Surfing is a sport for both kids and adults. You may decide to introduce your child to the beautiful sport or he/she can see the appeal of surfing for himself/herself. One thing is for sure, surfing is going to stay with your kids forever and who knows maybe they will introduce their own kids to the sport.
Now that you want to introduce your kids to surfing, the next thing to do is to buy a surfboard for them. Fortunately, buying surfboards for kids is easy since there are limited options on the market. There are several soft-top surfboards for kids available on the market and all you have to do is to choose one that’s the right size for your kids.
I don’t think I need to spell out that not all kids’ surfboards are made equal. Some brands produce more quality and durable surfboards than others and it’s in light of this that I created this little guide covering the different things to take into consideration when choosing a surfboard for a child. Here we go.
What Types of Boards are Best for Kids?
The following types of surfboards are suitable for kids
Softboards: When it comes to safety, these boards are the number 1 pick. They are essentially made for kids who are also beginners. First-time surfers are advised to use this board. No risk of injury after a fall on this board.
Mini Mal Surfboards: When it has to do with stability, these types are the go-to boards. They can be retained within the family. After learning balance and stability, kids can easily pass these boards to their younger siblings.
Fish surfboards: These surfboards offer more volume with rigidity. These make them great choices for kids. They could be used for a while as kids mature in levels of surfing.
What Size of Surfboard is Good for Kids?
Volume and Length
The volume of a surfboard is one critical metric that helps give us information as regards the buoyancy of the board. Since the volume is a determinant of how the board floats in water, beginners and kids need to use boards with large volumes considering they are not yet pro-surfers. These large volume boards offer them the needed assistance- buoyancy, in this case. As they advance from the beginners level, they can then start trying boards with less volume.
The length of the surfboard, just like any other material, is how long it is. Paddling of longer boards is easier- the larger area they occupy allows for catching of waves. However, handling of these longboards has proven to be more difficult for kids. So it is advised to go for the shorter boards for your kids. Those within the range of 50 inches should be a good fit for the average kid.
Depending on Age
Age is one critical factor to consider when determining the size of boards to get for your kids. You don’t get a toddler the same size of surfboards you get for a tween or a teenager.
It is often said that when it comes to beginners and kids, the bigger the board the better. This is because it gives them a larger surface area that helps provide more stability to these boards as they surf. However, these boards shouldn’t be too big (length especially), where they become difficult to control.
Also, since most kids engage more in bodyboarding, they’d need enough room to contain their bodies. However, as they grow older their handling of slimmer boards becomes a piece of cake. They can now make do without the assistance provided by the large surface area of bigger boards.
How Can Kids Get Into Surfing?
To introduce your kid(s) to surfing, you’d have to first build up their interest in the sport. Try to make them want to participate in the sport. Watching surfers on TV or seeing you surfing themselves could build this interest, considering that many kids are willing to try out what their parents are engaged in.
After getting them interested in the sport, the next thing is to start introducing them to warm water, especially for kids who have never been in the ocean. You first let them get comfortable with shallow water before going for the larger body of water. After building up the needed confidence in shallow water, the next thing is to start the surfing lessons. If possible, I’d advise you to also start your lessons in shallow water.
Also, when trying to teach skills on how to maneuver in the water. You could first practice this on land. How to hold the board, how to rise from a sitting/lying position yet maintain the stability of the board. All these could be learned on land before getting into the water. In all these teachings, try to make it as engaging and fun-filled as possible.
The next thing is to try what had been learned on land in the water. However, you still don’t need to dash into the deep just yet. Kids can first implement what has been learned on the land in shallow parts of the water. After which they can then proceed to practice in the ocean or beach. In doing so, kids shouldn’t be made to go far away from land alone yet.
In teaching kids how to surf, especially the very young ones. You could first allow them to practice bodyboarding since it is usually easier. You do not need to start actual surfing immediately. Take baby steps.
Finally, give room for mistakes. The child will probably fall a couple of times before getting it, this is the same for adult beginners. All you need is to encourage them after each fall. Also, try to make it interesting and fun even after the fall. This will help build the needed confidence. You don’t need to put on a disappointed face after a fall, but rather an encouraging face.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Surfboard for Kids
Materials & Construction
Since we are talking about kids, safety should be a major concern. That’s why I’d recommend you go for the safest form of surfboards out there, which are the ones made out of foam. We call them soft top surfboards.
Foamie surfboards have their deck padded. Their fins are made out of plastic materials. They are essentially made to reduce any form of injury when users come in contact with the board, especially during a fall.
They also help parents cut costs, as there is no need to buy surfboard bags for extra protection when transporting them. Since the boards themselves are made out of foam, you could just fasten them to the top of your car when heading to the beach
These boards offer you all these nice features listed above yet are long-lasting. They are durable and can be passed down to the younger kids after the elder outgrows them. They are the kinds of boards recommended and used by schools and surf tutors.
Just like in fish where fins are used to swim better, glide through the water, or in some cases propel them in the water. Fins attached to surfboards perform similar functions. They help give direction, control, and added stability to the board. They could also function as a sort of a speed regulator.
Something unique about these fins that are mostly located at the bottom of the rear of the board is the way they can cut through water in ways that finless boards cannot. In most surfboards for kids as well as for beginners, there are usually two fins where each is beside the other. In some cases, they are three forming a triangle just at the rear underside of the board. This configuration permits for better stability and enables these surfers to turn to either side when surfing. I’d advise you to go for boards with detachable fins, for easier carriage and transport.
Parents don’t like buying gear they know kids would outgrow in a couple of years. This is seen where most buy oversized wetsuits for children, this is exactly what is observed amongst those who buy surfboards for their kids.
It is more or less a means of cutting costs, especially in families where there are not too many younger kids to adopt the surfboard after being outgrown by the elders. However, bigger boards seem to be better for beginners.
The larger space means there is more room for balance and easy to maintain stability. Though young and newbie surfers begin to hone their skills, they tend to go for shorter boards, which might not even be the same for kids, considering they too are growing.
I’ll advise you to adopt this same method used by other parents when you intend to buy a surfboard for your kid. You shouldn’t overly spend on a board; you’d have to keep changing as they outgrow them.
Also, in a situation where you are just planning, say a family trip where surfing is probably on your bucket list for said trip. I’d advise you just go for something simple that wouldn’t cost you much. After all, if you are not entirely sure if your child would enjoy the sport, talk less about picking them as a new hobby.
Most parents who are surfing enthusiasts probably wish to teach their children what they love to do in their leisure time. It could be a means of getting closer to the kids or further increase the bond between parents and children. If you fall into any of these categories, then this article is for you.
Another category is those whose kids just develop an interest in surfing– maybe after watching surfers on TV or being influenced by friends. This article is a guide to enable you to know the right kind of boards to get for your kids.