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5 important learnings from hosting windsurf camps for kids

5 important learnings from hosting windsurf camps for kids

During the summer months we hosted multiple “Micro Waterman Camps” for kids between 3 and 7 years old. The camps were open for all and we were surprised by the diversity of participants when it comes to prior knowledge about and experience with watersports. Some were kids of parents who themselves were passionated windsurfers or kiteboarders, some were parents who had already bought the Whipper1 but wanted their kid to have a fun experience with other kids and instructors. Some were kids and their parents wanting to try out watersports, and the rest were simply looking for a fun summer adventure.

When counting the number of camps, approximately 40 kids visited us in Vorupor and Copenhagen, 5-6 kids on each camp. To put it short - they all had a great experience - and so did we!



So… How do you actually make a windsurf camp for kids?


Before this summer we had never taught kids this age before, so designing the entire event was done in best trial-and-error-manner. The first camp taught us a one thing and the next one another and so on..


To make it fun, friendly and non-scary for the kids, we put out some huge balloons that could be used as a track in the shallow waters. This made it easier to explain what was going to happen, and it made it obvious where they were going and how far. Every camp started out with the necessary wetsuit-and-vest-charade, but we made it relaxing and fun by greeting each child and parent as well as giving everyone enough time to get ready.


Next step was gathering the kids, introducing ourselves and talking about what was going to happen. Of course parents prepare their kids for what they’re about to experience, so every kid had inputs and the talk was easy! Next up was a short introduction to the gear and getting over any possible fear by running into the water with each other in the hands and touching all the balloons. Getting back to the beach highfives and praise were first on the agenda. This way the kids had a success experience early on - and that's a good start!

 

Well.. We could go on forever talking about the event, but instead we’re going to walk you through the 5 most essential learnings we’ve acquired..


1. How to talk about the wind & setting up gear


The most difficult thing is explaining principles of the wind to kids this age, that are not yet cognitive reflective to a level where proper teaching is meaningful. We tackled this by blowing soap bubbles and watching them fly way. This way we could talk about wind direction and how it’s always a good thing to have the wind in your back, when you’re on the water.  The key is to let the kids join in and set the tone for the conversation and define it. The smallest ones might just enjoy blowing the bubbles, but there’s always one or two kids who are quick to understand and point out where the wind is coming from.


We prepared the equipment beforehand so it lay ready on the beach. Because the Whipper1 is simple, the kids were shown how to put fins on the board and connect the sail to the board too - and believe it or not - the LOVE this. For most kids it’s the hands-on that makes sense and not all the talking.


We did a short demonstration on the beach letting each kid stand on the board and hold the sail. They got to feel the wind and tried dropping and picking up the sail a couple of times. The two absolute most important things is to show them how to use the uphaul and explaining how the sail is like the speeder and dropping it will slow you down. Believe us - it’s really important that they know how to stop because they actually can catch quite some speed out there!


Last it's time to hit the water! We had two instructors, but with kids this age it’s necessary that parents join in so it’s one-on-one. This is to ensure safety but also to make the child feel comfortable and confident out there.

 

 

2. Dealing with the attention span

Alright.. We all know this to some extend; Kids in the pre-school or early-school-age has not yet developed the amount of cognitive control to stay focused for very long at a time. All teachers, parents and pedagogues know this. As a windsurf instructor for kids this age, you really need to take this fact into consideration and work with it, not against it. In a group of 5 or 6 kids there’s a good chance they are going to lose attention and be distracted on different points in time. The best advice to give is to simply let them. Let them run off to dig holes in the sand with a paddle and let them jump into the water and splash around for a while. Give them time to run off their restlessness and smile at it. After a while, and if it’s important, you can call them back and re-engage them in whatever you were doing. If that’s too difficult, let them do their own thing - they’ll come back when the rest of the group start doing something that looks exciting.

Keeping calm and letting kids be kids also makes the parents take a step back and let go of the need to correct and reprimand their child along the way.


Really, hosting camps for small water bubbles this age is all about keeping calm in chaos. If you strain keep order, you’ll exhaust yourself and the kids. Trust that the activity itself is SO much FUN that it will keep them interested and engaged!


Apart from this there are of course certain things you can do to make it as easy as possible for yourself and the children. First of all, do not spend too much time talking. Make sure that activities are alternating and shift every 15 minutes. This way there’s a chance no one gets bored but stays focused, hooked and happy! A natural way to deal with the entire “attention-span-issue” is engaging the kids in activities that you might otherwise just do yourself.


It’s really all about keeping calm in chaos and embracing the action.

