Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video
  • What Age Can Kids Paddle Board?
  • Post author
    Josh Widich

What Age Can Kids Paddle Board?

What Age Can Kids Paddle Board?

How old can kids paddle board?

Before we jump into things, just remember SAFETY FIRST…especially when you are teaching kids a new water sport.  Before all of these tips, we assume you understand that the first priority is for your kids to come away with the best experience possible so they want to continue their water sports journey throughout their lives and into their own adulthood.  So…keep it fun, but safety first always!
family paddle boarding on lake tahoe with inflatable paddleboard sup mantaray

Make sure to start your kids on equipment that was actually made for kids if you want them to have the best experience possible.  Check out our entire line of kids paddle boards and specifically the inflatable 8ft Stingray that is made for kids learning how to paddle board…our boards are better for kids because they are made for kids.
mother and daughter paddle board together at lake tahoe sup family

In general, you can start taking your kids our on your paddle board with you as soon as they are comfortable with it and able to wear a certified coast guard life jacket.  They can just hang out and enjoy the ride while you paddle them around and get  them used to the feeling of being our on the water.  
group of kids and family paddle board on the lake with inflatable sup

If your kids are already comfortable in the water then you can start giving this a try at 4-5 years old, some people even start taking their kids out on their board even younger than that.  But, it is extremely important that you only take kids of this age out when it is the absolutely most ideal conditions possible.  Meaning, you do not want it to be windy at all and only want to take them out in glassy calm conditions.  Only take them out in a safe environment with low traffic on the water.  Make sure you are your child is dressed properly and that the weather conditions are ideal and warm enough that if a little kid were to fall in the they would still be ok.  
mom paddles with daughter on the front of het  inflatable paddle boards for kids

Tip, you should already have experience and be a good solid paddler if you are going to take a young child out on your board with you.  If you do not have experience on a sup board then it is highly recommended to take a few paddle board lessons on your own before attempting to teach your kids how to paddle board on your own or take them out on your board with you.  We highly don’t recommend trying to take a young child out on your board with you if it is your fist day paddle boarding, or you are still learning to be comfortable or have enough balance to feel confident with having a kid on your board with you.  Know your own skill level, you are responsible for their safety and enjoyment level.
family paddle board together lake tahoe california

Make sure you are 100% confident and comfortable with the situation.  If you bypass these rules you run the risk of putting your child in a potentially scary or un-fun situation and changing their excitement about wanting to go paddle board again in the future.  Keep it both safe and fun for your children and paddle boarding can be a lifelong activity you share together.

General age range for kids to paddle board: 

3-5 Years Old:

This is a pretty typical age to get kids out on the board with you for the first time and just have them sit and come along for a fun adventure and get used to the feeling of being out on the water and what the balance will feel like in a safe and comfortable environment along side their parent.  When they are ready to try and stand up for the first time one thing that they really love is when you are paddling with them on your board and going for a joyride, have them stand up with no paddle with their backs leaning against the front of your legs so they can balance against your body while you are in control of balancing the board and paddling.  Kids love this.  When they are comfortable with that technique, then you can try the same thing except for this time bring along a kids size paddle for them and when they stand up while leaning against your body you can have them take their first paddle strokes along with you.  This is a great way for them to learn how to hold their paddle and take paddle strokes and learn what the balance will be like when they actually stand on a paddle board. At this age is it very important to always keep things fun and never ever put them in a situation that might scare them in some way and possibly run the risk of lowering their excitement to do the sport again. Remember, keep it safe & keep it fun at this age.
father and son paddle board together on the same sup board
kid spots a turtle from his stand up paddle board while on the board with his dad
woman paddle board with girl sup lake tahoe

5-7 Years Old: 

At this age kids start to develop a little more coordination and muscle memory as well as confidence which makes it a great time to get kids on a paddle board for the first time themselves.  Remember, and we hope this goes without saying…ALWAYS paddle directly next to your kids so you can responsibly manage and supervise the situation.  Of course, be relaxed and have fun, but when you're paddling with kids your number #1 job is safety and know that you are the one responsible for every possible decision and outcome on the water.  First step to teaching your kids how to paddle board on their own is on land thoroughly explaining and demonstrating all of the techniques they will need out on the water including how to hold the paddle, where to stand on the board, how to take a paddle stroke, how to turn, how to fall in the water and how to lay on your board in the prone or surfing position and paddle yourself to shore without your paddle.
little boy about 6 to 9 years old on his kid size paddle board
Keep this part fun, short & simple…do not overwhelm them with too much information but at the same time try to run through things as best as possible so they can better understand exactly what they are doing and what the goal is.  The best way to have them stand on a board for themselves for the first time is first make sure you have proper equipment for them…we recommend an inflatable paddle board for kids because they are very forgiving and safe for kids, the 8ft Stingray is a great board for kids learning how to stand up paddle board especially for the first time.  Then have them kneel on the board while you walk out into the water with them and stand waist deep along side of their board so you can help hold it and balance it for them the fist times they try to stand up all on their own. 
2 youth size boys and their paddle boards age 7 or 8 years old
One tip, when they are trying to stand up, do not do it from a dead stopped position…meaning, it is easier to get your balance when the board is already moving with a little forward momentum…it is harder to balance on your board if you try and do it from a dead still position. So, walk along the shore in waist deep water with your hand on their board, from their you can have them stand up, show them how to hold their paddle and take good paddle strokes…and usually the next thing that happens is they say “take your hands off!”…and just as long as the water is clear of traffic and safe you can let go, tell them to keep their knees bent, and allow them to paddle a few strokes on their own down the shore before turning around and coming back to you…or if you are a fast runner, you can grab your board and get in the water with them and go for your first paddle together. 
young boy on his stand up paddle board for kids
Pro tip, when you go for your first real paddle with your kids you want to keep it short, fun and an enjoyable experience…so if they start to get tired, you can have them sit on their board or your board and attach your ankle leash to their board so they can sit for the rest of the adventure while you paddle them home and tow their board for them. 


