What's SUP?

Try stand-up pad­dle­board­ing with kids

Gulf & Main - - Contents -

For those who are look­ing for a fun out­door ac­tiv­ity for the whole fam­ily to do to­gether, con­sider one of the fastest-grow­ing wa­ter sports in the world: stand-up pad­dle­board­ing. Known as SUP, it’s a great ac­tiv­ity for chil­dren and adults alike.

Re­mem­ber that there’s a “sweet spot” on the pad­dle­board where you start and find your bal­ance and the cen­ter of the board. If you’re too far for­ward, your nose (the front of the board) will be un­der the wa­ter. If you’re too far be­hind the sweet spot, the back of your board will be un­der the wa­ter.

When chil­dren join you on the pad­dle­board, think about their weight and where they’re sit­ting on the board. If you’re a be­gin­ner pad­dle­boarder, start off kneel­ing on the board and have the chil­dren close to you in the cen­ter of the


First check the fore­cast. Re­mem­ber that storm and winds can pop up sud­denly with lit­tle warn­ing. So don’t stray too far from shore. • Pad­dle with an­other adult or group in case an emer­gency arises. That way, you will have help. • If chil­dren are 5 years old or older, they should use a pad­dle­board­ing leash. • Show your chil­dren safe ways to fall off the pad­dle­board and how to get back on the pad­dle­board by them­selves.

Many stores will mea­sure and adapt pad­dles.

Chil­dren may soon want to be on a pad­dle­board by them­selves.

board. If the chil­dren want to sit more to­ward the front, then move to­ward the back un­til the board is flat in the wa­ter.

Time to try stand­ing on the board? Ap­ply the same logic re­gard­ing po­si­tion­ing. And it’s rec­om­mended that on your first few pad­dle­board out­ings, you go on a day when there is light wind in a spot that is not busy.

When us­ing the pad­dle, one hand goes on top and grips the han­dle. The other hand is down the pad­dle about shoul­der-width apart. Both arms are straight as you pad­dle. And when you have chil­dren on the board, be aware of their heads as you switch pad­dling sides. Also, be­fore ven­tur­ing very far, it’s im­por­tant to feel sta­bil­ity, not stiff­ness, when hold­ing the pad­dle and turn­ing the board.

Chil­dren may soon want to be on a pad­dle­board by them­selves. Al­though you may be hes­i­tant, with a few tips you’ll have them pad­dling on an­other board, right be­side you. The first thing to know is that most adult-size pad­dles are too long for chil­dren, so make sure kids have a child-size pad­dle. Many stores will mea­sure and adapt pad­dles. Sec­ond, have chil­dren start off prac­tic­ing on their knees in very calm wa­ter—even in a pool—so they can learn on­board­ing, bal­ance and turn­ing tech­niques.

Teach­ing your chil­dren stand-up pad­dle­board­ing is ex­cit­ing for the en­tire fam­ily. Be sure to en­cour­age them and let them en­joy them­selves. Share in their ex­cite­ment. Then sit back with pride be­cause you now have pad­dle­board­ing com­pan­ions!

Mandy Carter is a lo­cal mom with a pas­sion for fam­ily travel, a pop­u­lar travel blog­ger in­clud­ing her own fam­ily blog at acup­ful. com and the dig­i­tal con­tent & en­gage­ment edi­tor for TOTI Me­dia.

Have the pad­dle (top left) cor­rectly sized for your child. Go to a spe­cialty store (top right) when choos­ing a pad­dle­board. Be­low left, it's a good idea for chil­dren to first prac­tice pad­dling tech­niques in a pool.

To help them gain con­fi­dence, let chil­dren pad­dle with you on the board.

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