Free time becomes harder to find when you have children, but that all changes when you start to include them in on the family fun. The beauty of a sport like paddleboarding is that it is easy enough, that almost anyone can learn to do it. As long as your child is old enough to have a little stability, they have the basic skills to start paddleboarding with family.
Like you, your kid is going to need their own paddleboard to practice on. Check out the following best paddle board for kids, which will help get your child in on the family fun. You will also find a buying guide at the end of the article, to give you a little guidance on the features you should be looking for when buying a kids paddleboard.
QUICK ANSWERS: Best Paddle Boards For Kids
Best SUP for Kids Comparison Guide
Because of the price tag, a paddleboard is a serious investment. For that reason, you do not want something that your child is going to grow out of after a season. These are some of the best paddleboards for your children. While some are not manufactured especially for use by kids, their size, width, and depth, as well as the high level of stability offered by these boards make them top contenders when you want to find the perfect one for your child.
1. Wavestorm Taquito 7’ Junior Stand Up Paddle board Bundle
When you have smaller children, you do not want to spend $300-400 or more on a paddleboard that they are going to learn on and eventually grow out of. This board is perfect for small children, even preschool age.
Designed for a Smaller Size
The maximum weight limit for this is 120-pounds, but that is to be expected with a board designed specifically for young kids. It is only 7-feet long, with a 25” width and 4” thickness. This small size also makes it weigh less. It weighs 12 pounds and is effortless to paddle through the water.
The higher a person’s weight is, the harder it is to balance on this board. This means that some kids (who are more than 100 pounds, but less than 120) may have trouble balancing.
Two marine-ply stringers and an expanded polystyrene core come together to protect the integrity of this board. Additionally, it has a water barrier skin that preserves graphics. It also features a flat water fin, which is removable but increases the maneuverability of the board.
This board is relatively stable, as long as you do not go past the weight limit. It moves through the water smoothly and efficiently. For accessories, an adjustable youth paddle is included, and its length is perfect for small and large children. This board also comes with a leash plug, which securely holds the included ankle leash.
- Great for preschoolers and older
- Comes with leash plug and ankle leash
- It is stable and great for learners
- Easily glides and maneuvers through the water
- As you approach the weight limit, the board starts to sink
- Will need to be replaced eventually
2. Airhead Popsicle 730 ISUP Paddle board
This inflatable Kids SUP, like the previous model, is just 7’ long. It is 30” wide and 6” deep, which gives it a fair amount of stability. Its size makes it perfect sup for children between 30 and 120 pounds.
Under the board, a front and rear rocker design makes the ride smoother and lets your child handle small waves well. You will also find four thruster fins. These are fixed, so you do not have to worry about losing any parts, and they work to help maintain control in waves, and improve stability and maneuverability. The fins are made of a flexible material, so they are unlikely to be damaged.
Something to note is that this is not the fastest board on the market, despite the quad fins. Its wide, round shape stops that, but it does make it stable. These factors, in a way, make it ideal for a learner. Something else to note is that the board does not track as straight as an adult board, because of the fin setup. It is lightweight and easy to push through, weighing just 19 pounds.
Something that makes this unique is the stainless steel tow ring on the front of it, where you can easily attach a tow cable and pull your child along. This is great if they are just learning, or if they want to have some speedy fun. Also comes with a D-ring in the rear for a leash to be attached to (not included), so you can be sure your child is safe during these activities. Additionally, this SUP has a traction pad made of EVA foam to keep your child’s feet steady.
With this Kids SUP, you get the stainless steel tow ring, a high-pressure hand pump and pressure gauge, a mesh bookbag for carrying, a valve wrench for quick and easy deflation, a board strap, and a repair kit. The accessories are all good quality and the mesh of the bag means that you do not have to worry about drying your board completely for storage or travel.
Unlike many boards, you will need to purchase a paddle to go with this model because it is not included. There is also no onboard storage, but because of the young age of children who would use this board (most likely under age 10), this is not necessarily a deal breaker.
