Teaching your child to SUP is a great way to instill a lifelong love for the outdoors and water sports at a young age. It’s also a safe and healthy activity for kids. And it’s a great way to make friends.
In this spirit, and as the 2014 holiday season approaches, we thought it would be helpful to feature a few of the best SUPs designed for kids. These boards are ideal for younger SUPers looking for a recreational, user friendly, and (most importantly) cool-looking stand up paddleboard to show off next summer.
What Makes a Good Kids SUP Board?
A SUP that is designed for kids should possess certain characteristics. For one, it should be reasonably priced. These boards should be light, durable (a very important aspect) and safe, but there’s no need to pay $2,000 for a high performance SUP board at this stage.
A kids’ SUP should also be the right size, typically in the 8-9 ft range. This way the board will be easy enough to transport in a car and small enough so your child can to lug it to-and-from the shore.
However, although these boards are smaller, there should be no sacrifice for ample stability. Learning to paddleboard is relatively easy, but you still need the right amount of stability to get your bearings. A younger SUPer will appreciate a stable board, and it’s also a way give to their friends a ride.
Our Picks: The 5 Best SUPs for Kids
Below are our recommendations for your child’s first SUP board. These would all be excellent choices for an entry-level SUP board and can be great additions to the family fleet.
This is an original favorite in a nice compact 8.4′ size for kids. The BIC Dura-Tec is known for rugged, durable construction. It’s an ideal board for recreational use, and it’s long been one of the most popular boards on the water.
The Kids version of the Dura-Tec has a nice clean look, with an outer polyethylene shell and high-density foam core. This makes it nice and light, as well as durable.
If your child has taken lessons or rented boards, there’s a good chance he or she has already tried the Dura-Tec. It’s what usually gets us hooked from the outset.
These boards are great for all purpose paddleboarding and will withstand the test of time.
The NRS Youth Jester Inflatable is the perfect board for riders seeking high quality, durable, inflatable construction for their younger paddler. This board is 9′ in length and designed for riders up to 135 lbs.
The Jester is also slightly more narrow, at 28″, which will make it even easier to carry. Plenty of stability as well, and all the high end inflatable features you’d expect from an NRS inflatable SUP.
The board comes with some nice features, including 2 sets of interchangeable fins, a diamond textured foam deck pad for more traction and comfort, attachment rings and a webbing handle.
This board is currently on closeout, marked down from $895 to $715 as of 11/17/14.
Check out the NRS Youth Jester here
The Surftech Blacktip comes is three sizes: 8′, 10.6′ and 11.6′. We’re focusing on the 8ft version, as that’s the most appropriate size for a younger SUPer.
What this tells you, however, is that this board is designed with durability and performance, as well as stability, in mind. The construction for each size is the same, so with the child’s board you’re actually getting a little more bang for your buck.
This board will suit beginner and experienced paddleboarders alike. It has high volume rails, an EVA deck pad, and a single fin. It’s also 33″ wide, which makes it an excellent choice for a stable entry-level ride.
This board will serve you well at the beach, flatwater conditions, or pretty much any recreational waterway. The 8′ version also includes a paddle.
Check out the Surftech Blacktip here
A little longer than the other boards featured in this post, but still a good length for younger riders, the Aquaglide Impulse is a light, stable, and durable platform for all purpose SUP activities.
A benefit of this board is that many adult riders will be able to use it as well.
The Impulse also features a planing hull and a nice single fin system to allow for tracking and speed in flatwater and chop. A 30″ width also ensures plenty of stability.
This board would be a lot of fun for any smaller rider. The Impulse also features a diamond cut EVA deck pad for comfort and traction, along with a durable epoxy composite surface. This results in some high-quality finishes for a board in the youth category.
Check out the Aquaglide Impulse 9’6″ here
5. Lakeshore Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Inflatable SUP
The final board on our list is truly designed to accommodate the youngest of stand up paddlers. This board is rated for riders up to 125 lbs. As an inflatable, it’s also very easy to transport and carry (it packs into a backpack too).
The Lakeshore features durable inflatable construction. It has a nice 4 section soft deck pad, tie downs, and the pressure capacity to make it stiff, stable and durable.
Another nice feature: the price. The Lakeshore Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Inflatable is priced at $550.