Kids Gain Self-Confidence. There is simply nothing like being able to go a distance opr explore a body of water with your own physical energy from a very young age. Riding a bike is one thing. Skillfully steering and powering a paddleboard is quite another. All of a child’s athletic endeavors helps to shape their sense of self, but SUP opens the door to a community of “waterpeople” of all ages and abilities. How often can an entire family head out to the water – each independent but connected? How often can a young athlete stand board to board at the start of a race with elite paddlers – who nurture and inspire?
Spatial awareness. When kids learn how to navigate a standup board through narrow spaces and tight turns—how to avoid collisions, round a buoy with finesse, or squeeze into a packed starting line at a regatta—they develop a spatial awareness that will bring them prowess all activities that involve coordination. Like driving, for instance.
Sense of direction. Kids might paddle all week with a class, camp program or clinic – and gain one set of skills. They become able to go out and explore on their own – which delivers a different set of challenges and rewards. By planning a route with guidance, heading out with the right safety equipment a young person can begin to develop a good sense of direction. Noticing which direction they had come from, picking out landmarks, and knowing how to get back becomes a regular part of their stream of consciousness. That awareness is crucial to having a sense of direction.
Weather knowledge. Do you know from which direction thunder storms normally come? Do you know what the water temperature normally is in cold water climates?? If your child is a standup paddler, he or she will know. Weather knowledge will come in handy both on-the-water and on land.
Sportsmanship and Community. Standup paddling has such an easy learning curve as newcomers to the sport start as beginners. Young people who have put in some time and have gained some skills – usually from a parent or mentor – can easily adopt those roles for themselves. The nature of SUP events invites connection, fun and even competition across age groups. On the land or on the water opportunities to share equipment and knowledge are abundant.