How To Inspire The Next Generation

When teaching kids to windsurf and introducing them to the sport it’s all about doing it the right way. The RYA join Boards to guide you through how to inspire the next generation…

Is it time to get your kids into windsurfing?
Is it time to get your kids into windsurfing?

How young is too young to start windsurfing? With equipment, instruction and clothing developing all the time for younger children, is there even such a thing as being ‘too young’ anymore? 

How old were you when you first stepped on to a board? Now think how long before you first stepped on to that board you started enjoying and felt comfortable doing things that, whether consciously or not, helped you when you did start to learn?

Seeing children as young as four or five taking their first steps on a board is becoming much more common. But it is often seeds that are planted within the first couple of years of their lives that can blossom into a future love of windsurfing.

Getting water confident

Water confidence is without doubt the most critical thing.

No one is expecting a toddler to swim 25m in 30 seconds. But being confident around the water, not being scared of having water splashed in their faces, having a familiarity with a shoreline and developing a respect for some of the possible dangers of water will make being introduced to windsurfing that bit easier.

As Amanda Van Santen, RYA Chief Instructor, Dinghy and Windsurfing, explains how just suddenly one day taking your child windsurfing, sticking them on a board and letting them get on with it probably isn’t the best approach.

“When you learn to windsurf when you’re older you see it as learning a new skill, you don’t necessarily think about all the different skills and behaviours you have developed over the years, which will contribute to how quickly you get the hang of, and feel confident in, learning to windsurf.

“With very young children you can start to encourage positive traits and behaviours early on so that when they are first introduced to a windsurf board, some of the elements that may naturally seem daunting to children are actually less so.

“Splashing water gently in their faces in the bath, taking them to a swimming pool, even getting them to stand on a skateboard, for example, to learn the feeling of balance, are all simple things that aren’t specific to windsurfing but can make a massive difference in not being scared of getting onto a board for the first time.

“My own 19 month old son has sat on a board on the shoreline in very shallow water, holding on to our legs, just to give him confidence in that environment. Every child should be water confident for safety reasons anyway, the fact it can have a knock on effect on windsurfing is merely an added bonus if a child does then want to learn.”

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