Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

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Gazza
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Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Gazza »

Just interested at what age fellow paddlers with young-uns have you introduced your kids to paddling and how ?
And yes I mean the kids age, before some smart alec says 40 :-)

My eldest is 4.5. The switch about swimming unaided has suddenly just clicked in him and although he hasn't got much stamina yet he can essentially swim (without style) and get around in deep water. Hes got bags of water confidence and can hold his breath for a remarkably long time (to the extent that once or twice whilst swimming with him I've grabbed him out the water in a panic, assuming there was a problem, only to realise he was just happily sat there floating face down looking around underwater quite happily). I'm sort of wondering the next steps to get him bobbing about in a boat.

I'd welcome any others experience and useful tips.

Cheers

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Niall Milner
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Niall Milner »

Depends whether you're talking kayaking or open boating?

Kayaking, I'm minded to wait till they will be physically big enough, and strong enough to be able to do it. I'm guessing around 7-8 or older at the earliest. The only exception in my mind would be messing about in ponds for a quick short blast.

Canoeing, the earlier the better. Wee girl was 1.25 on her first trip and the wee man was only 0.75....
No problem at all. Though we did allow him to sleep on the Journey across Derwent to the Island for lunch!
Image

Canoes score highly for little kids as there's lots of room to manoevure, carry lunch, toys, water pistols, sit back if they don't want to paddle, have a snooze, etc. And they lend themselves to sunny adventures on gentler rivers when there's no whitewater going on. All the while allowing the kids to get handy with a paddle, confident around a boat in general and used to the river environment. After that moving on to kayaking should be pretty straightforward (well, that's the theory we're using at the moment anyway - won't know if it's worked for another 6 years yet!!

Perhaps Nic B (Mzee) can impart some words of wisdom as to how he got his boys into it, they seem to enjoy it........ ; )

Niall

cp
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by cp »

Started mine around 3 in their own boats, younger sat on my knee in mine, biggest problem I found was the weight of the paddle(although they are lighter now than schlegals) I had to invest in carbom slalom paddles so they could lift them. They do not need to be able to swim as I always used a bouyancy aid and was there to get them so I would say as soon as you feel confident of looking after them rather than their age.

Chris

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Kayak-Bloke
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Kayak-Bloke »

Under 100% close supervision I've had my lad in the water from 2. I had a line tired to the rear grab loop and let him surf in on tiny tiny waves, he was never more than give feet away. Hen had his first capsize aged four...I've seen ten year olds at CIWW on the course itself. I regularly bring a couple of boats into the house and play with him in them! Main problems are strength and keeping them warm. Keep it fun. Keep it casual plenty of time for proper boating.

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by DaveBland »

I'm not pushing it with my daughter. If she's interested, then sure I'll take her, but if not then great too.
She's just 8 now and so more than capable of giving it a go, so I suspect it won't be long.
If I'm honest, half of me is scared shitless of the idea of her paddling. Could I handle the worry? But it would be cool to go out together, although I suspect that the window of her wanting to be seen on the river with her old man would be short...
dave

Jace
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Jace »

Might find this a useful, and interesting read -

http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/Articles/Ge ... p143_cat28

J

John Saunders
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by John Saunders »

Daughter started at 7 (with a Dynamo; only new boat I've ever bought) on lots of easy water e.g. canals, Wye below Hay bridge for ferry gliding, Dorset Frome, Keyhaven marshes, Itchen below Woodmill, etc. BCU 1* on a high Thames with Kayakojacko and 5-miling on the Wye with RiverStrokes at 8 (I'm not a club paddler but I think professional training is always worth while, especially if your as untalented as me, and they lap it up).

Image

Your son's water confidence is, IMO, essential. Even then a swim in moving water can upset confidence (as I learnt to my shame).

Dave Bland is completely right - don't make them do it. My daughter had an 18 month gap in paddling before the second photo (hence the short sleeves) apart from some school trips (sad human nature, but you'll be well smug when your child comes home and talks about inept paddling peers at 10), but then just jumped back in because she wanted to do it last year (getting political in her old age).

P.S. Be prepared how much they'll change in 5 years. It's gonna cost you. They grow out of paddle gear before they wear it out (she flogged the Dynamo, pocketed the money, and then nicked her Mum's RPM). She has just given the cag to a friend's daughter (8 year old) who is also just starting to paddle, so guess who has to buy her a new one. Maybe she's old enough for trousers ;-)

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Gazza
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Gazza »

Thanks for the various thoughts, and that link to the CKUK article, useful read.

