared to take the kids out on my paddle board. I figured they wouldn’t sit still, flip the board and we’d all end up in the water. But one day as I was heading out for a paddle, my oldest daughters asked if they could come. I paused for a moment, and then said, “ummm, of course!” We got down to the beach and I laid out the ground rules:
#1 Always wear your lifejacket
#2 Sit in the middle of the board and stay there.
#3 Always listen to Dad (this one should also be a rule outside of paddle boarding, but hey…)
I sat them up front on the board and we slowly paddled into the creek near our house. At first they seemed a little hesitant due to the tippy-ness of the board—if it dipped to one side they would overcorrect and then tip us the other way, with me trying to counter balance as I paddled. But after a few minutes we all got more comfortable and were cruising along.
I was excited that they seemed to be enjoying something that I also enjoy. But I quickly realized that the best thing about paddling with your kids is the opportunity to teach them new things. My daughters began asking SO MANY questions. They were pointing out the wildlife, trying to identify the types of birds around the water. Then asking what they eat. Then asking about the boats. “Why are there so many different kinds?” So I told them about fishing boats, and sailboats, and row boats, and all of the differences in design. They learned about buoys and channel markers and what they mean. They learned about tides and currents, and wind. I realized that the simple act of taking them out on my board was giving them a new perspective about life in- and around the water.
If your kids are old enough and you feel comfortable with the idea, I highly encourage getting them out on a paddle board. Soon I hope to get my girls paddling on their own.
Safety reminder: Always have your child wear a lifejacket, even if they are good swimmers.