I paddled with a local meetup on Saturday. A mother had brought along her 9-year old daughter for a day on the water. They were paddling together in an AE inflatable tandem. Their paddling was hilarious when they first got on the water, so I guessed it was the girl’s first time paddling, but they were soon cruising.
I happened to be within earshot when we encountered people on SUPs and heard her ask her mother, “what are those people doing?” Then, getting more vocal, “What are they doing? Why are they standing?” Her mom replied to the affect they were paddle boarders, to which the girl exclaimed, “That’s stupid. Why are they doing that, THAT’S STUPID.”
If you are a canoe poler, as I am, you “get” stand up paddling. But I do think paddle boarding is kind of, well, not dumb, but limiting, at least compared to a canoe for standing or a sea kayak for cruising. So, the girl’s reaction made me laugh and think “the kid is calling it like it is.” Later, she told me the cookies I made were delicious, which knocked down my confidence in the kid’s judgement. And after lunch, somebody let her get on a paddle board and take it out. Her grin was ear to ear, and I asked her what she thought of paddle boards then. She goes “COOL.” Kids! No judgement at all.
Of course that grin and reaction would have happened no matter the craft. I’ve put many kids in many boats, and the thrill they get out of discovering they can make a boat go on their own, completely free of adult intervention, always brings out the grins.