- Comes with stainless steel tow ring so board can be pulled
- Plenty of useful accessories
- Handles small waves well
- EVA foam traction pad
- No paddle included
- Does not always track straight
3. Ten Toes 8’ Nano Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Bundle
Built to Last
If you have a kid who is a little rough with their outdoor sports, this SUP for Kids is a great choice. It is marketed as being ‘virtually indestructible’, and it lives up to that promise. It is created using a drop stitch method to weave together more than 100 threads per square inch of the board. These threads are made of military grade PVC, which then attaches the upper and lower parts of cloth that make up the outer of the board. The material used for construction is the same used for inflatable kayaks, so you can feel confident that the SUP can even ride through rocky conditions without damage. It also comes with a 2-year warranty.
The board is designed with a width of 30” and a depth of 4”, which helps it be stable but easy to maneuver. Though it is indestructible, it is a little heavy. As a result, weight close to thirty pounds. There are three fins, all of them removable, but easy to attach and remove without the use of hardware. This SUP can easily be rolled up for easy storage and transportation, though there is no included carrying bag.
Even without the carrying bag, there are plenty of accessories for this board. This includes a lightweight, adjustable aluminum paddle, a manual pump, and a repair kit. The paddle does feel a little flimsy, but it will work until you decide to replace it.
This board handles water well and is easy to maneuver, but it can only deal with a few waves because of its planing hull shape. However, its handling abilities are improved by a foam deck pad that is soft, textured, and grippy to improve your child’s stability on the board. It does not move especially fast, but does offer stability that is great for learners.
The board also comes with three stainless steel D-rings. There is also a bungee cord on the front of the board, for securing a few items or attaching a leash.
- Virtually indestructible
- Very rigid and stable
- Easy to maneuver
- Area for securing things to the board
- Does not handle waves well
- Included paddle is flimsy
4. THURSO SURF Prodigy Junior Kids Inflatable SUP
This board is just 4” thick and 30” wide. It is compact, but incredibly stable. On top of the board, a ‘wood’ design has a classic beauty that is modernized by the bring blue underneath. It is a durable inflatable stand-up paddleboard, with a two-layer construction. Inside, there is a drop-stitched fabric that weaves threads together. Outside, military grade PVC provides a surface that is resistant to damage.
Three removable fins come with this board. They improve tracking and are easy to remove and put on, without the need for hardware. On top of the board, a ridged traction pad offers a soft, but stable surface. The board weighs just 19 pounds, but it is not exceptionally fast because of its shape.
One great feature of this board is the 2-year warranty. This means that even if you purchase the board at the end of the season and put it up for a year, you will be protected from any manufacturer defects.
Also, this kit includes a carbon shaft paddle that is sturdy and lightweight, a pump, a coiled leash, and a book bag for carrying. One disadvantage of the backpack is that it is not especially aerated or made of mesh. It means you will need to let your board dry out before you store it.
Another cool feature of this board is a grab handle on the nose of the SUP. This makes it easy to pull the board into and out of the water.
- Ridged pad for traction
- Grab handle on nose for pulling along while inflated
- Coiled leash included for security
- 2-year warranty on defects
- Bookbag is not aerated
- Not especially fast
5. True Wave 8’0 Youth Junior Stand Up Paddle Board
This model is built for children under 100 pounds, so it is best for the small child. The board is incredibly lightweight, weighing less than 12 pounds. It has an EPS core that uses a sturdy, three-stringer system to increase durability.
This board is fairly narrow, which makes it easy to maneuver but not as stable as some others. It can work in some waves—even the manual says that it can be used as a surfboard as well. On top of the board, there is a pattern with a textured grip to help your child stay on the board. Something to note is that powerful strokes can make the board rotate a little. Because of the low weight limit though, it may not be a problem for most children.
Some other features of this board include a kids-sized adjustable paddle, a molded leash plug that works with an ankle leash, and a removable fin. The board also comes with a single bungee strap for securing items on the board, as well as a molded handle in the middle of the board and an accessory strap, both for making carrying the board easier.
