Bring the kids
Kids love being on the water – it’s a real adventure, and they love the freedom they get from controlling their own boat.
The good news is that paddling’s ideal for kids of all ages, whether they’re splashing round at the beach or pushing themselves in slalom or freestyle competitions.
Before you get afloat
It always used to be a challenge to find boats that were the right size for children, but it’s not a problem any more. Plenty of manufacturers make boats that are properly sized for the junior paddler, ranging from sit-on-tops to whitewater kayaks to competition boats.
Also, children should always wear a buoyancy aid when they take to the water, and know how to cope if they do capsize, and what you can do to help. It’s a simple drill, but it’s often worth going through it with an instructor first.
The general rule is that you should only take to the water in places you’d be happy to swim.
Ways to start
There are plenty of summer schemes and kids’ clubs throughout Wales to give children a safe, fun introduction to paddling. Look for BCU/Canoe Wales qualified instructors as the sign of a reputable operation.
Most clubs welcome junior paddlers, and they can be great places to try different types of paddling and get practice, fresh-air and exercise. In fact, plenty of schools have their own canoe clubs too.
As children get into paddling, they might want to try their hand at building up their skills or entering competitions, and there are a number of specially-designed schemes to help them get started, like Paddlepower
and the Youth Freestyle programme