There are several paddle boards on the market that are especially designed to be used by children.
Smaller boards, smaller paddles and smaller accessories, so the children can easily carry their board to the water and paddle around.
First, and more important than anything in this guide, make sure your child never goes paddle boarding alone!
Water can be very dangerous and it is always mandatory for an adult to be present in case the child needs help or if anything goes wrong.
Getting your child a board especially for children is a good idea, these boards are usually brighter and more colorful and generally cheaper than an adult paddle board.
(Generally speaking, of course, as you could also purchase an $800 Red Paddle Snapper 9’4”).
Of course these boards also have their downside. Your child will keep growing, and if it starts on a bigger board it wouldn’t need to be replaced as fast.
But they will not enjoy the sport as much as on a board their size, as it is also harder to paddle and they get less pleasure out of it.
That is why I would personally recommend practicing on a children’s board before they switch to an adult one.
As some children’s boards still have a rather high weight limit, they will still last a long time.
If your child is only about 30 to 40 lbs. below the weight limit of a paddle board, I would suggest buying a cheaper adult one instead.
Is your child younger and lighter? Then pick one of the boards in the guide below that will suit them best.
Important factors when choosing a Stand Up Paddle Board for kids:
There are 5 factors that are important when choosing a Stand Up Paddle Board for kids:
Of course a Stand Up Paddle Board for children should be smaller than a normal paddle board.
As it gets harder to paddle for them on a bigger board, a smaller size is actually a good thing for children.
Where for adults it is important to have a thicker board of 6’, a 4’ or 5’ is better for a child as there is less distance between them and the water.
This gives them a better momentum to put strength into their paddle strokes and to build up more speed.
This will also make it easier to climb back on the paddle board and easier to carry it under their arms.
As they do not need the extra maximum carrying weight a thinner board is a good solution.
The only downside is of course that the board cannot be used anymore when they get close to the maximum carrying weight, which will happen faster when opting for a thinner board.
It is not only important what the maximum carrying capacity of a board is, but also the weight of the board itself.
A board will become a lot harder to carry for a child, as a difference of a few lbs. or kg will be relatively heavier for them than it is for adults.
In most cases you will carry the board for them to the water, but if they want to carry the board themselves this is also an important factor to keep into account.
As we take the previous two factors into account and also the recklessness of most children, an inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board seems the only valid option.
These are a lot easier to carry around for children because of the lower weight.
They are also a lot less likely to hurt your child, when they accidentally hit themselves in the head with an inflatable board it is a lot less painful than it is with a solid board.
Of course the material of the board needs to be resistant to being handled by children and not break too easily.
As for rigidity it is barely a problem with inflatable paddle boards, as nearly every inflatable board uses PVC drop stitch material that can barely get damaged.
The deck must have good grip so it is easy for the child to keep its balance on the board.
Three fins often also help to keep balance on the board and to not have them fall in the water, but one fin will already help.
When you purchase a Stand Up Paddle Board, no matter whether this is for a child or an adult, you always want as much value for money as possible.
Preferably you want everything included in your purchase, so you do not have to buy a separate paddle, leash, pump or other necessities.
It is always vital to have a leash for children, as this connects them to the Stand Up Paddle Board.
Even if they would happen to fall off, they can easily get back on the board and the board will not get away from them.
A good paddle is always needed when going out on a paddle board.
When you have a paddle especially for children this is great, because they can fully use their power for every stroke.
Most paddles are height adjustable and can be used for years.
Of course a paddle board that has the paddle included is preferred over one that does not have this.
As you are purchasing a smaller than usualy Stand Up Paddle Board especially for children you expect to pay less than for an adult one.
But as you also want the best for your child, quality is also absolutely an important factor in the choice for a board.
As I have said before in other review: I am not looking for the cheapest thing, I am always looking for the best value for money.
I have made my top 6 of Stand Up Paddle Boards for children and have listed their advantages and disadvantages.
Look at the different factors that play a role in the decision for a board and calculate which are most important to you and which board suits you (and mostly your child!) best.
Top 6 of best Paddle Boards for kids:
Aqua Marina Vibrant
✓ 12.6 lbs / 5.7 kg
✓ +- $299
✓ 8’0″ x 28″ x 4”
✓ Max. weight 132 lbs. / 60 kg.
✓ Incl. paddle, leash, pump
ZRAY X0 X-Rider Young
✓ 20.7 lbs / 9.4 kg
✓ +- $229
✓ 9’0″ x 28″ x 5”
✓ Max. weight 187 lbs. / 85 kg.
✓ Incl. paddle, leash, pump
Thurso Surf Prodigy 90
✓ 19 lbs / 9 kg
✓ +- $399
✓ 7’6″ x 30″ x 4”
✓ Max. weight 165 lbs. / 75 kg.
✓ Incl. paddle, leash
Retrospec Weekender Nano
✓ 19 lbs / 12.2 kg
✓ +- $450
✓ 8’0″ x 30″ x 4”
✓ Max. weight 120 lbs. / 54.4 kg.
✓ Incl. paddle, pump
Aqua Marina Perspective
✓ 22 lbs / 10 kg
✓ +- $430
✓ 9’9″ x 38″ x 4”
✓ Max. weight 176 lbs. / 80 kg.
✓ Incl. pump, sidewings
The Bluefin Cruise Junior inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board offers the most rigid and super strong board in a package that is so complete you will not need anything else for a long time.
With a maximum carrying capacity of 265 lbs / 120 kg this board will last for years. As Bluefin offers a whopping 5 year warranty on this board you can be sure it will not break any time soon.
Included in the huge package are a coiled leash, comfortable backpack, a double action high pressure pump, a fiberglass 2-in-1 SUP and kayak paddle and a kayak seat. This makes a huge and complete package for both Stand Up Paddle boarding and kayaking on the paddle board in case the child wants to sit down and paddle.
