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August 07, 2021 12 min read

The Best Children's Paddle Boards

best kids paddle board

Paddle boarding is an absolute thrill and a perfect activity to share with the whole family this summer. Trust us, your kids will love getting involved!

While multi-person SUPs are great for the whole family, it might be time for to get your kids their own board.

Grab your kids their very own paddle board to make the experience even more special and exciting for them. 

We’re going to talk about what makes the best kids paddle board, at what point you should buy them a SUP, and what key features you need to bear in mind when choosing a SUP for your kids.

What makes the best paddle boards for kids?

Kid wearing life jacket while paddle boarding

Paddle boards for kids have to be safe. The safest and best paddle boards for kids are inflatable options because they are soft when you fall on them – the risk of injury is significantly reduced. 

Inflatable paddle boards are also super durable and will keep up with your kids’ adventures. Most iSUPs come with a simple repair kit so you can fix minor dings at home. 

Paddle board size charts can help you decide what length paddle board to get for your kid. Remember you can never be ‘too light’ for a SUP, only too heavy. However, some children may lack the physical strength to maneuver larger paddle boards. 

To find the best kids SUP for your child, you need to consider a few things:

  • Your child’s age and skill level
  • The stability of the board
  • The versatility of the board
  • Extra accessories and attachments

When should you buy a SUP for your kid?

Mom and daughter doing yoga on a paddle board

Determining when you should buy a SUP for your kid can be tricky. Most youth paddle boards provide an age guide starting from five years old, but that does not mean that age five is the right age for all children.

There are some key things that will help point out when your kid is ready for their own SUP: 

  1. You are already taking your kid out for paddles on your own board and they love being out on the water. Chances are, they want to copy what you’re doing and openly express they want their own SUP.
  2. They need to be big enough to actually hold a lightweight paddle and use it. You can use bungee cords and d-rings on your board and the kids SUP to give them a tow from time to time, but that does defeat the point of them having their own board. 
  3. Your kid must be comfortable in the water and be able to swim in case they fall in. If they are comfortable, competent and skilled enough in the water then this is a good indicator that they may be ready for a SUP. But you should still  use a paddle boarding PFD that fits correctly for complete water safety.

9 Best Kids Paddle Boards To Choose From

From lightweight youth SUPs to entry-level adult boards to see them right the way through the years, here are some of the best kids paddle board options available on the market now. 

Gili Air 10’6 – Top Pick Paddle Board for Kids

Our GILI Air 10’6 Inflatable is an ideal choice for a kids paddle board. The wide deck and rounded nose make for excellent stability and easy handling while in the water. As an inflatable SUP, you’ll have peace of mind that your kids are safe and won’t hurt themselves if they slip and fall on the board.

This is not strictly a child-only paddle board, so will see your kids throughout the years. The military grade PVC is durable enough to keep up with all their adventures as well.

GILI air best kids paddle board

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 10’6 x 31” x 6” (225 L)
  • Military Strength PVC Material
  • All around general purpose shape

What we love:

  • Highly versatile and made from durable materials
  • Weight capacity of 280 lbs (up to 300 lbs for advanced riders)
  • Full length deck pad
  • Complete bungee cord storage areas

What we don't love:

  • Could be too big for a smaller child

If you want to buy a kids board that will last them as they grow up, then this is the best stand up paddle board. Maybe just consider to get a more lightweight kids SUP paddle to save their arm power.

Thurso Surf Prodigy 7’6

Thurso’s Surf Prodigy is a good junior board intended especially for kids. The smaller length makes this inflatable SUP board easy to turn and handle both in and out of the water. With a super wide deck your kid will feel stable while learning the basics of paddle boarding.

Even though this is a SUP for kids, it is built with the same level of durability and quality as Thurso’s SUP range for adults, so you know this is a safe inflatable stand up paddle board to go for.

Thurso surf prodigy kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 7’6 x 30” x 4”
  • TRIPLE/QUAD Military Grade PVC
  • All around shape

What we love:

  • Durable construction and great all rounder performance
  • Two carry handles
  • Easy to turn and handle in the water
  • Good deck pad covering half the SUP board

What we don't love:

  • No pump included in bundle deal

This is a great option, but the bundle package is not complete without a pump to inflate the board. This board only has a weight capacity of 75kg / 165 lbs, so it’s worth noting that your kids will outgrow it as they get bigger.

Bluefin SUP Cruise Junior 8’

This 8’ stand up paddleboard from Bluefin is a great junior option that will be suitable for young paddlers progressing. Bluefin’s Junior inflatable SUP offers excellent rigidity and performs just like adult stand up paddle boards. 

With d-rings galore, you can convert the paddle board with kayak accessories giving you options to keep the kids entertained.

