How to teach kids to surf on family holidays. If you dream of your kids riding the waves at the World Surfing Games, then surfing with kids is a great family holiday activity to get everyone started outdoors and on the beach. But what’s a good age to start and how do you know they’re ready? Rina of Pro Surf School Bali is a surfing teacher who has been on the board since the age of 8. She tells suitcases&strollers all family travel tips you need to get the kids surfing.
Why should kids learn how to surf?
It is a great sport that gives confidence in the water and helps with balance. And learning a new skill is always good fun.
All outdoor activities are great for kids, but surfing will give them confidence and skills to learn to handle themselves in the surf and they will learn to appreciate the ocean and the environment and learn about nature too.
How good a swimmer do you need to be to learn to surf?
Being able to swim is certainly recommended. [But surfing can help swimming skills too.] Kids become more confident in the water when they learn to surf as it teaches them how to recognise currents and rips and what to do if they get caught in them. Then they also get more confident swimming in general.
What's the best age for kids to learn to surf?
About 8 is good as their muscles are not developed before this. If you start kids too early you might just scare them and they won’t want to go back in the water.
What's the best way to introduce kids to surfing?
All water sports are good to introduce kids to the ocean and get them used to the waves as early as possible. Then you can start proper classes for surfing.
What sort of gear do you need to attend surf school for kids?All good schools will provide all equipment needed for class. In Bali wetsuits are not required any time of the year but a good rash shirt with SPF50 is essential and board shorts. Waterproof sports sun cream and zinc should always be worn when surfing. There are also surf hats available to buy that securely strap under the chin so they don't lose them when they wipe out.
Is it worth investing in surf gear for kids?
Equipment will be supplied for lessons and if your kids decides they like surfing and want to learn more then you can think about buying a board and leg rope. But try to buy secondhand to start with as you don't want to fork out lots of money for a top-of-the-range new board and then your kid might just decide they are bored with surfing and want to try something new.
Are there any safety issues that parents should be aware of when taking kids to surf?
Make sure the surf school is accredited with either the ISA (International Surf Association) or ASI (Academy of Surfing Instructors) associations as this will meant all their instructors will have completed Level 1 instructor’s training as well as a life guard bronze certificate and first aid training. Then you know your kids are in safe hands. Also make sure the surf school has accident insurance cover for all the students they teach.
Where are the best places to surf in the world with kids?
Bali and Australia.
Images: ISA World Surfing Games 2015, Nelly, Reed