what sup paddle length is best for kids
what sup paddle length is best for kids

We all know that stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become increasingly popular among both kids and adults. But when it comes to choosing the right paddle length for our little ones, things might get a bit confusing. After all, we want them to enjoy this fun activity to the fullest and ensure their safety on the water. In this article, we will guide you through the factors to consider when determining the ideal SUP paddle length for kids, so you can make an informed decision and set them up for a fantastic paddleboarding experience.

Determining the Best SUP Paddle Length for Kids

When it comes to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) with kids, choosing the right paddle length is crucial. The correct paddle length ensures that kids can paddle comfortably and efficiently, allowing them to fully enjoy their time on the water. In this article, we will guide you on determining the best SUP paddle length for kids, taking into consideration various factors such as their height, weight, experience level, and personal preference. We will also provide recommendations for paddle lengths based on age and height, as well as offer tips for teaching kids proper paddle technique. So, let’s dive in and find the perfect paddle length that will make your child’s SUP experience even more enjoyable!

Why Choosing the Right SUP Paddle Length is Important

Choosing the right SUP paddle length for kids is important for several reasons. Firstly, an improperly sized paddle can make it difficult for kids to maneuver their boards efficiently. It can lead to fatigue and strain on their arms and shoulders, making paddling a tiring and frustrating experience. Secondly, using the wrong paddle length can hinder a child’s ability to maintain proper posture and technique, which not only affects their paddling performance but can also increase the risk of injury. Lastly, the right paddle length allows kids to develop proper paddling skills and form from an early age, setting them up for success and ensuring a lifelong love for SUP.

Factors to Consider When Selecting SUP Paddle Length for Kids

When determining the best SUP paddle length for kids, there are several factors to consider. These factors include the child’s height and weight, experience and skill level, type of paddling they will be doing, the width of the board they will be using, and their personal preference. Let’s delve into each of these factors to help you make an informed decision.

Child’s Height and Weight

The child’s height and weight play a significant role in determining the appropriate paddle length. As a general rule, the paddle should be long enough to comfortably reach the water without having to excessively bend the child’s wrist or lean forward too much. For shorter or lighter children, a shorter paddle length may be more appropriate, while taller or heavier children may require a longer paddle for optimal performance.

Experience and Skill Level

A child’s experience and skill level in paddleboarding should also be taken into account when choosing the paddle length. Beginners may benefit from a slightly shorter paddle, as it provides better control and maneuverability. As a child gains more experience and strength, they can gradually transition to a longer paddle length to accommodate their growing skills.

Type of Paddling

The type of paddling the child will be doing is another factor to consider. If they are mainly paddling on calm lakes or flatwater, a shorter paddle may be suitable. However, if they plan to venture into ocean paddling or engage in SUP surfing, a longer paddle may be necessary for increased stability and reach.

Board Width

The width of the child’s board is important to consider when selecting the paddle length. Wider boards require a longer paddle to reach the water comfortably, while narrower boards may require a shorter paddle. It’s essential to choose a paddle length that allows the child to paddle without straining or compromising their technique due to the board’s width.

Personal Preference

Last but not least, personal preference should be taken into account. Some children may prefer a slightly longer paddle for more powerful strokes, while others may feel more comfortable with a slightly shorter paddle. It’s important to listen to the child’s feedback and adjust the paddle length accordingly to ensure they enjoy their paddleboarding experience to the fullest.

Recommended SUP Paddle Lengths for Kids by Age and Height

Now that we have considered the factors that influence the choice of paddle length, let’s provide some recommended SUP paddle lengths based on age and height ranges.

Paddle Length for Kids Aged 4-6

For children aged 4-6 and with a height ranging from 3′ to 3’9″, a paddle length of approximately 45-55 inches should be suitable. This length allows them to comfortably reach the water without straining their wrists or bending too far forward.

Paddle Length for Kids Aged 7-9

Children aged 7-9 and with a height ranging from 3’10” to 4’6″ can benefit from a slightly longer paddle length ranging from 50-60 inches. This length provides the necessary reach and control, allowing for efficient paddling and maneuverability.

Paddle Length for Kids Aged 10-12

For children aged 10-12 and with a height ranging from 4’7″ to 5’3″, a paddle length of approximately 55-65 inches is recommended. This longer length accommodates their growing height and allows for powerful strokes and improved performance.

Paddle Length for Teens

Teenagers who have outgrown the kids’ ranges can use adult paddle lengths based on their height. It’s important to measure their height and refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with a SUP professional to determine the appropriate paddle length.

How to Measure the Correct SUP Paddle Length for a Child

To measure the correct SUP paddle length for a child, follow these simple steps:

  1. Have the child stand upright on a flat surface with their arms raised above their head.
  2. Measure the distance from the ground to their wrist crease. This measurement will serve as a starting point to determine the approximate paddle length.
  3. With the child’s arm extended straight up and the paddle blade resting on the ground, the top of the paddle handle should align with their wrist crease or fall slightly below it.
  4. Adjust the paddle length accordingly and make sure it feels comfortable for the child, allowing them to reach the water without overextending or straining.