A Few Reminders About Rigid Boards
Traditional epoxy SUPs like this one are susceptible to dings and scratches, but you do not have to worry about them popping. One downside to keep in mind is that they are more solid, so they will not have as much give if your child falls off.
- Easy to carry because of accessory strap and grip handle
- Textured grip so child does not fall off
- Will not pop or tear like an inflatable
- Great maneuverability
- Powerful strokes can make it turn
- Easy to scratch and ding
Best Paddleboards for Adolescents
If you have a kid who is growing quickly, or a teenager that is interested in the sport, the wise investment might be purchasing a smaller-sized adult board. Here are some of the best SUPs for teenagers and young adults.
1. Zray Inflatable Paddle board with Seat, 9’9” SUP Package
This is a good kid’s SUP for versatility—it can be used for paddling, fishing, yoga, and more.
This comes with everything your adolescent needs to get out on the water. Its features include a pump, paddle, a waterproof phone case, a removable seat, and back pack. The downside is that the backpack is a little bit flimsy. Over time, it is likely that the straps will rip or tear. Fortunately, a carrying bag is something rather easy and affordable to replace.
Inflating can be a slight issue because of the pump’s design. It is possible, but getting everything lined up, so the air is going into the inflatable SUP is a struggle. When the board is inflated to the recommended PSI, it is very rigid and stable.
This SUP is designed to hold up to 264 pounds, so it is a good choice for youth who want to paddle their friends around. It features three fins that give it easy maneuverability, to cut through the water with ease. It also has a military grade outer skin, which prevents punctures, scratches, and other damage.
Another great design feature is the soft handle, which makes carrying your board easy once it is inflated. This is great if you decide to purchase an electric pump, because you can inflate at your car and then take your board to the water. All these features are backed by a warranty- 30 days money back, or a 1-year product warranty on damages.
This board is also among the best because it is suited for a wide range of activities. It is very stable, but if your child does not feel comfortable standing up, they can sit on the included seat. The seat is removable, but makes the board great for SUP fishing, as well as sports like yoga and paddling.
- Removable seat for added versatility
- Becomes rigid, stable board when inflated properly
- Waterproof phone case and other essential features are nice
- Designed for durability
- Pump’s design makes inflating difficult sometimes
- Carrying bag could be better quality
2. PathFinder 9’9” SUP Stand-Up Paddle board
Inflation and Deflation
Like the other models, this comes with a pump for inflation. While the pump is functional, it requires a bit of effort to pump to the recommended 15 PSI. The downside is that if you cannot reach this, the board is difficult to use and loses rigidity that is necessary for it to be stable.
The deflation process is easy with this inflatable SUP for kids. An included valve wrench lets you quickly deflate and store the board. Another good thing is that if you get tired of pumping the board up, it holds air very well (even for months at a time), as long as you store it indoors and away from the sun.
You get a great design for a moderate price, as this SUP is more affordable than some of the others on this list. It has a deck pad, which helps your child’s feet stick firmly to the board. This can really help improve balance for those who are just learning. The board is designed a little heavier than others, however, so it is not a good fit for small children.
A detachable center fin is included with this model and it greatly improves tracking. The SUP is also durable, a necessary feature for kids because they might be a little rougher on a board than an adult would. This is because of a multi-layer drop stitch and PVC materials.
With the board, there is an adjustable aluminum paddle. It floats, which is good for learning kids so that the paddle does not end up at the bottom of the lake. It also includes a carrying bag and valve wrench. On the board, there is a D-ring to attach a leash if you purchase one, as well as a bungee for securing cargo.
- Valve wrench makes deflation easy
- Paddle Floats
- Board holds air well
- Traction pad helps your child grip the board
- Hard to inflate with the included pump
- Need to purchase an ankle leash for safety
3. Vilano Journey Inflatable SUP Stand Up Paddle board Kit
Good Size for Adolescents
This board is 9’9” long, 30” wide, and 5” deep, which makes it the perfect inflatable for a teen or young adult. It comes with a paddle that is adjustable, generally suited to people who are 5’6” and shorter. Its size is good and so are its features—it has a diamond groove traction that makes learning to use the SUP and balancing significantly easier.
