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Fun Afloat: Where to Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Kayaking and Sailing With Kids

Kid-friendly watersport adventures for families around Puget Sound

Published on: July 10, 2018

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Mom and child stand-up paddleboarding

Get started stand-up paddleboarding with kids

What and why: Stand-up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) is a surface water sport where you stand up and paddle with a long paddle that is eight inches taller than you are. Andrew Drake, co-owner of Seattle’s Washington Surf Academy and Surf Ballard, says SUP offers better views of the water and local wildlife than, say, kayaking (because of the standing position) and provides a full body workout. You can paddleboard on the Sound or on a lake.

Recommended age: Drake says 10 is a great age to start. Keep in mind that the smaller you are, the harder it is to propel forward. In addition to being a strong swimmer, a child learning to paddleboard should have good coordination and be willing to work hard and go slowly at first. It's also a great sport for grown-ups to try! 

Where to try it: Surf Ballard offers a group rate for a two-hour class that includes all equipment. Kids and grown-ups can also try paddleboarding (or kayaking, sailing and canoeing) at Greenlake Boathouse in Seattle and Foss Bay Marina in Tacoma (kayaking and paddleboarding) or Sail Sand Point next to Magnuson Park.

Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center on Lake Washington offers a one-hour intro to paddleboarding class that's open to ages 10 and older; ages 10–16 must be accompanied by an adult. Moss Bay on Lake Union rents paddleboards and kayaks by the hour.

More fun: Salmon Bay Paddle offers progressive levels of paddleboarding instruction and multi-hour guided paddleboard trips in beautiful locations, including a tour from the Ballard Locks to Lake Union for an alternative view of Seattle's waterways.

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