Stand up paddling is one of the most fun watersports for you to take on together with your kids. It’s a relatively safe sport, a perfect gateway to more challenging water-related activities, and very exciting for almost all the kids we ever interacted with. Still, like in any other adventure, proper equipment is essential. Also, you need to be extra careful when buying props, since this is for children, after all.
To help you make the best decision for you and your kid(s), we’ve put together this top of the best paddle boards for kids. You’ll browse though our top youth SUP board with its pros and why we think it’s worth it, and we’ll then follow up with a buying guide so you can understand better the features you should be looking for. FAQs about all kids SUP boards are also addressed further below.
How To Choose A Paddle Board For Kids – Buying Guide
Still not sure what paddleboard is the best for your kid? Here are some important characteristics to take into account when shopping for kids paddle boards.
Child’s Age, Weight and Ability Level
If your kids are absolute beginners, then make sure you look for a board that clearly states the ease of use for new users. The best kids paddle board should be easy and comfortable to stay on, rigid and well-balanced.
As for the age, this is actually less important compared to the child’s weight. Some kids are bigger or smaller than the average values for their age, so it’s actually the supported weight that you should look for when shopping for the best paddle board for kids. Of course, age should also matter, but not in your choice of paddleboard but in your decision to take your kid paddle boarding in the first place. If your child is younger than 5, perhaps it’s best if you wait another year or two.
To get your kids started, you can also try taking them on board during your own paddling sessions, but make sure your read our kids paddle boarding guide first, for safety tips and beyond.
You’ll notice that most kids SUP boards are inflatable, for extra convenience when traveling and storing. That means you’ll also be needing a pump to inflate it with, if you opt for this type of board. Some offers have a hand pump included in the list of extra accessories, but some don’t. In this case, you’ll need to look into inflatable SUP and kayak electric pumps, since that’s the best option for inflating them.
Other extras you can expect to come with one of the best paddle boards for kids from our list above are the following: a bag or a backpack for easy transportation, a paddle, tow rings or safety leashes etc. When making your final decision, consider the extras you will need and whether they’re included or not, then compare the prices for buying them separately. You’ll probably find out that an all-in-one package is usually more economical, even if the option of just buying the single board may seem more appealing at first.
The size of the board matters only if it’s not inflatable and storage is something to carefully consider. The product description of each option should tell you how big the board is (including the inflatable ones). But other than that, the size of the children’s stand up paddle board doesn’t really matter. It’s the supported weight that indicates whether it will be a good fit for your kid or not.
The weight of the paddleboard is sometimes mentioned in the product description, but other times you need to ask the seller about it. For inflatable boards, the weight is pretty much negligible, but for hard boards it can become significantly greater. Still, the users the boards are intended for should still be able to easily carry their board (either packed up or fully inflated, by a handle).
Before opting for one model or another, consider whether you need it to be multi-functional or not. What do you plan to use it for? If you’d like it to be a reliable piece of gear for more than just paddling, choose a board that can be converted into a kayak, for example (since there are a few of those available). Also consider who will use it. Do you plan to have more than one child use the board, because maybe one of the kids in not yet very much into paddling but maybe after trying it more it will grow on them? If so, you should choose a youth SUP board that can support different weights.
Since most kids stand-up paddle boards are inflatable, the average durability you can expect from them is about 3 years, for peak performance. Of course, the usage and how well you care for it can also take their toll and shorten this durability period (or prolong it, if done right). For non-inflatable kids SUP boards (hard boards), you can expect this optimum functioning period to be longer (5-6 years), making them more durable.
Some of the best kids paddle board options come with extra features, such as included accessories, an extra handle for carrying or a tow ring for attaching a leash to it and so on. But some of these extra features can also turn the SUP board into a multi-functional type of gear, allowing you access into multiple activities. For example, there are some models who feature rings for attaching a kayak seat to them, and voila, you also have a children’s kayak now.
Avoid Surf-Style SUPs
If you see a children’s stand up paddle board advertised as a surf-style SUP, it’s preferable to avoid it. While paddling on a surf-style board can have its merits, this should only be attempted by more experienced users. It’s too risky for children, even if they’re not beginners at paddling.
Safety matters for all users, but it matters even more when the intended users are children. Therefore, the best kids paddle board is one that clearly mentions the precautions built-in the design of the board. Things like a non-slip surface or having a tow ring for a safety leash, are great examples of such features. But beyond that it’s up to you to ensure compliance to safety guidelines, such as the need to wear a PFD (personal flotation device), commonly known as an inflatable life jacket.
Q: What Is The Main Difference Between An Adult And Kids Paddleboard?
A: The main difference between a kids paddleboard and the adults version is the size and the weight the board can support. Most kids SUP board are limited to a 120 lbs. or 155 lbs. upper weight limit, which would make them unusable for most adults. Still, if a smaller adult would like to use a kids paddleboard, there’s no con against it. In fact, a youth SUP board which can support a smaller weight is also probably smaller in size, which means a smaller person can operate it easier.
There are also some other minor differences, like the fact that kids SUP boards tend to be more colorful, or place a stronger focus on safety and user-friendliness, assuming that the riders are beginners. Also, you’ll find that a top kids paddle board comes with some extra safety features designed for parental intervention, like rings for a safety leash and so on.
Q: What Are The Common Features Of A Kids Paddleboard?
A: Most kids SUP boards are inflatable, though you can still find a few hard ones once you’re sure this is going to become a favorite water activity. Besides the inflatable factor, you should also expect paddle boards for kids to have tow rings for attaching safety or surf leashes, and other similar paddle board parts.
Q: Are Kids Paddleboards Safe?
A: Yes, as long as you choose only quality products. An approved for market top kids paddle board is definitely tested and calibrated for safety, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant. Make sure you follow all principles of paddle board safety and you’ll all be fine.
Globo Surf Overview
It’s great to enjoy watersports with children at your side, preparing them since a young age to be adventurous and outgoing, just like you are. Once you choose the best paddle board for kids that suits their skill level and weight, you’re all set to go. We hope our guide helped you make up your mind on the best option for you and your kid, and that you’re now one step closer to the family getaway of a lifetime. Enjoy your paddling trips!
- Paddle Board Safety Guidelines, RNLI.org.
- Protecting Children and Youth in Water Recreation, ChildSafetyEurope.org.
How were your watersports trips with kids so far? Is this the first time you’re shopping for a paddle board for kids? What brands do you prefer for this kind of equipment and why? Let us know all about it in the comments field below! We’re always excited to hear from the other Globo Surf community members.
Globo Surf Paddle Boards for Kids Reviews