Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kids Take Up Stand Up!

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is becoming the sport of choice for a rapidly growing number of kids and teens. Not only does SUP help young people develop strength, balance, coordination, and water skills, it’s also an increasingly lucrative competitive sport. 15-year-old Slater Trout took home $2500 in prize money for placing third in the elite race at this year’s Battle of the Paddle in Dana Point, California. Industry insiders predict that SUP will soon become an Olympic sport.

The most appealing aspect of SUP for kids however, is the fun factor. “My favorite thing is when the water is like glass and you can see things underneath you,” says 10-year old Grace Towle who paddles regularly in California's San Francisco Bay. Towle also appreciates the cross training value of SUP. “It helps me develop arm and belly strength,” she says. “I can use those in swimming, rock climbing, and horseback riding.”

7-year old Amanda Kardol who paddles regularly in the Columbia Gorge enjoys being able to spend time on the water without coming in contact with river reeds, which she isn’t a fan of. “I feel safe on my board. I can float all alone up there without touching the green stuff,” she says. Amanda’s 5-year old sister Olivia hasn’t started stand up paddling herself but says she loves riding along on the nose of her mom's board.

Stand Up Paddle Flatwater carries several great kids' SUP boards. Any little SUPer would be thrilled to find one under the tree this year!

Besides Stand Up Paddle Journal Junior of the Year Slater Trout, other up and coming SUPer stars include:

17-year old Zane Schweitzer of Maui, a windsurfer who has finished impressively in several international SUP surf and race events.

15-year old Connor Baxter, also of Maui, winner of the 2010 Duke Kahanamoku OceanFest.

17-year old Kai Lenny, winner of the 2010 Stand Up World Tour.

12-year old Riggs Napoleon, the youngest person to cross the Molokai channel on a stand up paddle board (or any non-motorized watercraft).

17-year old Kialoa team rider Bobbie Cooper of Britain.

17-year old SUPBend team rider Isabella Barna who consistently finishes among the top in Pacific Northwest SUP events.

Check out this video of prominent young British SUP athlete Bobbie Cooper with her Kialoa Pipes Paddle:

Check out this video of Riggs Napoleon, mid-way through the 2010 Molokai 2 Oahu Paddle Race:

To help your child develop balance, strength, coordination and water skills through SUP, check out Stand Up Paddle Flatwater's excellent ramge of kids' stand up paddle boards.

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