 

 

3. The “I-can-do-it-approach”

There’s a certain developmental tendency for kids this age to test out self-dependency and independence, so they will want to do as many things as possible themselves. For that reason it’s a perfect idea to let the kids help drag, gather, set-up and rig the gear. Show them how to do the small tasks and let them try it out themselves. This is yet another way to make them feel successful even before they hit the water. Recognition is key, so hand out as many high-fives as possible, when they’ve successfully put the fins on or attached the rig to the board! Praise the kids that takes initiative and starts messing around with one thing or another - even though you’ve not yet reached that point in the program! The smile on their faces will let you know, that you’re doing the right thing!


 

 

4. Balance instruction and intuitive learning

When it comes to teaching kids this young a relatively complicated sport as windsurfing, it’s definitely a different rule set that applies. Long talks about technique, safety and wind will not resonate with these cute little brains. Instead kids learn more intuitively by watching and imitating, by trying and doing. Furthermore trial-and-error is the best way to move forward when learning a new physical activity - even for us adults. So let the children do their thing on the water, let them experience what happens when they pull the sail too hard, when they fall in the water, when they step back on the board and so on. The most important thing is giving the child LOTS of freedom to feel their way and learn in their own way. The most demotivating and anti-encouraging thing you can do, is to constantly correcting the child and constrain them in their learning. This will give them the feeling that they can only do things wrong and they will quickly lose interest.

Instead, praise, smile and cheer them on - even (or especially) when they fall in the water. That way you ensure they have a positive experience, and that they will feel like champions when they hit the beach. After all this is absolutely crucial, at least if you hope to see them out there again!

 

 


5. It’s all about having FUN!

To finish up this suddenly lengthy post, when all comes to all the most important thing to pin-point is that getting into waterspouts should be FUN! It should be a playful and enjoyable experience, that at anytime will be remembered positively and best of all - will leave the upcoming watermen - and women craving for more.


Several parents contacted us after the camps, telling us how Jimmy or Christine would not stop talking about the course. How they kept asking when they would be able to go again, and if the could have a Whipper1 for Christmas. For us, this was the biggest indicator of success whatsoever- and we are still thrilled! We are already cooking up exciting camps for next season - and maybe even under warmer skies this winter!

 

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to contact us anytime if you already want to reserve your spot at next years Micro Waterman Camp, have great ideas yourself or want to function as instructor. We’ll make a deal.

 

🍄⭐🌝 ᑕIᗩO ᖴOᖇ ᑎOᗯ ᔕᗯEET ᖴEᒪᒪᗩ 🍄⭐🌝

Stand Up Paddle with WhipperKids

Stand Up Paddle with WhipperKids

So.. We designed a paddle for kids..


Windsurfing is really fun but so is Stand Up Paddling (SUP). Doing multiple sorts of watersports is really beneficial for your skill level and feeling of comfort in, on and around the ocean. It’s no riddle, really - the more time you spend on the water, no matter in what way, the more knowledgeable, comfortable and talented you become. Doing different watersports rub off on each other - learning how to stay balanced on the board when stand up paddling will benefit you when windsurfing, while learning how the wind acts and moves, will help you judge and understand conditions when paddling. That is why giving kids the opportunity to do multiple watersports at once is truly important. It furthermore lengthens their attention span to be able to shift from one kind of surfing to another whenever they feel like it. Kids are inherently creative and if they have the chance to experiment and shuffle while learning, they will! Why not have a friend stand-up-paddle while another one windsurfs on the same board? Or have two kids paddling at same time?

 

 

Why SUP?


SUP as sport is currently exploding in popularity worldwide. We definitely feel the rise of interest and attention around the sport here in Denmark after it was decided, that we will host the World Championships in SUP in the beginning of September this year.


Moreover, several parents asked us about recommendations for a kid-friendly paddle that could be used with the WhipperBoard. This made us investigate the market thoroughly. We asked around, looked at what other kids would use, contacted distributors and a lot of suppliers. We realized that there wasn’t actually any recommendable paddles out there. Either the paddle was too long for the age group in question, designed with too big of a blade-size, too big handles, they were too fragile or too heavy. So.. Because of this, we decided to make our own paddle in proper standard dedicated kids between 3 and 7 years old.


The paddle


So what did we end up with?.. The WhipperPaddle is made with an adjustable handle so the length can be can be corrected according to conditions and preference. The blade is made in flexible and retro looking clear polycarbonate with a dihedral spine running in the middle. This decreases “paddle-wobble” and gives your kid(s) the best possible first-time experience with Stand Up Paddling. Both dimensions, flotation, look and usability was taken into consideration during the design process, thereby ensuring the best possible paddle for the small bullets.

