Why Kayaking is a Great Sport for Kids

RideAway Kayak and SUP

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Kayaking is great activity to introduce children and young people to the water. It’s a fantastic way to see parts of Cape Cod only accessible by water. In addition to being a good exercise, it’s also a way to spend time together as a family. If you’re thinking about trying out kayaking with your kids, it’s never been easier.

RideAway Kayak and SUP has been serving Cape Cod for 9 years. Owner Mike Morrison grew up in a family of educators and always loved teaching. When he started the business, he naturally included classes for all ages and then teamed up with recreation departments on the Cape to involve kids in the community.

“The Sandwich and Mashpee recreation departments are so well run and allow us to get kids out on the water and learning thanks to their reputation of excellent service and products. We are so thankful to have been able to partner with them to offer these camps to a wide customer base at a great price. We have been running these camps for eight years and it is such a benefit to the Cape community,” said Morrison.

There’s no age restriction on when you can take your child kayaking with you. With a tandem kayak, a child can sit comfortably while you do all the work. In fact, RideAway Kayak and SUP have seen parents go out on the water with a little one in a Baby Bjorn! It’s about the comfort level of the kids and the parents. Regardless of the age of the kayaker, safety comes first. Make sure you are using the proper regulated PDF for the weight and age of the kayaker especially children.

Mike Morrison of Rideaway Kayaks and SUP uses this guide for kayaking ages:

Infant – 4 years old: should ride in a single kayak with a parent or adult. We have singles with a large cock pit that allows plenty of room for both.

5 years old – 7 years old: should ride in the front of a tandem kayak where they can hold a paddle and get used to the kayak as an introduction but the adult still has control.

8 years old – Adult: should ride a single kayak solo if they are comfortable on their own. We have sit on top kayaks which are a bit more stable for beginners or sit inside which move through the water more effectively and take less effort.

Our policy is ages 6 and above have the option to operate a kayak independently but every situation and child is different so it’s a decision that needs to be made by the parents and the child as a team. These suggestions are dependent upon every person regardless of age getting the proper instruction prior to kayaking.

Kayaking can be a great way to introduce an activity that your child can continue for the rest of their lives. Mike Morrison of RideAway Kayak and SUP believes that kids, who are introduced to kayaking, paddle boarding, or any outdoor activity in a fun and positive manner are much more likely to enjoy outdoor activities as they grow up. This in turn will make them more prone to physical fitness and healthy living. “Outdoor activities are something that need to have a reemergence for our youth to stay healthy in an age of childhood obesity. Kayaking, specifically, gets the kids working on their body mechanics, range of motion, and helps build upper body and leg strength,” said Morrison.

In addition to staying healthy and becoming stronger, taking part in a physical activity can enrich a child in many other ways. “Independence and responsibility are the most important things they learn through kayaking. They are solely in charge of the kayak and control where it goes and how fast. At a young age this is a very important step for them to take responsibility and be on their own in a kayak. They have to use their strength, problem solving skills, and recall previous instruction they were taught if they want to be successful,” said Morrison.

Kayaking also teaches children personal responsibility. They need to also go over a safety checklist such as rules of the water, equipment (PFD, Paddle, clothing, etc), and the buddy system. They aren’t just being told what to do, they have to make the assessment on their own and feel confident in their own decisions. “This self-reliance is a huge step for the kids that we get to teach,” said Morrison.

Kayaking is a great sport to do as a group. As opposed to sports that focus on one side winning and another losing, kayaking is devoted to challenging yourself, improving each time you go out on the water, and enjoying yourself. Because it can be done at any age, means it’s a great activity for the family to do together. RideAway Kayak and SUP focuses on full family introductory classes where learning together can be a great bonding experience all on its own. “If there is a group of three or more, we can offer a private lesson/tour for either paddle boarding or kayaking. It is a great family fun experience for everyone. We introduce these groups to the techniques they need in a fun creative way that all ages will enjoy,” said Morrison.

In addition to group instruction for all ages, RideAway offers Kid’s Adventure Camps through recreation departments in Sandwich and Mashpee as well as their very own RideAway Adventure Camps in New Seabury. It’s the next level up for kids looking to have a bit more instruction and adventure out on the water. “Normally after a kid’s adventure camp, parents ask how they can get involved! The children come home discussing what they’ve learned and honestly, it almost always results in the parents wanting to get involved. This results in setting up rentals, a tour, or even a lesson for the whole family,” said Morrison. RideAway constantly looks to improve these camps by asking for the kids’ feedback at the end of the week to involve them in the process of making lessons better. “At the end of each week we always send an email to all of the parents and ask the kids what they liked about the camp and if there was anything they would have changed. The way you become a great company is to take feedback and build from constructive criticism. It’s our best tool to constantly improve the camps and our customers experience,” said Morrison.

If you’re an experienced kayaker and want to teach them yourself make sure you’re prepared. It’s best to start with short easy trips to build their confidence and stamina. “A good example of an introductory trip would be on a calm day in an easily accessible pond for 20 minutes, then the next time 40 minutes, then perhaps in a slow moving creek for 20 minutes, and so on and so forth until the child is confident and comfortable in their paddling skills,” said Morrison. Make sure you have all the right equipment, a way to communicate such as a cell phone or radio, a tow rope, water, first aid kit, extra clothing, sunscreen and of course, snacks! “It’s like anything else in life, it takes practice, the right equipment and proper training for the child to have fun, be safe, and excel,” said Morrison.

Kayaking can be expensive, especially if you aren’t sure your child will want to continue with the sport. RideAway Kayak and SUP have several rental options and even deliver kayaks to you! RideAway offers a massive end of season sale and it’s a great way for families to get the same equipment their children used in the Adventure Camps at an unbeatable price. RideAway let you test any kayaks or boards before you purchase and will always let you return it if it isn’t exactly what you wanted. “RideAway prides itself as the local paddle shop and the end of season sale is a great way for us to keep our customers as part of the family even when they are ready to make a purchase,” said Morrison.

If you’re interested in kayaking or getting your children into kayaking, check out RideAway Kayak and SUP. Their instructors are helpful and patient and their Adventure Camps are a lot of fun. Get out on the water today with RideAway Kayak and SUP.

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