Originally believed to have been invented in the early 1900s, records of early forms of stand-up paddleboarding have now been found that date the sport back as far as 1,000 BC. Popularized in Hawaii, these early records show that its span has reached across the world as far away as Peru, Italy, and even China. Modern paddleboarding has been revolutionized over the last 100 years by many famous surfers that have evolved the sport to work with the more surfboard-like SUPs that we know today.
There are three basic types of modern paddleboards–surf, all-around, and flatwater/race boards. The shorter, jump-in-the-water-style boards that you tend to find in tourist shops are considered surf-style boards. They are designed for use when you are going to spend most of your time in the surf itself with a narrower shape that is more maneuverable on waves but slower than other types of boards. All-around boards are the most versatile type of SUPs, featuring a wider deck design that allows for added stability which can be useful for first-timers. Flatwater boards have been created as transportation options and use a body shape with rounded sides to increase glide speed. They are excellent for open-ocean paddling and tend to be the longest style of board.
Beyond the different styles of paddleboards are the differences in construction. Hard or solid-style SUPs are those that are made from fiberglass, epoxy, and other types of rigid materials. Hard paddleboards tend to have the best agility and maneuverability. They are able to glide and catch waves and are often used for racing due to their speed. Inflatable paddleboards excel in portability as they are able to quickly inflate and deflate as needed. Most inflatable boards come with a storage bag or backpack that can allow for easy storage when not in use.
Paddleboarding can be an excellent way to encourage water confidence and exercise in children. Stand-up paddleboarding has been shown to improve balance and improve cardiovascular function. It is a low-impact, full-body workout that can help maintain a healthy body weight while also allowing time for you to distress and even meditate while on the water.
Combined with appropriate safety gear, paddleboarding can be a safe and fun way to encourage your little one to get out and play on the water this summer. We have gathered a selection of surf and paddleboards in a variety of style and sizes from across the internet that we hope will aid you in choosing the best board for your child. Whether it’s their first time out or they are an avid enthusiast, we hope that one of our 10 Best Kids Surf and Paddleboards will get your kiddo to “hang ten” this summer!
Our Picks of the Best Kids' Surf and Paddleboards Rated in 2018
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Kids’ Surf Boards and Paddleboards
All boards listed are easily usable by kids and beginners
Kids and beginners need to develop the necessary skills and abilities to use and enjoy these products successfully. We feature several practice boards where these skills can be gained quickly. Children can easily use all of these items and they are appropriate for their weights and sizes. Kids as young as 3 years old can enjoy some of the smaller boards, such as the Spooner boards. With parent supervision, talents can be increased and gained.
Each item is a best-rated, most-frequently bought product of this category
We search for the best-rated, most-frequently bought items in this selected field for your review. This saves you time in scanning through all of the products online that may or may not be the best for your child. Buyers and parents have given their overwhelming, positive feedback on all of these surf and paddleboards.
Every item is durable, long-lasting, and made of quality materials
Most of these items are made of PVC, foam, or polyethylene, which are all very durable and long-lasting. These boards are ready for much use by your kids and the whole family. The weight limits are high, so adults can ride most of these boards too. The majority of the boards come with satisfaction guarantees to ensure your happiness with the items. A few of them are produced by family-owned companies, so they take great pride in their work.
All of these boards come with the accessories needed to enjoy them–no tools necessary
No tools are needed to put these boards together, although some of them do come apart. Instructions are included for a few of them to help with the fin holders and leashes for wrists. All of the SUPs that are inflatable come with pumps to inflate them, and most of the higher-priced boards come with a carrying bag that will hold all accessories and the board too.
NOTE: For SUPs, we offer this advice for beginners on how to use them. Get on the floating board by sitting on it with one leg over each side. Adjust your body core by getting on your knees. You can practice balancing and paddling in this position. Once you are comfortable doing this, try standing up and paddling, balancing yourself as you move through the water slowly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are the paddles adjustable? Does the paddle break down and fit inside the bag? Do the oars float?
A: Yes, the paddles for the SUPs are adjustable and they do break down and fit inside the included carrying bags. The oars do float.
Q: Are the body boards good for SUP yoga?
A: Yes, most of the SUP boards are good for yoga, but just watch the weight limits of the individual boards to ensure you get one that is the proper size and thickness for the user.
Q: Can first-timers stand up easily on the SUPs? Are they easy for kids to use and control?
A: Yes, these boards are very easy to use for the first time and kids will enjoy using them. They are mostly made from soft materials, so they will not hurt themselves if they slip or fall.
Q: Do the fins detach on the SUPs?
A: On the ones with three fins, the middle one comes off only. For the boards with just one fin, it does come off and attaches easily
Q: What is the weight limit on these boards?
A: For the SUPs, the usual limit is 250 pounds, but some of them can hold heavier weights. The paddle boards are less sturdy, so they hold less weight. Check the charts that are given for some of the products to ensure you get one the intended user can enjoy.
Q: Are the SUPs good to ride with dogs? I see people ride with a dog all the time.
Q: Is the weight or height the most important factor when selecting a bodyboard?
A: Weight would be the most important factor in choosing a SUP or bodyboard, just like for a regular surfboard.
Q: Do you have to put wax on the body boards or SUPs? Do these boards come with ankle or wrist straps?
A: No, no wax is needed for these boards because they are made of styrofoam. Just unwrap, put the fins on if necessary, inflate if necessary, and ride.