 

By focusing on choosing the right dimensions we’ve made sure, that the paddle is perfectly functional for this segment. Secondly, for obvious reasons the paddle needs to float! When studying the market we actually bounced into paddles that were so heavy, that they would sink right to the bottom of the ocean if dropped - and they will be for sure! Our third priority was to make it affordable and durable. You can’t blame kids for wanting to build sandcastles, when they get an instrument in hand that bears a remarkable resemblance to a shovel. A paddle simply invites for digging and landscaping, so rather than fearing for the life of an over-expensive carbon paddle, the polycarbonate blade on the WhipperPaddle lets your kids roam around freely on the beach.


 

The WhipperBoard as SUP

The WhipperBoard board is great for paddling. It’s wide and stable and has lots of glide and directionality in relation to its short length. For kids it’s like a giant SUP. It can easily fit four friends, or one adult and a kid - and that makes it FUN!

The board was developed on Maui, Hawaii. In the process we couldn't resist the urge to take it for a spin in the waves - just to see how it would make it as inflatable wave SUP. To our surprise it actually worked pretty well. It has a really low rocker because it’s designed for sailing, but when you as an adult step back on the giant swallow-tail, you can actually manage to do some sharp turns. It was definitely a lot of fun, but the board would probably not excel on the market solely as an inflatable wave-SUP for adults ;)

There’s no doubt though, that kids with ease will be able to have their first experiences surfing (micro) waves on the WhipperBoard! It’s actually optimal for pushing kids on to their first waves as they can not get hurt when they fall. Having a rope tied to the D-ring on the board furthermore enables you to pull them right out into the lineup again.


Kids stand up paddle

 

How kids learn SUP


First of all, kids are superb learners! They learn lots of things by watching and imitating older kids and adults. Seeing parents, uncles, aunts or older siblings Stand Up Paddling will definitely prompt their learning and give them an initial idea about what they have to do. If they see teens and adults having fun with a paddle, they will want to join in! Kids are even more curious creatures than we are, and sooner or later they will most definitely like to try out their board with a paddle in hand. Furthermore kids usually get really excited about doing what they see adults (especially parents) do - after all mom and dad are the coolest people on the planet!


Then there is the entire learning-by-doing and trial-and-error-concept, that really dominates kids’ existence. By getting things in hand and feeling their way, kids quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t. Through experimentation they rapidly learn how to get the board moving forward and how to sustain direction.

 

Family SUP



Coordination & balance


The two challenges when learning how to SUP is coordination and balance. Luckily most kids have an excellent balance, but it it still takes a bit of practice learning how to “stand on water”. It’s an entire new feeling, even for us adults, and learning how to counterbalance the movements from the water is necessary.

When it comes to coordination a lot of stuff happens between the age of 3 and 7! It can be very difficult for the smallest ones to understand and manage changing the paddle from one hand to another, pulling the paddle through the water the right way and meanwhile staying balanced. The older they are, or the more experienced, the more developed are coordination skills and the easier it gets. Most kids like sitting on their knees while paddling the first couple of times. This is a way to compensate for the lack of coordination skills and for falling down, when they try to stand up. It’s a great start! It will teach them how to make the board move and stay on course. Sooner or later though, it’s a good idea prompting them to stand up. They will fall down and as they do, it’s important to keep a positive, calm attitude, showing them that this is part of the game, that it’s not dangerous and most importantly, that it’s not because they are doing it wrong! It takes practice, but they will get it fast.

After all it has to be fun all the time and everytime as long as they are this small. If not, we risk destroying the excitement and joy of trying it out and we wouldn’t want that! Finding the right balance between crossing boundaries and having fun is the key. Acknowledging and praising every effort they make on the water is absolutely essential. Learning watersports in this age should be nothing but an innocent game.

 

Kids SUP paddle

 

 

Once again - choose the right conditions


Of course it’s really important to support your kid the first times on the water. After all we are talking about kids between 3 and 7 years old.. When walking next to the board or even going for a paddle together, you empower the child and spark feelings of comfort and security. This will spark self-confidence and motivation to try on their own.

We can never say this too many times.. Always choose the conditions suitable for the small bullets. If they throw themselves into too windy or too bumby conditions, they will get scared and lose courage. Choose calm and shallow waters where the kids can roam around freely and feel in control and on top of their game. There’s no doubt they will choose more challenging conditions on their own, as soon as they feel ready for it! After all the most important thing of them all is keeping you kid safe on the water.