Something that you will appreciate is the durability of this board, which is built to take a beating. It uses a Korean drop stitch and high-grade PVC in its construction. Additionally, the materials and workmanship of the board are protected by a 1-year warranty, so you know that the money you are spending will last longer than just a summer.
This board comes with the basics for transporting and using, including a pump, carrying, bag, and paddle. There is also a detachable strap that secures to the board while you are carrying it inflated. It works well, as the board is solid at 10 PSI and even more so at 15 PSI. It is large enough that your child can paddle around his or her friends. The pump does take some getting used to though, because it is hard to attach.
This SUP holds up to 240 pounds of weight, even though it weighs just 23-pounds. It also has a center fin, which increases traction. The front of the board tilts slightly upward when handling waves, which improves maneuverability. It is a good youth board, but it may not be the best if your child needs to learn balance.
The board also features useful D-rings and bungee cord on the front of the board, for carrying and storing things. The paddle is nice also, because it breaks into three parts for easy storage.
- Diamond groove traction helps kids stay on the board
- Perfect size for an adolescent
- Great maneuverability and traction, even on waves
- Stable enough that kids can tote friends around
- Pump is hard to attach
- May not be stable enough for all people
4. Tower Paddleboards Adventurer Inflatable 9’10” SUP Package
This board is built to take a beating, making it perfect for beginners and youth SUP-ers. It uses a drop-stitch and military-grade PVC material for construction. While it is more expensive than some of the previous options, its quality shows that it is worth it. Additionally, you can feel confident that the paddleboard will last—it comes with a 2-year warranty for damages from workmanship or quality of materials. This covers everything except wear and tear (and the accessories).
Even though it is ready to go at 10 PSI, filling it up to the recommended 15 PSI makes the board incredibly rigid. This, paired with its ability to support up to 350 pounds above water, makes it an excellent choice if your child plans on taking their friends out on the water. Another great feature for learners is the grip pad on top of the board. However, the deck pad area is a little short, so for adolescents with a wide stance or larger feet, it may not work as well.
Something to note, however, is that especially strong strokes with the paddle can cause the nose to rotate. This makes it a great board for most youth, but probably not for young adults with a strong stroke. You should also know that the board does not handle waves well, but the traction is excellent in flat water like water found in ponds and lakes.
Like the others on the list, this has a few accessories that ensure you are ready to get out on the water. It comes with a pump to inflate the board and a fiberglass paddle. The paddle is very lightweight and comes apart in three pieces. It also has D-rings and a carrying strap on the board.
One thing to note, however, is that the board weighs close to thirty pounds. It does not have a carrying bag, so unless you plan on carrying it inflated to and from your destination, you may want a carrying bag to make things easier. The board also does not deflate itself, which can be a pain unless you buy an electrical pump that will do it for you.
This youth SUP also has a detachable fin, which increases traction through the water. Unlike models that click or slide into place, however, this one requires a quarter to screw and unscrew it. There also is no included instructions, not even about the recommended PSI. You can find this information in the FAQs area of the website, but for the price of board, you would think that it’d be included.
- Detachable fin is secured to board
- Deck pad increases grip on the board
- Very durable
- 2-year warranty
- No included instructions
- Board does not quickly deflate
Once you are ready to get your kids out on the water with the family, you will need to buy them their own paddleboard to practice with. If you need a little help knowing what to look for when buying a kid’s SUP, keep reading.
Differences between Kid and Adult Boards
Kids boards are not just smaller than adults in length and width. For this reason, it is usually better to buy a child a board manufactured for kids, rather than a small adult-sized SUP. Here are the major things that set each board apart:
- Narrower width, between 28” and 30”, for better maneuverability
- Thinner board (about 4” thick, as opposed to 5-6”), which balances the weight for the smaller area of the board
- Length, usually around 7’ to 9’
- Lower weight, which makes the board easier to push through water
If your child does paddle on an adult board, you should not worry about their learning curve. Adult boards are usually rigid and stable, which is perfect for a beginner. However, the large size makes it harder for the board to be paddled around and it will take longer for your kid to learn how to turn and maneuver the board.
