We hike, we camp, we run, we bike, we ski, we sled and we WANT to become family boaters. Mtn Papa and I both grew up on the water (in Wisconsin and Alaska respectfully) and miss it a great deal. We just haven’t taken the big leap before this summer to get our kids out on the water on a regular basis – mostly because the water isn’t that accessible. However, we are in the (big) process of trying to determine what works for us and the dynamics of our family. There are so many options out there – and only so much space to store it.
Lucky Bums helped us out a little by letting us demo some SUP boards this summer. I had been on a SUP board just a couple times, and the rest of the family had not. So, it was a brand new learning experience to say the least. And, while the temperatures are definitely dropping at night here, the days are still gorgeous for some time on the water, so we are taking full advantage.
We worked with both the youth 6’6″ board and the adult 11′ board. See below for the full review on both of them (psssttt – if you are low on storing space, like us, these inflatable boards rock).
Here’s a few things we learned in the process:
- We started with J riding with his daddy to get a feel for balance while maintaining a little security. The disadvantage of that is the fact that he isn’t in control of the movements of the board on his own and has to compensate for the movements of Mtn Papa too. But, it worked for him starting out.
- Learning to balance can be intimidating, for an adult OR a 5 year old on his own board. Slow and steady is key. We started near the shore, which helped build confidence. Having a little peer pressure of some other kids on boards would have been even better.
- Our dog LOVES it. Like “don’t you dare even leave me behind” loves it. He is 90 pounds of Lab Love and I haven’t seen him that content in a long time.
- A lighter paddle or kayak paddle may work perfectly for smaller kids (easier to maneuver)
- We were out in a very clear lake a few of the times we were on them and that actually seemed to be easier for J to get comfortable with. He could see what was under us and that helped his confidence.
- SUP boarding works your core like crazy and is an excellent practice in balance for all ages. It was interesting to see that both the boys balance was really pretty good – I attribute it to their early bike riding on balance bikes. It only improved every time we went out.
- It’s an easy learning curve and something almost anyone can do. It’s easy to maneuver than canoes, and we appreciated being able to easily get an adult, 2+ kids AND the dog on the board (though this pretty much maxed it out) without having to deal with getting them over an edge (like in a boat.) The fact that you are so close to the water already when you are on the board adds another element of adventure and intrigue – no board kids here!
Lucky Bums Inflatable SUP Boards
- Made of durable military-grade 1000-denier 3-ply PVC reinforced fabric with a 660-denier inner shell, all recommend for up to 15psi.
- Quality kit comes with high pressure pump, pressure gauge, 3 piece adjustable paddle, 8″ removable fin and 2 fixed fins, kayak seat, backpack, repair kit, and valve wrench making sure you have everything needed to get started and get on the water right away.
- 6’6” SUP: Board weight – 14lbs, width – 26”, 4” drop stitch construction, weight rated up to 100lbs, recommended for kids ages 5-9, designed to fit young beginners, giving them confidence, stability and maneuverability on the water.
- 11’ SUP: Board weight – 28lbs, width – 30”, 6” drop stitch construction, extra rigidity and volume to keep a rider up to 320 pounds cruising on the water. The perfect fit for a beginning to intermediate riders to enjoy the sport from the river, to the lake to the ocean.
The included paddles are adjustable, but are heavy for a child. J (age 5) did use it, but a lighter one was much easier. Friends of ours borrowed them and used kayak paddles which were another great option.
The boards themselves are incredibly stable (as long as you get enough air in them) and easy to maneuver. They come with a removable fin that we ended up taking off in the calm water. It was much easier to steer the board that way (especially for the kids), though the fin would be helpful in more turbulent conditions. We appreciated how small they roll down (considering what they are) and pack up. It’s just one less large thing to store and one less thing to have to strap on the car or truck when we travel.
Where we are out boarding, we are on some pretty rocky terrain and didn’t have an issues with abrasion or holes in the boards. We were careful, but they are incredibly durable and strong. I assumed that they would be made from a more fragile material and that would be an issue. However, we had no problems with inflation and felt like we were riding on solid boards. They are light enough to easily carry, which is a big plus for us.
We loved the detachable kayak seats – we actually used both of them on the adult board for the kids (combined weight of 75 lbs.) and they were a great way to just keep them contained to their own space.
The youth board definitely works for kids only. Mtn Papa tried it just see how it would hold up, and his weight was too much for stability (as we imagined it would be).
Getting out on SUP boards is a fun family activity that we will be continuing. The Lucky Bums boards are perfect for us since they pack so small, are light AND get us out individually or a few of us at a time.
A special coupon code
Lucky Bums has generously offered a coupon code for 10% off AND free shipping. Use code “MTNMAMA” at LuckyBums.com. Code expires 12/31/14.
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