No matter what - don't hesitate buying your kids a paddle and taking them on the water. They will most definitely LOVE it - and the chance is, you will too :)

 

🙋🏼🍉🔥 That's all for now sweet Whipper. MAHALO for reading 🙋🏼🍉🔥 

 

How to keep your kid safe in the water

How to keep your kid safe in the water
Water exerts an irresistible attraction for all children. From the pool to the ocean, even at home during their bath, children love to play in water.
It's sparkly.
Things float in it. And it's fun to splash about.. 

However, as we all know, we should never leave our little bubbles unattended - whether in a bathtub, ornamental fish pond, lake, swimming pool, spa, river or at the beach. If you follow our 5 safety tips to make sure your little water bubble stay safe while having fun this summer - you can enjoy those memorable family moments to the fullest!

kid swimming

1. Teach your children to swim

A lot of places offer special swimming courses for infants from 3 months of age, where parent and baby get to enjoy the water together. Sharing water time with parents from this age, is a great way to establish feelings of comfort and joy in connection with water. Toddlers can start having swimming lessons as young as 2 or 3 years old. From this age they have developed the motor and synchronization skills necessary for learning how to swim. Lessons like this are all about getting comfortable with having the head underwater, learning the initial leg kicking movements and floating on the back. There are plenty of great articles online summing up expert knowledge about the best, safest & funniest ways to teach your child how to svim.

Meanwhile kids can also become familiar with and confident in the water by using floating devices, when playing at shallow and calm spots.

 

whipper flotation kids swim vest

 

2. Invest in proper-fitting flotation devices

When it comes to floatation devices, life vests are always a great precaution. They keep the child afloat so they can focus on learning the proper movements of swimming - or just on having fun.

When selecting a floatation device or swim vest, it is important to determine the purpose of the device. If it is meant for recreational purposes in safe and controlled environments with constant supervision, devices like the WhipperVest are perfect. The WhipperVest supports swimming and acts as impact protection. It furthermore makes every kid look extra classy at the local beach scene.  

Most vests, like the WhipperVest, features a safety lock that ensures that the vests stays put whenever the kid is in the water. It is the perfect swimming assistants for your little beach bullet.

If, on the other hand, you want the device to add an additional layer of safety, to ensure your kid stays safer in the water, you need to look for devices that are approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG), ensuring that the device it safety enhancing. )

No matter what - make sure you choose the proper size and check weight recommendations on the label so the vest fits snugly and feels comfortable.

two kids windsurfing    

 

3. Protect your children from the sun

The sun radiates light to the surface of the earth, and that light is made of invisible UV rays. When these rays reach the skin, we experience tanning, burning and in worst case skin damage. Children are more sensitive to sun and heat than adults, so if you love taking your little fish to sea, avoid direct exposure to the sun, especially with younger children. Very young kids have thinner skin and less of the protective chemical melanin in the skin, and therefore burn faster and easier than older kids and adults. For children up to six months that can't tolerate the chemical components in most sunscreen products, clothing and sun hats are the best choice. It's also a good idea hitting the beach before 12am or after 3pm, when the sun and UV radiation is not at it's highest. Even though we hardly have to mention it, remember sunscreen and reapply often.

Numerous articles walk you through the step-by-step best ways to protect your small ones against the sun, the best sunscreens to wear and where to by protecting clothes.

4. Keep them hydrated

Because kids are always active they sweat a lot, even in the water. They easily get dehydrated, so make sure they get plenty of liquids during a hot day on the beach. Water is the number one defense against heatstroke and heat exhaustion because it keeps the body temperature down. Luckily kids usually feel their thirst and ask for water themselves - but if they are having fun, they might forget. Have them drink a cup to one and a half of water 40 minutes before you take off to the beach. If it's a hot day and your kid is playing hard under the sun, have them drink another cup of water every half hour. That will keep them hydrated and energetic during the day. Fruit also contains lots of water and is a great source of vitamins and energy for a fun day.

 

mom and kid windsurf

 

5. Choose the right spot and the right conditions

If you plan on introducing your kid to water sports like windsurfing, choosing the right spot is essential. Kids windsurf is all about about calm weather and protected water areas - it’s about having fun.

To begin with you just need a small area of water. It can be a pond, an outdoor swimming pool or a harbour. The great thing about framed areas, compared to the big, open ocean, is that they can’t physically sail away. If you do not have an area like this near by, agree with the small sailor that they can’t cross a specific point or tie a long leash to the board. The wind should be light so the kid feel in control of both  sail and board.

 

 

If you follow these simple precautions presented here, you will be able to lean back, relax and enjoy watching your kids first shark impression Olympic dive or windsurf session. 

 

 

 

  💦🐳🌤 That's all for now sweet Whipper. MAHALfor reading   🌤🐳💦