I don’t know how long paddle boarding has been cool, but for years I’d drive by the lake and see people standing on surf boards and paddling along. A few years ago, our family took the plunge and bought 3 paddle boards. We are a family of 6. So each parent had a small child on our boards and our older two girls shared a board. We bought our boards at a local racing/surf shop (shout out to Hard Racing Performance and Hard Core Sports in North Carolina). We choose the Bic Sports Paddle Boards. Bic Sports offers different lengths and weights.
Top 9 tips for the beginning paddle boarder (with kids)!
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#1. My top tip is to get a board you can carry. We ended up paying a little extra for my paddle board so that I could carry it. We don’t live on the lake so we have to carry our boards from wherever we decide to go and being able to help carry one of the three boards is a big deal.
#2. We put on and remove our fins each time we use our boards, so we keep the special key on our set of keys for our family car so we don’t lose our car keys or our fin key.
#3 Invest in the roof rack covers and ways to store your paddle boards. We did this because we have to stack our three boards on our roof rack and didn’t want them to get scratched up and we use these and these to store our boards. We have been very happy with each of these items. It helps to be able to store these vertically in our garage to save space.
#4 Buy a waterproof container for our cell phones and keys, one that will float. We did this after our first outing when we were out in the middle of the lake and wanted to take pictures, we also didn’t want to leave our cell phones and keys just sitting with our stuff on shore.
#5 Get life vests that won’t irritate your kids’ arms. When we first started paddle boarding, we bought the cheaper life vests, you know the bright orange ones on every boat, everywhere. Be sure to check your states boating laws. In our state (North Carolina), children 13 and younger have to wear a life vest at all times. We still make our older children wear them just as an extra precaution. For my husband and I, we aren’t required to wear a life vest but you must have one on your vessel (aka paddle board). So we bought really nice life vests for the kids and the cheap orange ones for the adults. We just sit them on the front of our boards.
#6 Bring snacks. Not on your paddle board but on your outing. If there is anything I have learned in my 14 years of parenting is, if you are going to be gone for a few hours you need to bring snacks for the kids.
#7 If you are able to, bring chairs and/or hammocks to take a break in! We bought two hammocks from Sam’s Club a few years back and pretty much take these everywhere we go. We also hang them up in the back yard to read or just enjoy a cool breeze. Arctic Monsoon has some great nylon hammocks just like the ones we have. You can also read my post about my favorite hammock here.
#8 Wear sunscreen! See my post about my favorite sunscreen.
#9 Be prepared to make memories. I often tell people that kids don’t need fancy vacation location. In fact, if I were to ask my kids about their favorite vacation there #1 memory would be a time we were camping and such and such happened. Kids don’t care, they just want to be together. One of our camping trips we picked a campground on a lake and loaded up our pop-up camper and our paddle boards. We had a site right on a cove. The kids were pretending all kinds of fun things, all day long.
Get out there and make some memories!
What are your favorite tips or hacks for when you go paddle boarding?