Bluefin cruise junior kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 8’ x 29” x 5”
  • 1000 Denier Exo Surface Laminate PVC
  • All around performance shape

What we love:

  • Bundle kit comes with kayak conversion accessories
  • 265 lbs weight capacity
  • 11 D-ring attachment points 
  • Diamond grooved deck pad for extra traction

What we don't love:

  • Heavier board weighing 22 lbs so could be difficult for young kids

Unfortunately, this is a heavy kids paddle board option, so probably isn’t suitable for younger children. The 29” deck is narrower than other boards as well which could make learning how to paddle board harder for your kids. However, despite these minor drawbacks, the Bluefin SUP Cruise Junior is an excellent option that allows for skill progression, and is well worth your consideration!

iRocker Nautical 10’6

iRocker’s Nautical 10’6 inflatable SUP is an entry-level adult board that is also great for bigger kids wanting to get their own gear. As an All around design, this board is versatile and incredibly stable. Learning on this paddle board could not be easier.

This board comes as part of a bundle package that contains all needed equipment to get in the water straight away: ankle leash, built-in traction pad, manual pump, and snap-in center fin. 

iRocker nautical kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 10’6 x 32” x 6”
  • Dual layer military grade drop stitch material
  • All around shape and design

What we love:

  • Affordable and versatile for the whole family
  • 240 lbs weight capacity 
  • Three carry handles (including a center carry handle)
  • Wide deck to give maximum stability

What we don't love:

  • Not suitable for younger paddlers due to size

The size of this inflatable paddle board could be a disadvantage for young kids. They will struggle to turn the board and handling on the land could be difficult.

Red Paddle Co 9’4 Snapper

Red Paddle Co stand up paddle boards are well known for the incredible build quality and durability. This 9’4 Snapper Youth SUP is no exception. You can expect this to last multiple seasons and serve several rounds with the kids.

This SUP has permanent fins, so the kids won’t lose any while on their adventures. However, there aren’t any customizing options as they progress their skills, so you may have to switch it out for a different model as your kids become more competent on the board.

Red paddle snapper kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 9’4 x 28” x 3.9”
  • Multiple-layer coating of Red Paddle Co MSL material
  • All around shape

What we love:

  • Specially designed youth SUP
  • Lightweight (under 17 lbs) so easy board for your child to carry
  • Super durable materials
  • Three handles to carry the board

What we don't love:

  • An expensive SUP for kids
  • Only 3.9” thick, so is difficult for complete beginners

If you’re prepared to pay the premium price for this youth paddle board, then the Snapper is a great choice. Designed with kids in mind, it’s ideal for little rippers up to late teens, with a weight capacity of 60 kg / 132 lbs.

Xplor 7’6 Kid Board

Xplor’s 7’6 Kid Board is a fantastic low-budget choice for families who want to give paddle boarding a try. These boards for kids are lightweight and easy to turn while in the water. The materials used are durable and comfortable meaning they can have hours of fun.

Like most paddle boards, this SUP comes with all the gear needed to dive into the water right away.

Xplor kids Inflatable SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 7’6 x 25.5” x 4”
  • Dual-layered PVC material
  • All around shape

What we love:

  • Specifically designed as a kid’s SUP board
  • Super lightweight – ideal for kids
  • An easy single snap center fin
  • Comfortable deck pad

What we don't love:

  • Low weight capacity, so kids will grow out of this board eventually

This board is suitable for children up to 10 years old. As they get older, they will need to move on to their next board — Xplor also does a 9’ SUP board in the same design.

NIXY Huntington

NIXY’s Huntington inflatable paddle board is a great option for older kids who need something to see them through as they get older and bigger. At 9’6” in length, this board would also be suitable for small adults.

It is a fairly basic option. The materials are good enough for a first, entry-level type kids paddle board. 

NIXY huntington kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 9’ 6 x 32” x 6”
  • Dual layer PVC
  • All around shape

What we love:

  • Versatile and will be suitable as your kids gets older (250 lbs weight capacity)
  • Super wide and stable
  • Non-slip traction pad
  • Three carry handles

What we don't love:

  • Weighs 23 lbs, so can be heavy for younger kids to paddle and move about

If your kid is older, or on the cusp of becoming a teen, then this could be a good option. However, there are other better paddle boards that would last longer as your kids progress in the sport.

Aqua Marina Vibrant

In search of something to stand out from the crowd? Then look no further! 

The Aqua Marina Vibrant kids paddle board really is vibrant; the bold design and color means you will always be able to spot your kid out on the water. Plus, it includes everything you need to hit the water and get paddling straight away.

Aqua marina vibrant kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 8’ x 28” x 4”
  • Value minded Drop Stitch Technology with quality materials
  • All around design

What we love:

  • Eye-catching design 
  • Great for paddle board surfing
  • Center carry handle and bungee cord system
  • Comfortable deck pad

What we don't love:

  • Only a single removable fin option

However, it’s worth noting that, with only having a single fin, this SUP could be challenging to handle and find a solid balance for some young paddlers. But if this isn’t a sticking point for you (or your child) then the Aqua Marina Vibrant is a solid choice for a kids paddle board.

