Stand up paddleboards, or SUP, have been booming lately. They’re easy to get into, affordable, and flexible enough for you to use one board for a variety of activities.
However, parents might be cautious about letting their kids get into SUP riding because of the inherent risks of water sports. They’re not wrong. A lot of things can happen on the water. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that you should keep your kids away from the SUP craze.
Getting your kid on a SUP can be fun, safe, and exercise, but you do need to follow some common-sense safety practices, as well.
Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your kid safe as they learn to SUP.
1: Get Swimming Down First
You have to learn to walk before you can run, and the same is true for riding a SUP. You really should make sure your child can swim well before getting them on a SUP.
Falling is a part of the activity, and your child will be falling into the water which can easily be dangerous if they don’t know how to swim. You also can’t rely on your own ability to swim to protect them. Things happen, and they happen quickly.
The best defense for your child is knowing how to swim proficiently.
2: Swimming Aids
We understand that a lot of adults and teen SUP riders with exceptional swimming skills don’t wear floatation devices. That’s your personal choice. However, children are far more susceptible to experiencing serious problems on the water, and even if they’re good swimmers, something bad can happen.
We always recommend outfitting your child with a proper life vest to make sure they’re safe; even if they’re great swimmers.
3: Relative Maturity
Obviously, your child isn’t going to be anywhere near mature if they’re at an age where you’re concerned about them getting on a SUP. They shouldn’t be, either. That’s part of being a kid.
However, you should make sure that they understand to take things seriously, consider their own safety, and follow directions. If they’re still in the phase where they just want to run wild, they can get themselves into a dangerous situation.
4: Calm Water
If you’re a SUP rider yourself, you probably didn’t start off by shredding waves immediately. Your kid shouldn’t either.
When you’re first getting them on a SUP, take them to calm bodies of water with good weather conditions. They’ll have an easier time learning, and there are far fewer opportunities for them to fall off in a dangerous way.
5: Pay Attention
Finally, this is the most common-sense rule of them all. Make sure you’re paying attention to your child. Get on a SUP and go out to have fun with them. You should never be more than a few feet away from them until they’ve built up their skills to safely handle falls on their own.
If you’re distracted, or you separate too much, there might not be enough time for you to spring into action if something goes wrong.
Get Your Kid a Quality SUP
Another good way to keep your kid safe on the water is to get them a SUP made to high-quality standards. A better SUP is easier to learn on, will perform better, and be safer to ride.