Which paddle board for kids is best?
Paddle boarding is a hybrid of surfing and kayaking. You stand on a paddle board as you would on a surfboard and paddle as you would a kayak. Also called stand-up paddle boarding, it’s a great way to have fun on the water while getting a full-body workout.
The biggest difference between paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking is that surfers and kayakers can handle waves and rough water, but paddle boarding is typically an activity that needs smooth water to have the most fun. If you are looking for a lightweight inflatable paddle board, take a look at the Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board.
What to know before you buy a paddle board for kids
Paddle boards are also called stand-up paddle boards and are referred to by insiders as SUPs. They’re a great way to get out and have fun on the water. Before you choose one, here are some things to take into account.
Inflatable or rigid?
- Inflatable paddle boards blow up like beach rafts — the more air you put in, the stiffer they get. Hand or foot pumps are usually included, as are repair kits. Inflatable paddle boards are the easiest to transport and store.
- Rigid paddle boards are made of fiberglass, epoxies and resins that are more durable and offer better performance than inflatables because their shapes are sleeker. A few are made of aluminum.
- Length: All paddle boards are measured by how long they are. Lengths range from as short as 6 feet to as long as 15 feet.
- Width: Generally speaking, a paddle board’s width is proportionate to its length. Wider paddle boards are more stable while longer ones are easier to paddle.
What to look for in a quality paddle board for kids
Paddle boards come in four basic shapes, each designed for a different activity. Most kids want full-sized paddle boards and the industry labels most paddle boards as for kids and adults.
All-around paddle boards
This is the most popular type of paddle board and is great for beginners. All-around boards are 10 or 11 feet long, have rounded noses and come in inflatable and rigid versions.
Touring paddle boards
This design is a compromise between speed and stability. Touring boards are typically 12 to 13 feet long. Their long decks have plenty of room for bringing along camping gear. Touring boards may be rigid or inflatable.
These are the shortest of the four types, usually 8-10 feet long. They have pointed noses and hulls made to skim on the surface of the water. Serious surfers use only rigid paddle boards.
These are the longest and skinniest of the paddle boards, 11 to 14 feet long, with pointed noses and narrow tails. Because they are so narrow, they are the easiest to tip over. Most serious racers use rigid paddle boards.
- Length is the key to being able to maintain proper, efficient paddling form. Look for paddles that are long enough that you don’t have to stoop over to paddle.
- Blade size and shape determine how much energy it takes to paddle through the water. Choose paddles for kids that are easy to use.
- Materials determine the weight and stiffness of a paddle. Lightweight paddles are the best for kids.
How much you can expect to spend on a paddle board for kids
Most standup paddle boards cost from $100-$300. Racing boats cost in the thousands.
Paddle board for kids FAQ
Are all paddle boards inflatable?
A. No, but because they are cushiony, cost less to make and ship and are easy to transport, inflatables have taken over the paddle board industry.
Who invented paddle boarding?
A. Legend tells that back in the 1940s, Hawaiian surf instructors stood up on their boards to better instruct student surfers. The addition of a paddle let them speed up or slow down and also was useful as a balancing device.
What is the farthest anyone has gone on a paddle board?
A. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Shilpika Gautam traveled 1,641 miles along the Ganges River in India to raise awareness of the need for clean water.
What’s the best paddle board for kids to buy?
Top paddle board for kids
What you need to know: This ultralight board is 32 inches wide, weighs only 19 pounds and has a tri-fin design for maneuverability.
What you’ll love: You get a heavy-duty travel backpack with mesh sides that allow water to drain away. Inside is a reinforced three-piece travel paddle, leash, and repair kit and the whole thing breaks down and sets up quickly.
What you should consider: Some say its light weight makes it hard to handle in windy conditions.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top paddle board for kids for the money
What you need to know: This 10-foot, 6-inch board is 30 inches wide and holds up to 300 pounds.
What you’ll love: The removable center fin slides in and out and the bungee cords on the nose of the board hold your gear. The anti-slip pad is comfortable on your feet and knees and the whole rig fits neatly into the backpack.
What you should consider: Some say the bag is poor quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This 32-pound board converts from a stand-up paddle board into a kayak in seconds.
What you’ll love: You can clip on the comfortable padded seat and swap the stand-up paddle for a kayak blade you can use while seated. The rail layers and paddles are made of carbon fiber, and this ultra-rigid board has a separate central air chamber. The bungee cords on deck hold your gear securely.
What you should consider: The added weight does not appeal to small kids.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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