Niall - good effort on the Maxi Cosi in the Canoe. I can imagine my wife asking if Canadian canoes come with Isofix these days :-)

I guess leaving it it till they are interested is the main thing, but he's been asking where I go canoeing and is the water fast, etc etc, and loves getting my boat out on the grass, or sticking the kit on.

Maybe a play in the sea/small surf, just floating in the shallow water on a sunny day might do the trick, as Kayak-Bloke.

Alternatively I was thinking pool session - but they seem to all have pre-requisuite tests swimming 25m etc, which he's not at the stage yet.

Chris / CP - did you buy kid sized boats. Did you just start on a local lake, flat river ?

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Gazza
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Gazza »

John Saunders wrote:(she flogged the Dynamo, pocketed the money, and then nicked her Mum's RPM)
Haha, so she's learning good commercial practice as well as paddling skills :-)

I must admit I hadn't thought about the repeat kit cost - it's bad enough buying ski wear for them each year, though so far I've managed to make one set last two years and been able to do it cheaply at TK Max. I suspect paddle wear is going to be a different cost league....

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Sickboy
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Sickboy »

Although my little ones only 6 months I've already given this some thought, I can't remember learning to paddle I was started so early.
An open canoe is the way to go when they are really young, just because you can do some distance then, rather than just floating round a pond with them on your lap, so much stuff to carry.
Location and partner would be my worry, as I paddled up the medway looking at the banks, not sure I'd be wanting to fight little one out of the water, then have to sort the boat and kit out and by myself up the long sections of steep bank/heavy scrub and deep water if the worst happened.

Oh and if you paddle at a club with little one the chances are that one day, one of the competitive disciplines will come knockin, say good bye to family holidays, whole weekends and any spare cash in your wallet, and you'll be wanting a van too, best start saving now.
Rum and coke, best served by the pint.

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jon a
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by jon a »

My daughter started paddling her own kayak when she was just under 3 years old. She can swim so long as she has a buoyancy aid on and is more than confidant in the water (a little too confidant sometimes!). It only works because I managed to get her a Fun 1 which is small enough and light enough for her to use and a kids paddle (Grey Owl Ottertail) which is also small enough and light enough for her to use. I hadn't intended for her to start this young but she got in a boat with me and just did it so thought we may as well encourage it!

Both my daughter and son were in open boats with us very early. They mostly fall asleep in the bottom of them in fact my son managed to get himself in the York Press asleep in an open boat during the Kate Stainsby Memorial Paddle in York this weekend!

The main problem I have encountered with her paddling at such a young age is support from clubs. So far both York and Lower Wharfe Canoe Clubs have decided she is too young to be allowed to paddle with them so I am struggling for a pool session through the winter. It's not a problem in the summer as I can get her out and about on lakes, rivers and canals but during winter it is more of an issue.

J
You learn something new every day, most times it is that what you learnt yesterday was in fact wrong!

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justin-g
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by justin-g »

Good thread - i have been out canoeing with my son a few times he is now almost 2. He likes it OK. Next step i think will be a self bailing inflatable and a few bumpy rapids once his swimming progresses - he can kick well and surface and has pretty good confidence. For me pushing him onto harder stuff like class 2 will be totally swimming dependant - so this is what's i'm spending all my time on. But i would like to start taking him down class 2 next summer - so he will be just under 3. Fingers crossed.

BUT at the moment kayaking and canoeing plays second fiddle to biking - he is obsessed by mountian biking - its the only thing he wants to watch on TV. He call's it cbb-bike. So i record boring stuff like the XC world cup and he watches it for literally hours. So i might be hard pressed getting him into kayaking at all. If you have ever seen a 20 month old boy caneing it down hills on a balance bike. Is it wierd to be proud of your son being covered in brusies from all the stacks??


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Tom_Laws
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Tom_Laws »

Justin - sure you have seen this, but others may enjoy it...

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Growing-Up ... video.html

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justin-g
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by justin-g »

Tom_Laws wrote:Justin - sure you have seen this, but others may enjoy it...