Admitted, the cost of this board is higher than the other boards in my top 6, but it will surely also last longer and you do not need to purchase any additional gear to go out on the water.
With the weight of 22 lbs / 10 kg the board has a medium weight and most children will be able to carry this board in the supplied backpack with padded shoulder straps for extra comfort.
The high maximum carrying capacity makes this board suitable for both children and teens that want to Stand Up Paddle board. The quality and the warranty of the Bluefin Cruise Junior are unmatched by any other boards and the package is the most extensive you can possible get.
The total cost of this package is currently $549, which is pretty high for a children’s paddle board but understandable because of the high quality and the extensive package. However, if your child is already about 15 years or older I would recommend getting a regular Bluefin Cruise instead as this will last even for higher weights or for going on paddling adventures together on a board.
Let me make one thing very clear, the Aqua Marina Vibrant I am recommending here is the NEW version, the one on the left.
The right version is already a couple of years old and completely different from the current version.
I do not recommend you to purchase the older board on the right, as it has a lot lower quality than the new one and it does not include the same accessories.
The new and improved Aqua Marina Vibrant only weighs 12.6 lbs / 5.7 kg and can carry up to 132/lbs. or 60 kg.
The size is also smaller with 8’0″ x 28″ x 4” and makes it very easy to carry along for a child.
This makes it only suitable for smaller children, not for taller youth.
The reasons I like the board are the low weight, the rigidity and the complete package including every needed accessory.
This all together is delivered in a package for just under $300, which is a great price to get your child started with Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
This board includes a pump, paddle, leash, fin and backpack.
This children’s Paddle Board by ZRAY is of great quality and is also delivered in a complete package including leash, paddle, pump and more.
The size of the board is 9’0″ x 28″ x 5″, with a weight of 20.7 lbs / 9.4 kg.
The maximum carrying capacity of the board is 187 lbs / 85 kg, which ensures that the board can be used for quite some time.
If you need a paddle board for a bit older child / young teenager, this board is a better fit for you than the Aqua Marina Vibrant because of the higher weight limit.
This board only costs around $230 online for the complete package from this known brand.
It must be said however that the availability of this board is not always great everywhere.
Check out the button below to find availability and prices, I try to keep this updated!
The notorious brand Thurso Surf also has a nice children’s board, as you can see in the pictures above.
This board is available in blue or pink, so the child themselves can pick the color they prefer,
Thurso is know for the good quality of the products, and this can also be found in this Prodigy board.
The size of this board is 7’6″ x 30″ x 4″, with a weight of 9 kg and a carrying capacity of 75 kg.
Advantages of this board are the carbon paddle that is included and that it has three bottom fins.
Downsides of this board are the higher price (around $400) and that there is no pump included.
The Retrospec Weekender Nano is a great quality board, but is also more expensive with a price of $449.
As the name says it has a retro design and bright colors. This board is available in 3 different colors: Black/Red, Coral Seafoam (As seen above) and Marina/Orange.
The size of this board is 8’0″ x 30″ x 4”, a weight of 12.2 kg and the maximum carrying weight is 120 lbs / 54.4 kg.
This is a great quality board, just like the Aqua Marina Vibrant this is only suitable for smaller kids because of the lower carrying capacity.
As this is pretty expensive for a board that only works for smaller children I put this lower on the list, but if you have enough money to spend this would surely be worth it.
The board includes some great accessories and includes paddle and pump.
Just like the Thurso Surf this board also has three fins for additional stability and direction.
Unfortunately a leash is missing so you will have to purchase this separately.
The Aqua Marina Perspective is the odd one out here, because of its model with extra inflatable side wings for more stability.
With a size of 9’9″ x 38″ x 4” it is bigger than the other boards mentioned, but this includes the inflatable wings.
This board weighs 10 kg and has a maximum carrying capacity of 176 lbs. / 80 kg.
The Perspective is recommended for children a little older that want some extra stability and want to be sure to not fall in the water.
The side wings are removable, so you can also use this as a regular paddle board for smaller children.
This board can be found online around $430, but is sometimes also sold cheaper.
A big downside of this board is that it comes without a paddle and a leash, which have to be purchased separately.
Conclusion Best Paddle Boards for children in 2020
There are quite some differences between the paddle boards in my top 6, which I have arranged by best value for money.
The Bluefin Cruise Junior clearly offers the best quality board with a high carrying capacity, a fiberglass paddle and even a kayak seat included. It could not possibly get any better than that in a children’s paddle board.
An Aqua Marina Vibrant board also offers a good package at a lower price, but it does not have the quality and completeness of the Bluefin Cruise Junior.
Also take into consideration that I only recommend the Aqua Marina Vibrant board for younger children.
Young teens should go for a Bluefin Cruise Junior, ZRAY X0 or Aqua Marina Perspective, as these boards have a higher maximum capacity and are better suited.
The Thurso Surf Prodigy and the Retrospec Weekender Nano are other higher quality boards in this list.
But because they are too expensive for a board for small children and they lack a pump or leash, I do not consider them as best value for money and they cannot compare to the Bluefin board.
You cannot be sure your child will like Stand Up Paddling and if it does not, you will have spent a lot of money on a board that will not be used.
For less than $300 you could purchase a complete package and try this out!
Are you already sure that your child loves Stand Up Paddling. Then definitely go for the Bluefin Cruise Junior, you will not regret this purchase!
Let your child start on a board their size so they will learn to love the sport, instead of hating it because paddling with a big board is too difficult.
Do you have a children’s paddle board yet or are you planning to purchase one of these boards in the future?
Are you purchasing your child one of these children’s boards or are you going for an adult board straight away?
Let me know in the comments! I’ll try to answer all of them 🙂