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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙋🏼🍉🔥