A few years ago, my family and I went on a trip to San Diego. While we were there, I hopped on a paddleboard for the first time. My daughter, at the time she was 6, wanted to hop on too. I was so scared, but I let her go a short distance while staying close enough to grab her. We were in a bayside resort room, so we had some shallow water to experiment with. I was floored at how easily she glided and how confident she was. Years later, she still remembers what a blast it was and is interested in strengthening her paddleboarding skills through lessons. It turns out there are a few local places that offer lessons, summer camps, and allow rentals for kiddos and families. Here is a list of the places I found and their offerings.
This place offers a “Basic stand-up paddling” class for kiddos 10-15 years old with an adult or teens 16 and up. There are classes available in July and August. The class time is from 9:30-12:30. The cost is $69 per adult and $39 for youth (10-15 y/o). They also offer a basic canoe class. This class doesn’t list the age requirement but notes that no experience is necessary. They offer some amazing week-long camps for teens, but unfortunately, they are all full. My husband and I did some paddleboarding here for our last anniversary, and the staff was awesome. Highly recommend. Here is the link for more info: https://aldercreek.com/learn-to-kayak-canoe-and-sup/sup-classes/details/23078/basic-stand-up-paddling/.
Cascadia SUP and Surf-
I didn’t see lesson availability specifically for kids, but they have two slots open left for a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) youth summer camp. The required ages are between 8-11 years old, the schedule is Mon-Fri starting July 19th, and the price is $299. I can’t imagine how fun that would be for a kid! I would have loved it when I was younger. This company also offers surf lessons on the Oregon Coast. Not sure of the age requirements, though. Here is a link to their website: https://www.cascadiasup.com/.
This Oregon City company offers after-school programs, summer camps, internships for teens, and even a youth kayak team. The discovery camp is held weekly throughout the summer, but the adventure camp only has one session left, and unfortunately, it’s happening now, between July 12-July 17th. But it does say that there may be openings, and people can still “call to book” on the website. The “Discovery camp” is for 8–16-year old’s and the “Adventure Camp” is for 11–17-year-olds. For more info, here is the link: https://enrgkayaking.com/summer-kids-camps/.
Portland Kayak Company-
Unfortunately, this company has suspended their kids’ paddling and kayaking camps. Usually, they offer 3- or 5-day camp sessions for kiddos aged 9-15. The alternative they are offering is private instruction for individuals or small groups. The website asks that anyone interested call 503-459-4050. Here is the link to their website: https://portlandkayak.com/classes-4/.
This is a non-profit company. They offer canoes, paddleboards, kayaks, and double kayaks for 4-hour rentals. It is noted that kids are welcome to go on the kayaks, not sure about an age requirement for the paddleboards or canoes. The rentals are between $35-$45 for the four hours. A cool offering for purchase is a Tualatin River Guidebook that gives information on 85 accessible sites from the Tualatin River to the Willamette River. They also offer guided trips. A fun trip they have coming up is called “Paddle Under the Stars.” The launch is at 8:30 p.m. The tour provides a chance to see nocturnal wildlife that lives along the river. So cool. Here is the link to their website: http://tualatinriverkeepers.org/
Oregon Surf Adventures-
This company is based in Seaside, Oregon. They offer private, semi-private (two people), beginner, or group lessons. They also offer surf camps. The lessons are available until October and are offered 7 days a week. 9-12:30 are reserved for beginner lessons, and 2:00 is reserved for semi-private and private lessons. The cost ranges from $109-199 per person. The place to meet up for lessons is the Seaside surf shop. For more info, here is the link: http://www.oregonsurfadventures.com/.
Northwest Women’s Surf Camps-
NW Women’s Surf Camps seem to have a lot to offer. The website was a little hard to navigate initially, but the “calendar” section gave a lot of info. They offer a little kid’s coed surf lesson for ages 6-11, but unfortunately, it’s a “waitlist” situation. But they also have a parents and kids lesson for ages Kindergarten and up that seems to have varied openings. There is also a “Family and Kids Bodyboard Clinic” available, but I couldn’t track down its info. To inquire further, I would recommend calling the owner, Lexi, at: (503) 440-5782 or emailing: email@example.com. For a look at the website, here is the link: https://nwwomenssurfcamps.com/.
Cannon Beach Surf Lessons and Rentals-
Surf lessons are available at Ecola State Park for all ages. Lessons are around two hours long, and the wetsuit and surfboard are included in the lesson price. The good thing about this option is that lessons are available 7 days a week, all year long, as long as it’s safe to surf. A one-on-one private lesson is $165. You can add “yoga on the beach” to your lesson for $25. Here is a link to the website: https://cannonbeachsurflessonsandrentals.com/surf-lessons-cannon-beach/.
This company is based in Bend, Oregon. They have an amazing summer camp called “Kids Paddlesports Adventure Camp.” Instead of just one focus, the camp includes paddleboarding, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and kayak sailing. Kids ages 8-15 can enjoy this camp during one of their sessions July 19th through 22nd, Aug 2-5th, Aug 9-12th, or Aug 16-19th. The cost is $475. It seems expensive, but I imagine it would be an amazing, unforgettable experience for kids who can participate. They also offer a kayaking camp for kids. The website also has sections for lessons, tours, and rentals. I hope to explore the offerings within this company sometime soon. Here is a link to their website: https://tumalocreek.com/tumalo-kids/.
Oregon is such a beautiful place for kids to embrace water sports, especially in the summertime. Whether it is kayaking, canoeing, surfing, rafting, or paddleboarding: kids have many opportunities here in the Pacific Northwest. Also, it is invaluable that kids have access to expert instructors who can teach them water safety while having an amazing time. Some parents may not feel comfortable teaching their kids about the ins and outs of rivers and oceans. My mom was absolutely terrified of me getting too far out into the ocean and going to rivers as a teen. Introducing kids to water sports is fun and beneficial to them becoming safe in the water throughout their lives. Best of luck to you all in enjoying the water as a family or strengthening your kiddo’s water skills individually.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.