It seems that for some, there is a misconception about children's Paddleboards. We aren't developing a range of boards for children, because they can't do what the grown ups can do, no, quite the contrary!
Kids are adaptable, they'll give anything a go, and will often turn their hand to it pretty quickly and usually very well. A parent recently told me that their child doesn't need a kid's board, because they can paddle anything. I'm sure that the latter is very true. I'm also sure that most kid's could stand on any adult board and paddle it without much bother.
However, there are some fundamental problems with children paddling adult sized boards!
Let's start with the paddle stroke. We all learn about the virtues of a vertical paddle, without this technique we're forever swapping sides and correcting our direction. Then there's the extended reach for the initial catch, optimizing the drive gained from each stroke. Both of these are made incredibly difficult, if not impossible, when a child is paddling an adult sized board. They are forced to place their paddle far out to the side and with this, their reach is drastically compromised, affecting the direction, amount of glide and speed from each paddle stroke. We also have the issue of the rider weight to board weight ratio, which is incredibly unbalanced.
Our Kid's range isn't just about making it easier for kids. Place them on a typical 30" wide Adult board and they barely have to think about their balance. Imagine yourself paddling on a board that is over 40" wide and how ridiculously stable that would be! That is what it's like for kid's paddling an Adult's board, and how many of us would argue that kid's can't balance as well as adults? We're effectively numbing down their Paddle-boarding experience.
As adults, we use boards that allow us to develop our paddle technique. Our boards are designed to compliment our height, width and weight and they feel great to paddle. If we want our children to take up this amazing sport/hobby and give it some kind of longevity, then we should be presenting them with the same experience that we have.
So when you're looking at children's boards, which ever your preferred brand is, please consider this. We should not solely be looking at what length is suitable, but much more importantly we must look at what width board is suitable. A 30" wide board is not a Kid's board!