There’s no doubt about it, stand up paddling is here to stay. It is still the fasted growing sport on the planet and by the looks of all the boards on the water, in every commercial on TV, and on top of so many cars driving down the road, the trend isn’t about to slow anytime soon

And one of the things I love most about this sport is that I see more and more people of all ages trying it. It’s no secret that our section of Florida is known for its older population so I don’t think I will be offending most of my readers when I say that a lot of you were reluctant to try stand up paddle boarding in the beginning. But I have to give you credit now…you folks are coming around! You’ve seen your grandkids do it, or your own kids, or your friends…and you’ve decided “dang it, I can do this too”! It’s not uncommon for me to teach a group of 70 somethings. Or even some in their 80’s. That’s one of the things I love about stand up paddling is the way it makes everyone feel like a kid again, no matter their age.

But no matter how much I love seeing older adults getting into paddling, there is no doubt that the youth are the future of our sport. Moms and their small children is the fastest growing segment of paddle boarders, and that is creating a new generation of very young children who paddle or want to learn to paddle either because they want to copy their parents or it’s something all their friends do so they want to learn too. And I believe we should do all we can to encourage that and nurture their little saltwater souls!

What age is too young for stand up paddling? I would never answer that question with an absolute number just like I would never say how old is too old. SUP (stand up paddle) isn’t about age limits… it’s about freedom… being the captain of your own ship… feeling that first glide. Yes, we have to watch out for them, teach them properly, make sure they don’t get hurt, but we also have to let them spread their wings, test their abilities and find out their limitations, and feel wild and free in the ocean. Children who live in this area have an opportunity to experience a life that too many don’t appreciate. If SUP is the vehicle that gets them on the water and loving and protecting the environment in which they live, then I think we should do whatever we can to encourage that at any age.

By Kami Rickert Paddle Boarding