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Growing-Up ... video.html
Yeah seen it (gotta love Flip Board) - that kid is amazing. Hope the book launch went well - couldn't get the requisite pink pass to come accross - but have ordered one.
White water "rider"

cp
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by cp »

Gazza,

Sorry can't post pics but if you pm your e-mail I'll send you a couple. To start they were in a small but adult boat (necky witch) as I paddled the switch so we matched. As I said biggest problem was paddles. I also took them out in a topoduo so were down the Washburn at 5 to get a feel for moving water. Agree with all who say don't push them, My daughter has given up, my eldest son only comes when pushed but still has a big smile ( It's not cool to be out with dad) and my youngets now 12 still loves it and can come along on any trip I do now. Are you confident enough? do you have friends you can trust? Thats all that matters in all sports. Good Luck and I hope they keep it up.
Where are you based if you are in the North East want to try the Witch PM me
Chris

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by JohnK »

Image

This one was 3 3/4 at the time. Or was it 4 3/4. Pre-Dynamo days.

A couple of posters mentioned paddles. These were made with a broom stick and plywood blades. Longer shaft and bigger blades as he got older.

My club takes them for Paddlepower training from 8. We have younger paddlers but get distracted (or are a distraction) in a group so are largely one-to-one with a parent.

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Neptune »

I belive Papa Burne (Nic) had Tim, Richard and Dave in boats whilst still in nappies...

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Goopsdad »

NEVER introduce your kids to paddling. Within 3 weeks they'll make you look a bit pants!

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Grumpy old man
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Grumpy old man »

Hi
We introduced Zac to boating and playing in rivers around about the age of 3. His first river trip in his own boat at 4 (Tarn gorge, France), he paddled the "Knackerzaccy" rapid ( made up name) at 4. Started play boating on the Tees barrage at 7/8 then slalom paddling at 10/11 he has now just turned 14 and is the youngest kid to ever get into the prem division. But be warned we now drive around 25000 miles a year taking him to events and training and it costs a fortune, I'm spending my holidays watching him training at slalom venues and taking abuse when offering him advice. Do you really want your kids to start boating?

Grumpy

PS- Zoe loves playing in Water, rapids and Surf but hates Kayaks and canoes.
Paddle well, Have fun.

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Tom_Laws »

Neptune wrote:I belive Papa Burne (Nic) had Tim, Richard and Dave in boats whilst still in nappies...
But that wasn't that long ago.

Sadly Papa Burne is the only Burne not to make it into the Welsh Rivers - an oversight if ever there was one!

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Neptune »

Tom_Laws

Sadly Papa Burne is the only Burne not to make it into the Welsh Rivers - an oversight if ever there was one!
Shocking, truley shocking, there will have to be a recall and reprint, Papa Burne is a paddling icon and living legend in his own life time...

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Gazza
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Gazza »

Great to see so many stories of getting the little ones splashing about. Inspiring me to give it a go.

Love the look of the Fun 1, not sure I could justify over £500 notes for a kids boat though. I think in conclusion I might consider a second hand fun 1 (if i see one) or dynamo, and start taking him for a potter about in this lovelly (?) summer weather :-)

CP - thanks for the offer of trying the Witch, very kind, but I'm in the SE alas.

Grumpy - Ouch I feel you pain ! That's taking the concept of "Dad Taxi's" to a whole new level, but a great story and achievement for him to be so young and in prem ? You must be pretty proud ?

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by DaveWortley »

My friends' baby-scan.....

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Might have had a tiny bit of Photo-shopping from me...

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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by DaveBland »

Scumbag_Scout wrote:My friends' baby-scan.....

Image




Might have had a tiny bit of Photo-shopping from me...
Youch! I hope that's all coming out as a C-section...
dave

Mzee
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Mzee »

Justin
Your boy better hone his skills fast to keep up with this lassie. I would hate to be her had and have to lend her my car when she is older.

Nic

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Grumpy old man
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Grumpy old man »

Hi Gazza
Forgot to mention, The most important bit of kit we got him around the age of 9 was a dry suit without it I don't think he would still be boating. At the end of river trips he would be crying with cold feet and hands with the dry suit it was "dad can I practice rolling now". An expensive bit of kit but well worth the money.

