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If you’re looking for the best paddle boards, we’ve got some recommendations. Warmer weather means it’s time to pack up the family and head for the water for some splish-splashing fun. Aside from grabbing all your ocean (hi, boogie boards!), river, and lake toys, why not give paddle boarding a go? Investing in a kids’ paddleboard is a fun idea for how to get your children active on the water — as long as they can swim. These oversized boards actually make gliding on the water pretty easy once you all get the hang of it. All you have to do is strap it to your kid’s ankle, hand them a paddle, and send them out…OK, so it might take a little more than that, like teaching them water safety (lessons from an instructor and/or closely supervising are recommended!), but once they’ve mastered the paddle board, they can just go, go, go!
According to Layne Pennell, paddle board expert and founder of Wappa Paddle Boards, purchasing a paddle board for a child is not much different than picking one for an adult. “The same basic questions have to be asked. The only difference is accounting for the child’s age and how much more they are expected to grow over the next five years,” he told Scary Mommy.
Inflatable vs Hard Paddle Boards
Hard paddle boards are definitely more intense mama, but depending on what activities your kiddo plans to do with their paddle board, it could be a better fit. Hard paddle boards are heavier and easier to control in the water which makes it great for catching waves, racing, etc.
“If your child is serious about the sport, and you have the budget, then a hardboard should be the choice,” Pennell suggests. “Every inflatable paddle board strives to be as effective in the water as a hardboard. Rigid paddle boards have superior glide through the water. Ultimately, a paddle board’s glide is a large part of the experience.”
Inflatable paddle boards are great for casual fun, lounging, and relaxing days on the lake. Because they’re inflatable, they’re much lighter and easier to carry around (great for kids!). Inflatable paddle boards are also great for those that travel a lot — you don’t want to carry around a huge board everywhere do ya?
“These types of boards are less expensive and store easier than hard boards,” Pennell continued. “If you think your child might lose interest, then an inflatable may be a more cost-effective decision. If you live in an apartment or have limited storage space, then an inflatable may also work better.”
What is a SUP board?
SUP stands for ‘Stand-Up Paddle’ board. The sport is similar to surfing, but of course, involves using a paddle to move through the water and is much easier to get the hang of.
What size is a kids’ paddle board?
A youth or child-size paddleboard usually ranges between 6 and 10 feet long and about 30 inches wide. At this length, it’s easier to maneuver as their limbs are naturally shorter.
Pennell’s last piece of advice? Pay attention to the weight/displacement ratio, and what stage your kiddo is in, in their physical development. “Try to get a ratio of roughly 1:1 or no more than 1:1.5 if there is still a lot of growing to do,” Pennell said. “Match the paddle board’s style to meet your child’s goals and you will have a selection that everyone will be happy with for many years.”
Ahead, we’ve picked out some of the best kids’ paddle boards, including some that are perfect for the two of you to ride on together. Let’s head out on the water! P.S. Always remember to put a life jacket on your children when they’re taking part in water activities.
Best Kids’ Paddle Boards
Stand out while on the water with the bright pink color of the SEASEESUP Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board. This board in particular is great for kids, because it’s made a little bit bigger than other boards, so it provides more stability. It also holds up to 370 pounds, so you could even get on the board with your little ones to enjoy the adventure together.
One Reviewer Says: “Absolutely love this SUP! Best one I have ever purchased! So easy to inflate with the pump included! Lightweight and well made! I've taken it in the Gulf every day since I received it! I highly recommend this SUP!”
The YASKA Children’s Stand Up Paddle Board is designed especially for little ones. It’s a little bit smaller than a standard board — 9 feet long and 4 inches thick — so it can be easier for children to handle and paddle. But even though it’s smaller, it’s still a stable enough base for kids to use on lakes and rivers.
One Reviewer Says: “It’s awesome!”