Airhead Popsicle 730 iSUP

The Airhead Popsicle 730 iSUP is a fantastic introductory stand up paddleboard and is perfect to get the kids comfortable with paddling on their own. 

Dinky in size but no compromise on tracking and stability (as long as the paddler is under 120 lbs), the Popsicle is a great choice for smaller children! 

Airhead popsicle kids SUP

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Dimensions: 7' x 30" x 6"
  • Dual-layered PVC
  • All around shape

What we love:

  • Bold color and design
  • Four fins for maximum stability
  • Super lightweight
  • EVA traction pad with tail kicker

What we don't love:

  • Limited time use because of small size (120 lbs weight capacity)

This inflatable board is great if you are happy to buy a bigger upgrade for your kids, as they will outgrow Airhead’s Popsicle inflatable kids board pretty quickly. However, with it’s bold color and design, coupled with it’s super-stable and lightweight build; we think the popsicle is a great board to get the little ones out onto the water.

Things to consider when buying a stand up paddle board for kids

lake paddle boarding for kids

When taking your kid out onto the water, their safety is your main concern. And this starts right from when you are buying a kids paddle board. 

Carefully consider what is needed with the board and you’ll ensure safe and fun paddling experiences for the whole family. 

Child’s Age and Skill Level

If your kid is keen, then you can grab them their own paddle board from as young as 5 years old. Any younger than that and we recommend you keep them on your SUP until they are properly ready for their own. 

Kids pick things up super fast, but it’s still good to teach them the paddle boarding beginner basics, the same as an adult. All Around designed boards are perfect for children to progress and learn the techniques. 

Junior SUPs are fantastic for younger children because they are lighter and easy to turn. However, kids will outgrow these quickly, so you need to think about how long you want the board to last. An entry-level adult SUP can be a better choice.

Inflatable or Hard SUP

Inflatable paddle boards are the best choice for a kid. They are safer than hard board because they are soft when kids fall, and they  can also handle the knocks and bumps of life’s greatest adventures. 

Another winning point for inflatables over hard SUPs is the storage and portability of the board. With an iSUP, you simply deflate, pack up, and go!

Stability

A stable deck and paddle board will help your kid master the basics faster. Stability comes from the width of the board, the correct psi inflation level, and the fin setup. 

We recommend using a three-fin setup – a center fin and two side fins. This will also give a better tracking when turning the board.

Versatility

An all-around paddle board fits most activities. So if your kid wants to try out surfing, they can. If they want to join you for a fishing afternoon, they can. 

You also need to think about how long you want this SUP to last your kid. If they are a young paddler, then a junior SUP is probably a good idea. However, if they are approaching their teens and potential growth spurts any time soon, we recommend buying a lightweight adult board. This will then last them as they get bigger and heavier.

paddle boarding for kids

Accessories

Paddle boarding requires some essential accessories. These include the adjustable paddle, fins, coiled ankle leash, EVA deck pad, pump, and bag (if the SUP is inflatable). 

For kids, you may want to consider these additional accessories to make your kids adventures more fun:

FAQ’S

🏆 What age can you start paddle boarding?

Children can start paddle boarding on their own SUP from as young as 5 years old. You can take a younger child on your own board, with appropriate PFD’s (personal flotation device) and supervision. Never go into challenging conditions that could be difficult for your child to swim in.


👍 How do you paddle board with a child?

To paddle board with a child as a passenger, your SUP needs to be wide and stable (like the GILI 11’ Adventure Inflatable Paddle Board). Include them in the fun and let them try paddling the board for themselves. When it’s safe to do so, let them jump off the board into the water. This will remove any fear of falling off the board and make for more fun.


🏝️ How safe is paddle boarding?

Paddle boarding is safe, provided you take the necessary precautions. Always check the weather and wind forecasts to ensure you have safe conditions. 

Paddle boarding with an inflatable SUP is safe as it is soft and won’t cause injury if your kid falls on to it. The SUP acts as a float and lifesaver in cases of emergency or if you get tired from swimming. 

Never allow your child to go out on the water unsupervised. They must be comfortable to swim out of their depth just in case they lose the board.


❓ What is the best size paddle board for kids?

Junior SUPs are generally around 7 feet in length. This is good for smaller paddlers. However, as children grow they will outgrow this type of board. The best size paddle board for children and young teens are entry-level adult boards around 10 feet in length and 32 inches in width. This will allow them to keep using the board as they grow and develop their skills.


📦 Can my kid use my paddle board?

Yes! Let your kid try using your own paddle board, to begin with. This will let them decide if they want their own board or are simply happy to be a passenger and share yours.

Abi Leach
Abi Leach

Surfer, paddle boarder, and ocean lover. She loves traveling and discovering new destinations all across the world. When she's not writing, she's exploring the outdoors and enjoying fresh air.


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