Teaching Children How To Paddle – Part 1

Before anything else: Kids who go in kayaks must always wear a suitable PFD (personal flotation device), and they need to know how to swim.

Children like to go on water. Whether it’s fishing, touring or playing in waves – they very much enjoy paddling, and as they grow up they tend to prefer to do it by themselves.

Small children starting at age five can be taught how to paddle a W Kayak solo and in tandem. The process requires time and patience but it’s fun both for the kids and their parents.
Obviously, before attempting to teach anyone paddling you’d better be a reasonably good paddler yourself…

Being small and lightweight a child has no balance problem when in the W kayak. This is an important fact since feeling at ease from the start facilitates learning.
However, it’s also important to remember that a child that young still has developed neither adults’ motoric skills nor their sense of orientation. And obviously, such young children possess only a fraction of the physical power that we as adults have.

In recent years I’ve taught several children or various ages to paddle, and I’ve noticed that sooner or later children would raise from the W saddle and stand up, usually when they feel they need more power. This is understandable since when standing it’s easier for children to get power by applying their weight on the paddle through the use of their legs. If (actually when) this happens you shouldn’t discourage it – The child is not in danger of tipping the boat over, and he/she feels more empowered, which is good.

father and two kids in a W kayak Five year old kids paddling in tandem

Yoav

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