Best Inflatable Paddle Board for Kids
The Swonder Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard is made to be ultra-lightweight, so it’s easy for the kids to carry it on their own. It’s easy enough to roll it up and tuck it into its carrying case — which means it’s also easy enough to store at home. This board is also inflatable, and Swonder notes on Amazon that the boards are made from military-grade PVC, so you don’t have to worry about it losing its shape and stability.
One Reviewer Says: “I now have 3 paddle boards. I ordered this one after another board did not arrive in time. I eventually got that board but found the Swonder is my favorite. In fact, 3 other friends have since purchased this same board. Thank you for coming out with a reliable yet stylish and affordable paddle board. It steers great, rides nice on top of the water, and feels lighter than my 17lb board!”
The SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is a solid option for your beginner paddle boarders. It’s 10 feet long for stability and comes with a pump so you can easily fill it up — or you can make your kids fill up their own paddle board. We support that.
One Reviewer Says: “This product deserves every bit of the 5-star rating I gave it. I've only been able to use it a few times, but it has been so fun and convenient to use. I'm planning on bringing it with me on a beach vacation soon!”
Best Stand-Up Paddle Boards for Kids
Here are the best SUP boards for kids!
Hook your little one’s ankle to this Bestway Hydro-Force Oceana Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board and they’ll be ready to go. This board is probably better for your older children, though it’s designed to be very stable on the water, which is perfect for newbies. You can take it out on the ocean, a river, or a lake and paddle around at your leisure. It holds up to 220 pounds and has a cushioned feel that little feet can grip onto.
One Reviewer Says: “First-time paddleboarder so I didn't want to spend a lot in case it wasn't for me. I'm now hooked. Lightweight for me to carry by myself. I can lift over my head to put on my Kia. I bungee it down and head to [the] lake. Maneuvers great.. LOVE the seat and backrest. I can sit and paddle, like on a kayak.”
Kids will love the graphic design on the Goplus Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board and parents will love how easy it makes it for kids to paddle board. The durable paddle board has three bottom fins to keep it balanced while on the water, and there’s plenty of surface area for small feet to stand on. Plus, it has a textured surface to prevent slipping.
One Reviewer Says: “It took me about 15-20 mins to inflate, is easy to carry and I love it overall. It comes with everything you need to have a good time on the water!”
The FBSPORT Premium Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is a sturdy 6 inches thick. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, this paddle board is also on the large side. This would be a great option for your teens who can handle a bigger surface area. It also has a large textured surface area on the top for gripping, so that will make it easier for your kid to find their footing and paddle on by.
One Reviewer Says: “I bought 2 of these because the price point is fantastic even though we wanted a hard board. They came on time and were fantastic! The Biscayne Bay had a very low chop and, being 6’ tall, I had to paddle on my knees since the stability is a slight issue. When the water was calmer and flat, [standing] up was no issue. Sturdy, comfy on the knees and bare feet, the bag holds everything well, and the straps are quality. You CANNOT beat this! Pull the trigger and buy one... or 2!”
Long Paddle Boards
This board measures in at 7'8'' x 28'' x 6", and is capable of supporting up to 176, making it a great option for younger paddleboard fans. The Freein Kids inflatable board is also lightweight, making it easy to travel with.
One Reviewer Says: “This is a perfect size for kids. My daughter is a tall 7-year-old and she’s able to carry it and maneuver it easily. My 11-year-old is also able to use it with ease and it’s not too small for him. This is absolutely a great board for kids to enjoy and learn on. Going on 2 plus hours of fun at the beach tonight with the new board”
This 10-foot SUP board is good for both kids and adults, and can support up to 242 pounds. This paddle board has a nonslip EVA deck pad, so it’s a bit more stable. At just 19 pounds, it’s also easy to carry around and bring to the beach. It’s great for everything, from paddling to yoga.
One Reviewer Says: “The quality is amazing, extremely sturdy and durable. I really like all the accessories it comes with. I haven’t had a chance to use it on the lake yet but I pumped it up and put everything together and so far it’s everything I hoped for.”
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