Mum of two, Rachel Charis Ng, 38, owns The Windsurfing Shop Pte Ltd, a Stand Up Paddling School, and Windsurfing, Kitesurfing and Stand Up Paddle Pro Shop.
A windsurfer of 21 years, she has represented Singapore at the Southeast Asian Games (winning a Silver Medal) and was previously Ladies Champion on the Asian Windsurfing Tour and in Road Cycling.
With two active children, six-year-old Samuel Josh and two-year-old Victoria, she has turned her love for sea sports into a business and something the entire family can enjoy together. She is married to Joshua Chew Ker Wan, a former National Windsurfer whom she met while in the National Team and both of their kids have inherited their love for adventure and sports.
Little Day Out spoke with Rachel to find out more about Stand Up Paddling and other fun sea sports kids can take part in.
What is Stand Up Paddling?
Stand Up Paddling, also known as SUP or Paddleboarding, is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports right now. It involves an efficient form of paddling while standing up on an oversized surfboard.
It may look simple to do but proper lessons are needed to learn the correct paddling techniques. With the right techniques, paddlers are able to paddle longer distances, go faster and maneuver the board skillfully in the water.
SUP is an ideal sport for anyone who wants to keep fit while having lots of fun, yet in a relaxing and de-stressing environment.
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Where did SUP originate from?
SUP started in Hawaii when a bunch of surfers, outrigger paddlers and tow-in surfers decided to use a paddle while standing up on their boards so they could see the waves better and from a further distance.
Slowly, they began shaping their first SUP board and the sport was born.
Is this a sport kids can take part in? At what age can kids attempt Stand Up Paddling?
My son started paddling on his own at two years old and now he’s doing drills, rounding buoys and starting to race in SUP competitions!
For most kids, I would recommend starting SUP lessons from five and above. By this age, they may have started swimming lessons (boosting their water confidence), are physically stronger and have better motor skills and coordination.
What is the best way for kids to go about learning Stand Up Paddling?
Sign up for a “Parent & Child”or Private SUP Lesson! For example, at our school, we teach all the skills required to paddle independently – for both parents and children.
For safety reasons, we teach children on a one-to-one basis in what are essentially private lessons. As we have been teaching children for a long time, we have developed training packages that can take them from beginner to advanced levels.
What equipment is required for SUP? Is it an expensive hobby to keep up with?
To SUP, you need an SUP Board, a paddle, SUP Leash and an optional Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
For beginners, there is always the option of renting the equipment first. You only need to consider buying equipment if you get serious about the sport. Even then, SUP gear is not as expensive as other sea sports with an all-round set costing below $1,600.
Is it safe?
SUP is one of the safest sea sports there is! The equipment used is so simple – board and paddle only. There are no complicated ropes to get caught in (think sailing and kitesurfing) and the big board is your floating device.
Once you get the hang of it, SUP is a sea-sport that families can do on the board together – literally.
What do kids get out of participating in Stand Up Paddling activities?
In addition to the physical benefits their little bodies get from paddling and learning to balance on the boards, they also gain self-confidence as they navigate the sea on their own.
Children who do sea-sports tend to be self-assured and adventurous. They also become more aware of the eco-system as they get to see marine animals in a natural environment. Personally, my family and I have had the privilege of seeing dolphins, flying fish and swordfish off East Coast Park.
Are there any other adventurous water sports for kids can try out?
Tow-Skimboarding is the latest sea sport to arrive in Singapore waters! It is an affordable and “manual” sport that blends together wakeboarding, skiing and kitesurfing.
The child holds on to a tow-handle and other kids or an adult will run along the shoreline, pulling the child on the skimboard over just a few inches of water.
Most children begin by kneeling or sitting down and progress to standing up over time. The child gets fantastic physical exercise as he or she learns how to ride on the skimboard and as they advance in skill-level, they can even try 360s, varials, switches, jumps and other moves.
Kids learn to take turns pulling and riding on the skimboard. You’ll be completely surprised at how much fun they have tow-skimboarding. It is totally entertaining and also good physical exercise. It even makes a great activity for beach birthday parties!
[All images courtesy of Rachel Charis Ng]
Retail Pro Shop: 1390, East Coast Parkway, Singapore 468961