8-12 Years Old: 

At his age kids really start to blossom with their abilities on the water and start to develop their paddling technique & skill to a much higher level.  At the same time their bodies are growing and their muscles are starting to develop to the point that they are able to paddle farther, faster and with more efficiency.  This is an excellent age to get kids into paddle boarding and being out on the water.  Usually by this age kids have some level of comfort with being in the water so their confidence is much higher than younger kids for paddling their own board themselves. 
kids paddle board school sup camp racing at lake tahoe
This is also the age where you get a return on your time investment and being a good teacher while they were younger and actually start to get to go on real paddle adventures together with your kids.  At this age they will have a better understanding for how to paddle in variable conditions like choppy waves when a boat passes by or what to do when it gets windy out.  That being said, this is also the age where they might want to go for a paddle all on their own without you…and what we have to say to that is , NO…no matter how confident your kids feel in the water you need to keep them under direct supervision.  If your kid wants to go for a paddle just tell them that you want to go with them…make it “your thing" to do together.  Paddle boarding with kids is great because there are so many benefits for the both of you.  It is a bonding and confidence building experience where you will create lifelong memories and skills that can only be discovered through paddle boarding together.  
dad and 2 boys paddle together on lake tahoe sup friends


Fun paddling activities for ages 10+:

Sup Racing 

If your kids are into fitness and paddling fast then you may want to introduce them to one of the faster growing sports which is now even part of the olympics and that is SUP racing which is simply a paddle board race to see who can paddle a specific race course the fastest which is laid out on the water with buoys.  They will need a specific type of board which is made of carbon fiber and specifically for racing.  This is an awesome way to combine a fun recreational activity with a little bit of competitive atmosphere which helps to develop a multitude of life skills in children…and adults


kids paddle board sup camp preparing for a kids sup race
kids sup race event paddle board racing for kids



SUP touring is simply paddling for longer distances for fun and recreation.  It can be done with an all-around style board or a touring board which are generally shaped a little more “pointy” and are built with more volume in the nose so they can be paddled at a faster speed and are be better in choppy conditions. Touring boards are also great for the following 2 activities which are sup camping and sup fishing.
kid stand up paddle board on lake tahoe sup for kids

SUP Camping

If you want to take your kids on the ultimate adventure plan to paddle from one destination to a local campground for a night with your gear strapped to your board.  Your kids will love this because they really feel like they are leaving everything behind and going on a real adventure with you…what could be more special.  Just be safe, do not take too much gear if you are taking it on your board.  You can always drop gear off at the campground first if you want to take more gear.

Sup Fishing 

A great activity for kids who already like to go fishing & a perfect combination of 2 outdoor sports and super fun activities.  Just be sure to give them a good briefing on how they may go for a bit of a ride if they hook into a big one.  Theres nothing like seeing the look of a kids face the first time they catch a fish on their paddle board, it is a super fun experience that is something neither of you will forget.
kid sup fishing from his stand up paddle board

SUP Yoga

SUP yoga is a great way for kids to gain extra flexibility, strength & confidence out on the water.  Not only is SUP yoga great for your body but it is also great for your mind and spirit.  Theres nothing like being out on the water in the morning before anyone else is out there in calm glassy conditions, it puts you in touch with nature and all of the great benefits of being outdoors out on the water.

SUP Surf

SUP surfing is catching waves standing up using your paddle and is for people who live near the beach and also like to paddle board.  The best all time combination of paddle boarding and surfing that is the ultimate fun if you are into action sports. To SUP surf you need a specific type of board that is shaped for surfing waves, they are generally lower volume and more of a high performance shape than your typical all-around style paddle board.
kids surf sup paddle board made for catching waves at the beach

Why is paddle boarding a good activity for kids?

Adventure Kids

Your kids will develop a good sense of adventure and curiosity for finding out about and being immersed in nature.
2 youth boys stand on their paddle board sup for kids at lake tahoe

Fit Kids

Your kids will develop a certain level of fitness and physical skills paddle boarding that will help develop confidence and take them to the next level of whatever they are doing on their lives.
father and child paddle together on the shoreline of lake tahoe on sup boards

Independent Kids 

Help your kids to learn how to do things on their own, make decisions and judgments and be responsible for their own actions making and learn how to enjoy the results of the effort they put into whatever they are trying to learn in life.
mother and child paddle together on the lake with their waterkids sup boards

Healthy Kids

Show your kids that being outside in nature is an important part of life and being healthy. It is more important than ever to get your gets into the outdoors so they can experience all of the lifelong benefits that come with doing so.  Take the time to show your kids what is possible in life...and we'll see you out on the water!
  • Post author
    Josh Widich

Comments on this post (0)

Leave a comment