Paddle boarding is a magical experience, and it’s only natural that, as a parent, you want to share that with your child. But there’s no perfect time or age to start. So, today we’re going to look at how to paddle board with a baby!
In this guide, we’re going to share some tips that will get you to a position of confidence. By the time we’re through, you’ll think taking a baby out on the water doesn’t seem so crazy. Why? Because it’s not crazy at all!
Let’s stop wasting time and just dive right in!
Step 1: Can You Handle Yourself On A Paddle Board?
Before bringing a baby on board, the most critical question you must ask yourself is, how good are you at paddle boarding? If you’re not a confident paddler or maybe aren’t great under pressure, then you shouldn’t be bringing a child on board. You don’t want a situation where it’s your fault something went wrong because you made a significant mistake. You’re dealing with a baby and therefore need to be incredibly cautious and prepared.
Step 2: Is Your Paddle Board Large Enough?
While babies are small, that doesn’t mean you can suffice with a paddle board that’s not wide enough. Beyond just the size of the board, you want it to be a wider board as it means you’ve got more stability which can help in the long run. When the board is stable, it means there’s less chance of capsizing, and regardless of a PFD, a baby flung from a board isn’t going to go down well in any way, shape, or form.
Step 3: Pick a Calm & Safe Spot To Paddle Board With Your Baby
When deciding where to go paddle board, don’t just pick any place at random. You need to be able to confidently say you’ve chosen a place that’s got calm waters. You’re going paddle boarding, not surfing, touring, racing, etc. So pick a nice calm lake, or calm sea waters, just nothing crazy.
Step 4: Give Mini-You a PFD & Invest In Accessories
You’re never too young or old for a PFD when you’re going out on the water. As much as you’ll try to minimize accidents, they still happen. You don’t want to be caught off guard if something goes wrong. So ensure you purchase a PFD before bringing a baby on board.
Another thing to consider is investing in accessories like a SUP seat. You can convert your SUP into a kayak, so you’ll be sitting on the board with your baby instead of standing. Check out my article on finding the best SUP seat!
Step 5: Slowly Get Them Acquainted With The Board
Don’t just head on into the water without letting your little one get to know the chariot that awaits them. Let your kid play on the board alone for a bit and get familiar with the feeling. It’s not necessarily going to have a lasting impact, but it can lay the groundwork for familiarity and comfortability.
Step 6: Slowly Get Them Acquainted With The Water
The same can be said for the water. The chances are you’ve already brought them into a pool or something similar before. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing it at the lake or calm ocean you’ve chosen as your paddle boarding destination for the day. So be sure to let your little one in the water – supervised, of course – so they can get to know the substance that will soon surround them on the board.
Step 7: Make Sure The Weather’s Perfect For a Calm SUP Experience
If you’re going to go paddle boarding, don’t do it when it’s raining or the weather is even remotely not perfect. There are a couple of reasons why:
Number 1: if it’s cold, your baby could get sick, and there’s nothing worse than a sick baby.
Number 2: if it’s windy, you could lose control, and then you’ve got a baby in the water, which simply isn’t going to go well.
Number 3: When it’s beating down, make sure you’ve got some sunscreen on the little one. Actually, no matter what the weather is, SPF that baby!
Number 4: bad weather might just end up resulting in a cranky baby, and in what world is that any fun?
Use some great SUP applications like Windy and some of the many others that can make planning a SUP adventure easier.
Step 8: Slow & Steady
Okay, you’ve done all the steps and are ready to go! That’s great, but don’t rush anything. You and your baby are operating at different speeds. You don’t need to rush anything also. Rushing leads to mistakes, so don’t be silly. Take it slow, be careful, and choose your moments to speed things up a little.
Step 9: Don’t Go Too Far
You don’t want to go too far with a baby on a paddle board because they might lose interest quickly. When a baby loses interest, all hell can break loose. For starters, they might start trying to wander off the board. Additionally, they could have a tantrum. When you’re far from the shore, it can be a rocky ride back, having to deal with a screaming baby while navigating a SUP through the water.
Step 10: Have Fun & Enjoy These Moments
With all that said and done, it’s time to enjoy these moments with your kid because they’ll have grown up before you know it! But, being the person who gave them their first experience on a paddle board and being out on the water means something. So document it, cherish it, and enjoy the time you have with them being this small.
Maybe the idea still seems a little crazy to you but introducing your baby to the water at such a young age will pay off in the future. You want your child to feel comfortable on a paddle board, and as long as their parent is there to keep them safe, they will!