Have you been contemplating how old your kiddo needs to be to paddle with you? Living a short walk from the waterfront in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Becca Brinton went through the same thought process for her young son Otto. Read on to hear some tips, tricks and best practices for paddling with little ones.
Q: What made you want to kayak with your kiddo?
We live only a block away from the water and we spend a lot of our time at the beach. While we love just hanging out by the shore, my husband and I have always loved getting into the water and exploring the coastline. I had a paddleboard but wanted something that would feel more secure with my son, Otto (who turns 2 in November), since the water can get a bit choppy with other boats around. While my husband has had a kayak for a few years I just got my first kayak, an Eddyline Sandpiper. Being in and around the water is a big part of our family’s life and I’ve been excited to share that with my son now that he is old enough to safely join in.
Q: How did you know Otto was old enough to go for a paddle?
Otto went for his first kayak ride this summer at 1.5 years old. Once we felt like he could safely sit and listen to our safety asks, but also have a great time, we knew he was old enough.
Q: What do you pack when you kayak?
Honestly not much yet, we don’t go for long stretches since Otto’s attention span and ability to stay out isn’t that long yet. The best park to kayak at is just down the road and we don’t need to bring much. I usually just bring my phone in a waterproof case, our life jackets, a water bottle, and sometimes a snack.
Q: Do you have any “kayaking with youngsters” tips or tricks to share?
Take it slow! Lower your expectations. Don’t expect to just go on long stretches at the beginning and follow your kids' lead so you can keep it fun for them and yourself. Also just water safety and comfort in general is so important prior to getting out in a vessel. Otto started swim lessons at 5 months old and early immersion has been awesome. He’s so comfortable in the water in general, so I wasn’t worried he’d be scared of the water itself. I think getting them comfortable around water and swimming prior to kayaking really helps.
Q: What advice would you give to parents that are nervous to try?
Just go for it! My son did so much better his first trip than we expected. He was so excited and curious and spent most of the trip just looking around in awe.
Q: What kayak do you paddle in the Eddyline fleet and why?
I have the Eddyline Sandpiper. I got it because it’s the one in the fleet with the biggest opening/cockpit which will allow for the longest amount of time sharing the space with my kid. I purchased the kayak after he was born with the intention to paddle together so it made the most sense for us. I chose eddyline specifically for its reputation for being lightweight. This is a big pro. I wanted a kayak that I could easily carry down to the beach by myself and potentially carry down while also carrying my son, which I have done.
We absolutely love the Sandpiper! It’s been such a fun ride this year and I can’twait for years of exploring ahead!
Follow Becca at @beccabrinton for lots of water photos with her family!