Magda Cooper, BOTE COO and Super mom, gives her insight on paddling with her kids.
When I started paddle boarding my son was just over a year old, and he loved being on the water with me from the beginning. As time went on he became braver.
Initially when I started paddling with my son Tristan, he would sit in between my legs without moving an inch, then gradually he started dipping his hands in the water, then he moved on to moving all over the board and having a blast. By the end of his first summer on a paddleboard, he would walk all over my board and made me work a little harder on stability.
He has grown up around the water and is accustomed to being on a BOTE or sometimes a boat every single weekend. I have never pushed him to paddle on his own, because I knew that just like when he told us to take off his training wheels off the bike, he would ask one day to paddle on his own.
I was getting ready to go out on a solo paddle for exercise, when he asked if he could go paddling as well. I prepped a paddle for him, got him a board out of the garage and was ready to go. Only it wasn’t that simple. When Tristan stepped on the board, I could tell that he was uncomfortable and was regretting his decision of asking to tag along on his own board. However we gave it some time, we paddled the first mile sitting down, then he worked his courage up to stand. AS soon as he realized he was fine, I saw the biggest smile come across his face and since that day he has never stopped paddling, and he does not think to sit down ever.
Watersports has been a part of my lifestyle, and paddling has been a part of it for the years since we had children. You would think that paddling would be second nature and no big deal to my son, but he has the same fears that many first timers experience, and it is always a pleasure to watch anybody conquer something new, but especially children.
I believe that paddling will help boost my son's confidence in the long run because it’s an activity that takes some skill to conquer and he will have to work hard to gain the ability to be able to paddle through all conditions. It’s also something that him and I can now share and do together. I can’t wait to watch him take on some of the challenges head on as time goes on and to watch him grow. I know that with each time he will try something new on the board I’ll get to see that smile of satisfaction come across his face, and I look forward to watching it all as I paddle alongside him.
No age is too young to get out on the water. Throw a life jacket on them and head for the flat water first with your little ones, you’ll know better than anyone else when and where you can go.