Grumpy
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p.r.unicycles
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by p.r.unicycles »

As said before,kids love an open boat..,.
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by JohnAllan »

We found dabbling in boats on a nice day from 3-4 upwards, rollng at around 7 or so, just as a fun thing to teach them, then we started some Rivers and Surf when the girls were 10 and 12. Summer Paddling in the alps has worked very well for us for the past 5 years.
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Mzee
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Mzee »

A late response but it has taken me this long to work out how to attach photos but hav enot masteres how to make them a moer sensible size - no boys are at home to help!

Most of my comments have been made before but, as I have been asked specifically, I thought would add my pennies worth and ignore Neptune’s embarrassing comment.

Firstly, do you really want your children to get involved. I sometimes wonder if we did the right thing. They are often travelling to wild and wacky places abroad on some hairy adventure and we inevitably worry when they travel. Twice we have had phone calls or emails asking for emergency funds – both times the situation resolved itself. Once Dengue fever resulted in a few days in hospital, fortunately in this country. One serious road traffic accident in Namibia. Boats and boots stolen in Indonesian Papua. One boy conned out of £200 - hence the moniker Diamond Dave. These are only the travelling disasters and only the ones we have heard about. I have not listed the dangers of kayaking. Then there is serious competition – thank heavens my boys did not get involved as that would have killed any enthusiasm I have for the sport.

Having decided you want to risk this future stress don’t encourage your kids – facilitate their involvement if they ask to join Mum/Dad. As long as they are supervised and are water confident I was not bothered about swimming abilities.

Look for like minded families with water loving kids. We have had many happy shared holidays. Either the children spark each other into action competitively or one gets into a grump and the other tries harder to show them up.
Fun in Frace
Image
Luckily we were involved with a very family orientated club and their pool sessions provided a very good place for the children to mess about in boats in the warm and do some kayaking skills if they wanted. (We had one panic when we lost David before he could swim properly. He had capsized with his water wings on and surfaced inside the kayak. He was quite happy – we weren’t!).

As has been said in other posts children can feel the cold more than adults – try and get them proper, well fitting gear. They will grow out of it fast but it can always be passed on. Also they can get tried very quickly and suddenly and telling them to “man up” is not an option you will get away with. It is always worth having someone on the bank to field and entertain the kids when they get bored and cold on the water.
Genuinely asleep – I guess we overdid it here!
Image

There is no point in trying to develop your child’s skills in an adult boat, they do not fit and are not strong enough. You really need child size gear but, again, it should keep its value for selling on. Or a family friendly club should have children’s boats.

Open canoes are brilliant for getting yourself afloat if you have to have the kids along. Full day trips are feasible especially if there is a large group of you. Kids can sleep, paddle, tow toy boats, fish. If they have their own kayak don’t push them to use it. Get them in with you and tow it between rapids – but your arms will suffer – three kids and a boat in tow is hard work.
(To tow a kayak don’t leave it on a long line yawing all over the place behind you. Try a short tow from the centre thwart, with quick release, with the kayak overlapping the canoe with its bow near the stern seat. Much more stable.)

On the Ardeche, France.
Image
Can you find:-
Pressure cooker
Life (?) boat
Potty
Two children.

It is worth fitting more than end buoyancy in your open if you are doing things when a capsize is possible. Before the child has time to panic flip the boat upright, throw the child and they will be in a familiar (though swamped) environment and comparatively out of danger while you sort out the problem. This will only work if you have enough buoyancy.

For all paddlers, especially for children, make sure they have a sustaining breakfast – a bowl of Cornflakes is not enough. Then keep up energy levels with drinks, snacks and picnics during the day.

From personal experience I can recommend the Dordogne, Allier and Ardeche as destinations for family holidays based round boating. Clean, suitably graded, warm water and sunshine. A week on the river and a week at the beach near Bordeaux, everyone happy – magic.

Nic

Not an advert – just passing on experience. For sun protection we use Riemann P 20. (from Sainsburys?) In the Grand Canyon we put it on once a day, were in and out of the water all day, in the sun all day and did not get burnt. For a waterproof, non greasy sun protection it worked very well for us.

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Mr Hoppy
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Re: Introducing your kids to paddling - What age ?

Post by Mr Hoppy »

Mr Hoppy jr has had his 1st surf aged 7 months, an Axiom 9 was a little large for him but he seemed happy enough. He has no fear of water though and now at 9 months will happily wander into the water until I pick him up and turn him round.

I'll be investing in an open boat soon to get him out more seriously.

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