So, at what age would a child be ready for a larger, adult-sized board? If you have a teenager, you may find that they grow out of the board quickly and want something more adept in the water. Younger kids may require a board designed for children, because they will need practice balancing and learning to maneuver.
Solid or Inflatable?
Either type of board is a great choice, for its own reasons. Both provide the stability that your child needs to learn. The major advantage of an inflatable SUP for kids is that it is a little softer, should they fall off. This is a reasonable expectation, since learning how to use the muscles needed for balance is going to take some time. The advantage of choosing a traditional board over an inflatable is that you do not have to worry about checking the PSI or inflating the board.
One of the most important factors in a board for a learner is stability. A stable board is the basis of a good education, because it can help your child learn to balance on the board. As an added benefit, a stable board will give your kid the opportunity to paddle his or her friends around once they are familiar with the board.
If you are worried about your child staying on the board, consider buying something that has a traction pad. Traction pads are designs or decals placed on the board that gives your youth’s feet something to grip onto while they are riding. They improve balance and can be a useful tool for any SUP-er, but especially those who are just learning.
Something else that you should consider is what accessories you want. Many Stand Up paddle boards have things like paddles and pumps (if they are inflatable) included. Sometimes, other accessories are included. Here are some extra features you might want to consider:
- Ankle Leashes- These are leashes that connect your child’s ankle and the board. This can be useful as a safety device if your child falls off the board, but also ensures the board does not get lost if your child falls off.
- D-Rings- These are rings attached to the side or top of the board. You can attach ankle leashes, bags, a waterproof case, and other things here.
- Seat- Some paddleboards are compatible with seats, which let your child sit comfortably. These are great for fishing, as well as a useful tool if your child cannot balance very well yet.
- Bungee Cords- Some SUPs have bungee cords on top of them, which let things like coolers and other gear be secured to the board.
- PFD – Safety obviously comes first so make sure you buy the best PFD for paddle boarding.
If you buy something for a child, or even a teenager, you can probably expect it to take a beating. They tend to be rougher on things, especially items designed for outdoor sports like stand up paddle boards. You will also find this is common in people who are learning something—you do not know that your kid will be able to steer well enough to avoid sharp rocks, buoys, or other obstacles.
It is for this reason that you should choose a durable board. Be sure that high-grade materials are used and look for something with quality stitching if you buy an inflatable board. Something else to consider is anti-scratch or anti-damage coverings, which will prevent damage to the graphics and the board.
Whether you have a young child or a teen that is growing into an adult, one of the best ways to get everyone spending time together is by planning a family paddle boarding outing. There is a cost for the initial purchase of the board and other equipment, but after that, you and your kid will be able to spend years out on the water together. By our standards, one of the best choices for a kids SUP is:
For Children: THURSO SURF Prodigy Junior Kids Inflatable SUP 7’6” x 30” x 4”
This SUP is the top choice for children because it is easy to maneuver, incredibly stable, and lightweight. It offers a great ride in a compact board. While it is not especially fast, most children’s SUPs are not. Otherwise, it is a great board for children too young teens because of its high weight limit and its included features, like a high-quality paddle, leash, pump, and carrying bag.
For Adolescents: PathFinder 9’9” SUP Stand-Up Paddleboard, 5” Thick
This is a great board because it is the perfect size for youth. While the included pump leaves a little to be desired, the included paddle floats and is lightweight. The board also has traction, which is great for learners, and it is durable, stable, and easy to maneuver. All these add up to make a SUP that will lead your child to a great adventure.
It is important to remember to consider your child and what they need before making your purchase. Buy a board that has all the features that you require, as well as that meets your kid’s size requirements. Then, get out on the water and test it out!