Remember, these measurements and guidelines serve as a starting point, but personal preference and comfort should also be taken into consideration. It’s always a good idea to test the paddle length in the water before making a final decision.

Adjusting and Growing with the Right SUP Paddle Length

Children grow quickly, and it’s important to choose a paddle length that allows for adjustments and growth. Many SUP paddles feature adjustable shafts, which can be extended or shortened to accommodate a child’s growth spurts. Investing in an adjustable paddle ensures that the child can use the same paddle for an extended period, saving you money and providing a flexible solution as they grow. Regularly reassess the paddle length as the child grows and make any necessary adjustments to ensure they are paddling with optimal reach and comfort.

Importance of Proper Paddle Technique for Kids

Teaching kids proper paddle technique is crucial to their success and enjoyment of SUP. A solid foundation in paddle technique not only improves their performance but also helps prevent fatigue and injury. It’s important to emphasize the following key points when teaching kids proper paddle technique:

  1. Start with the Basics: Begin by teaching the child how to hold the paddle correctly, placing one hand on the handle and the other hand gripping the shaft. Teach them the importance of maintaining a relaxed grip and using their entire body for propulsion rather than solely relying on their arms.

  2. Demonstrate Correct Technique: Show the child how to engage their core, rotate their torso, and use their leg muscles while paddling. Explain the proper motion of planting the paddle blade in the water near the nose of the board and pulling it back alongside the board, applying steady pressure throughout the stroke.

  3. Emphasize Proper Posture: Encourage the child to maintain an upright posture while paddling, with their back straight and shoulders relaxed. Stress the importance of keeping their weight evenly distributed on the board to maintain stability.

  4. Encourage Frequent Breaks: Paddling can be physically demanding, especially for kids. Remind them to take frequent breaks and rest when needed to prevent fatigue and overexertion. It’s essential to make paddleboarding a fun and enjoyable experience for them.

  5. Provide Positive Reinforcement: Praise the child for their efforts and progress, focusing on their accomplishments rather than critiquing their mistakes. Positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and motivates them to continue improving their paddle technique.

Tips for Teaching Kids to Use SUP Paddles Properly

To ensure kids learn and use SUP paddles properly, here are some additional tips to consider:

  • Start with the Basics: Begin with simple exercises and drills that focus on proper paddle grip, stroke technique, and balance. Allow them to become comfortable with the basics before progressing to more advanced techniques.

  • Demonstrate Correct Technique: Take the time to showcase correct paddle technique yourself, allowing the child to observe and imitate your movements. You can also utilize videos or online tutorials to reinforce proper paddle technique visually.

  • Emphasize Proper Posture: Remind the child to maintain proper posture throughout their paddling session. Encourage them to engage their core muscles and keep their spine aligned for stability and optimal performance.

  • Encourage Frequent Breaks: SUP paddling can be physically demanding, especially for young children. Encourage regular breaks to rest and hydrate, allowing them to recharge and prevent fatigue.

  • Provide Positive Reinforcement: Remember to offer praise and positive feedback regularly. Celebrate their successes, no matter how small, and encourage a growth mindset. Positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and encourages them to continue improving.


Choosing the right SUP paddle length for kids is essential for their comfort, performance, and safety on the water. By considering factors such as height, weight, experience level, type of paddling, and personal preference, you can determine the optimal paddle length for your child. Remember to measure the correct paddle length based on their wrist crease and adjust as they grow. Additionally, teaching kids proper paddle technique from the start is crucial for their success and enjoyment of SUP. By following the tips we’ve provided and emphasizing basic technique, posture, breaks, and positive reinforcement, you can ensure that your child develops good paddling habits and has a fantastic experience paddling on the water. So, grab the right paddle length, hit the water, and enjoy the wonderful world of stand-up paddleboarding with your kids!

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Jake Walker
Hi, I'm Jake Walker, a passionate outdoor sports enthusiast and SUP Board expert. With years of experience in the field, I have gained extensive knowledge and expertise in all things related to SUP Boards. I am dedicated to providing valuable tips and advice to help fellow enthusiasts make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right SUP Board gear. Throughout my journey in the SUP Board community, I have been recognized for my contributions and have received several prizes and rewards for my expertise. These accolades have further motivated me to continue sharing my knowledge and helping others navigate the exciting world of SUP Boarding. I believe in the transformative power of outdoor sports and how they can enhance our connection with nature. My writing philosophy revolves around inspiring individuals to embark on their own SUP Board adventures and embrace the thrill of exploring new waters. When it comes to my writing style, I strive to inject a personal touch into every piece I create. I want my readers to feel like they're having a conversation with a friend, providing them with relatable and practical advice that they can apply to their own SUP Boarding experiences. I am excited to be a part of SUPBoardGear.com, where I can engage with a community of like-minded individuals who share the same passion for SUP Boarding. Connect with me on this platform, and together, let's explore the world of SUP Boarding and make unforgettable memories on the water. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the perfect SUP Board gear for your next adventure. Let's embark on this incredible journey together!