Stand Up Paddling – SUP for short – is more popular than ever. Of course also with families. But in order to ensure that no accidents happen during sporting fun on the water, there are important rules when it comes to SUP and children that must be observed. We spoke to Klaus-Peter Hentschel from DLRG (Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft eV) Bonn about them. He explains what you must pay attention to when SUPing with children and how to avoid mistakes.
Can everyone go SUP?
Let’s get straight to the point: Can everyone just get on board or do children and adults need some kind of driver’s license? Water rescue expert Klaus-Peter Hentschel, district manager of DLRG Bonn, explains: “By definition, a SUP is a small, muscle-powered vehicle and can therefore be compared to a canoe. The SUP does not need to be registered, nor is a boat license required.” Okay, so pretty much anyone can go paddling.
You should adhere to these rules when it comes to SUP and children
There are a few important paddling rules that you should definitely follow:
Rule #1: The SUP board is not a swimming aid!
Your child must be able to swim for stand up paddling. And it definitely needs a life jacket for the right age and weight class. Experts recommend a minimum age of around 7-8 years. At best, non-swimmers should try their first paddling in shallow water. It is better to wait until the children can swim safely.
Rule #2: Appropriate clothing for children.
When the water is still cool, a wetsuit will prevent children from becoming hypothermic. This is faster than with adults, especially since children often flop or jump into the water when standing up. A certified lifejacket is therefore mandatory, not just for children. Here’s the expert’s advice:
All SUP users should wear a life jacket as a buoyancy aid in case of emergency. These life jackets must be adapted to the user’s body weight. Life jackets come in a variety of designs. Especially when making a first purchase, you should seek advice from a specialist dealer and not buy without advice. We recommend a sturdy vest as this still provides some protection if you fall on the SUP.
Klaus-Peter Hentschel, District Manager of DLRG
A protective helmet is also advisable for beginners who are still a little shaky on the board. “Because of the risk of falling for beginners, head protection is strongly recommended,” says Hentschel. “When it comes to helmets, we also recommend visiting a specialist canoe accessory shop.”
Rule #3: Don’t forget sunscreen.
Children are protected from the sun by waterproof sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor of 30 and a suitable hat.
Rule #4: Use table for children.
There are special inflatable SUP children’s boards where the little ones can keep their balance better, their posture is more ergonomic and their endurance is better. Alternatively, you can do it like our editor-in-chief Micky and take your child on the big family or single board. At the bow, you can make yourself comfortable with cross legs or fish aquatic plants out of the lake during the journey.
Rule #5: Sail only on calm water.
For stand up paddling with (especially younger) children, we strongly recommend the shallow water in a quiet bathing or quarry lake. Because if you want to get on the board in flowing water or in the sea, you should already be an experienced stand up paddler.
Inland waterways with commercial shipping are not a suitable practice area for SUP, especially for children!
Klaus-Peter Hentschel, District Manager of DLRG
Rule No. 6: Observe the weather and driving restrictions.
Stand up paddling is not permitted in all places, nature reserves or lock waters are, for example, B. taboo. “Inland waterways with commercial shipping are not a suitable practice area for SUP, especially for children!” warns the DLRG expert. “Before a trip, motorists should be well informed about the conditions in the planned driving area with regard to traffic, current, shoals and sailing rules. The weather and regional forecasts must not be ignored either.”
SUP and children together really keep parents in shape
Our editor-in-chief Micky has already tried the paddle trend with his eight-year-old son and they both loved it. To top it all off, the little big one voluntarily jumped into the water. spank! These are also water sports that not only really get the kids going. Mickey’s conclusion: “Sports for the parents – fun for the children.” The SUP board is definitely a worthwhile purchase.
Which SUP to buy for children?
We have a few tips for all families who have decided that the little ones can go SUP themselves with Stand Up Paddling. You should also keep these in mind if you plan to buy your child’s own table.
- SUP boards especially for children are of course adapted to the lower weight and are available in different sizes. This enables the little paddlers to keep their balance better and maneuver the board more easily.
- As for adults, there are two different versions of children’s SUP boards: the inflatable SUP boards mentioned above (also called inflatable boards) or the classic hardboard.
- For the little ones, we first recommend an inflatable model, because the children don’t get hurt so easily, and it’s just easier to handle.
- When choosing a paddle, the height of your child is crucial. The rule of thumb for the optimal length is: Your child should be able to easily reach the handle with an outstretched arm. There are also length-adjustable paddles that grow with your child.
Which sport suits your child?
Image credit: Gettyimages/_jure
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