Paddle Boarding is definitely good fun for the whole family. Of course adults of all ages love the sport and what’s not to love? But in terms of equipment, kids get the short end of the stick. Adults have hundreds of boards to choose from with loads of accessories. From inflatables to racing boards, adults get to have all the fun. So where are the youth paddle boards?
Unfortunately there aren’t that many manufactures making youth sized paddle boards, especially when compared to the magnitude of products made for adults. We did some digging here at the The Wet Life to uncover some excellent youth paddle boarding options. But first let’s look at why kids would need a board of their own at all.
Why Even Buy a Youth Paddle Board?
This question isn’t quite as obvious as it seems before you do a little thinking. The average 12 year old is 4 foot 11 inches tall and most adjustable paddles are made to accommodate people that height. And even a 12 year old should be able to paddle a smaller adult sized board and maybe even larger ones. So why not just let them use your own equipment? Or why not get them adult sized equipment and let them grow into it?
Well, to be fair, those are both realistic options and they might even be why the industry is so sparse in child sized products. But neither of those options are very ideal, and here’s why.
Being able to properly steer a paddleboard can be tough even for adults who aren’t using the right technique. Sharper turns require quite a bit of core strength. Young teenagers and kids will have serious trouble trying to maneuver an adult sized paddle board and may not be able to steer at all!
A youth paddle board is designed with kids in mind. The shorter length gives kids the same steering capabilities that you as an adult might have on a full size board.
Maneuverability is not only important for being in the water but also outside the water. Even if a particularly strong kid can paddle and steer an adult paddle board, they will still have trouble carrying it to the beach. Kids will have trouble with the weight of adult paddle boards as well as the size. Youth paddle boards are much easier for kids to carry and launch, which means less work for you!
Fortunately youth paddle boards are significantly cheaper than full sized, adult paddle boards. This is not only because manufacturing is cheaper but also shipping and storage of a smaller board is cheaper.
Also keep in mind that roughhousing kids are likely to do more damage to a board than a careful adult might. This is one of the biggest arguments for a kid to have their own youth size paddle board. If you let your kids use your personal paddle board too often, you might wind up having to buy a new board for yourself because of all of the dings and scratches. Of course a rugged inflatable paddle board might be a good solution to that problem
This one I think is the most important reason that kids should have their own youth paddle boards. When kids have their own equipment they no longer rely on you and your schedule to be able to be active. With their own board and equipment, kids can seize the day and become more independently minded.
When the kids have their own equipment they can also participate in family outings. Rather than everyone in the family needing to share one or two boards, parents and kids can all go on an adventure together. Paddleboarding trips make for great bonding time to really get close to your kids.
What Youth Paddle Boards are available?
Now that we know why it’s important for kids to have their own youth sized paddle boards we can look at what is available to choose from.
Unfortunately there aren’t very many products available for kids. But what is available seems to be of decent quality, largely because they are made by manufacturers of adult boards.
You may have seen the name Wavestorm before. Wavestorm makes the best selling surfboard ever. Wavestorm also makes what is many people’s first stand up paddle board. They have become a powerhouse in the surfing and paddling world by selling their products at Costco.
Of course not all of their products are sold at every Costco location, and not everyone has a Costco membership or a Costco nearby that they can shop at. For those people there are online options.
About The Board
Just like most entry level boards, the Wavestorm Taquito is made from high density EPS foam. The foam is dense but soft, much like the foam used for pool noodles. Boards made of foam like this are called “soft top” boards which are different than the higher end “hard top” boards.
Foam is a great material to use for a youth paddle board. Kids are much more likely to fall while paddle boarding as they get used to the sport and learn to balance Having a soft board means that they are less likely to hurt their head, elbows, or knees when they fall over.
The foam is also more rugged than high end fiberglass. No doubt your kids will bang their new board into anything within a 20 foot radius. With a fiberglass board that would spell certain death. Fiberglass scrapes and punctures will let water in and cause the whole board to become delaminated. And repairing fiberglass is difficult and expensive. Foam can take a beating and even if it is punctured by rocks, branches, or coral; the board will still float and work much like it did before.
Like the larger Wavestorm boards the Taquito also has a hard plastic bottom. The plastic bottom prevents dings and scratches and is super smooth for easy gliding. If you have ever used a boogy board, it’s a lot like that.
The Wavestorm Taquito Youth Paddle Board has a single detachable center fin. The fin is made from ABS plastic which is strong enough for a child to use.
One great feature on the Taquito is a gear strap on the front of the board. The adjustable strap can be used to carry a dry bag, pfd, or any other gear that you child may need to carry. Kids might want to use it to strap down their favorite toy!