Hala Gear ambassador Jessica Loman Inch loves sharing her SUP experience with her children. As you can imagine, this is not the simplest task and requires years of honing in. Jessica has compiled five helpful tips to create a stand up paddle adventure that will be enjoyable for both you and your kids.
SUP at Any Age
Stand Up Paddleboarding can be introduced to children at a young age. There are no age limits; if stand up paddleboards get kids out onto the water, encourage adventure, and help protect our environment, then we should encourage it at any age. Start gradually – kids can start out by sitting on a board with a parent until they feel comfortable on their own. Adjustable paddles can be fitted to the child. By providing a safe and enjoyable experience, we are teaching them valuable life lessons. If a parent doesn’t have the proper equipment or knowledge, I highly recommend taking a class with a certified SUP instructor.
Modeling appropriate behavior is the best educational tool. If I want my children to be safe on the water then I need to set an example by using a PFD and appropriate leash. I usually have a float plan that keeps our Hala SUPS close to shore. I also teach kids about the importance of checking the weather prior to being on the water. Don’t forget to lather on the sunscreen, and pack plenty of drinking water and adequate snacks, especially for longer paddles.
Make it Fun!
Paddling techniques are hard to learn, especially when children are young. After all, it’s not natural to stand on water! Keep the focus on teaching one or two skills, but keep it light so it does not discourage them. Making up a game to help with hand placement on the paddle can help. Try playing follow – the- leader to stay in a straight line!
Encourage kids to help with trip planning. Providing an opportunity for the more experienced child to help teach the newer paddlers can help build confidence in their skills and also reinforce teamwork. Teaching kids to be stewards of our waterways is truly empowering.
Enjoy the Moment!
Be present, have fun, and appreciate the sights and sounds while out on the water. This is an opportunity to be out in nature without life’s distractions and enjoy some technology-free fun. It’s always interesting to view paddling from the perspective of a child. They are soaking up the new experiences with such gratitude and remind me that it is a privilege to experience the wonders of nature on the water.
These happy, paddling memories will last a lifetime, instill a sense of adventure in us all, and build trusting relationships. Paddle on!
Jessica Inch is an ambassador for Hala Gear.