A kickboard, also called a pool float, swimming float or floaty, is a floating device used by children or adults learning how to swim and during therapeutic activities. It helps the user stay afloat at least at the upper part of the body. Their name, kickboard, comes from the fact that the user has to move in the water mainly by kicking their legs.
While most kickboards are manual, there’s a new breed of kickboards which are electric. These electric kickboards are easy to use since they have their own propulsion mechanism. Usually, they have one or two electric motors which enable them to power through the water like a motorboat.
If you’re just learning to swim, having a powered kickboard will make it easy for you to move through the water. It also helps to learn swimming or recover motion in a leg since you need to develop power slowly.
Benefits of an electric kickboard
Some of the benefits of an electric kickboard include the following:
Improves stability and floating in the water
When you’re just starting to swim or recovering from an injury, trying to balance in the water while moving at the same time can be difficult and strenuous to the swimmer. An electric kickboard will help you stabilize and float much more easily while allowing you to move or perform other activities in the water.
With the kickboard, you also get the chance to focus on the more delicate parts of the swimming or workout routine. For example, you can focus on breathing techniques and strokes while the kickboard helps you move about in the water.
Improves kicking skills
Your kicking skills will help propel you in the water. However, swimming is often learnt best when the individual skills are taught one after the other then combined later on. One of the skills taught early on is that of kicking. Often, you learn kicking while holding the hands straight ahead or holding onto a kickboard.
With an electric kickboard, you’ll float much easily and move much faster. With time, you learn how to reduce the speed of the electric kickboard as you depend more and more on the propulsion of your own body. Eventually, you get rid of your kickboard as you learn to stroke with the hands.
Develop leg strength
Swimming is one of the best exercises as it has a low impact on the body part being worked on. This helps avoid injuries much easier when compared to weight workouts.
With an electric kickboard, you start adding strength to the legs slowly then increase it. This is much more controlled and safer especially for those who have injuries to the legs. You can always vary the speed on the kickboard to determine how much you need to kick to move ahead.
Develops the upper body
While the majority of movements when using a kickboard are in the lower body, keeping the board in place while paddling the feet relies on keeping the upper body in a steady shape. If you move too much to one side, you have to adjust the body to prevent toppling over. Also, you need to resist the motion of the kickboard to remain on the water.
These motions help develop upper body muscles. You will also get sculpted upper body muscles in the process.
Increase swimming safety
Using a kickboard is meant to increase safety since it helps the user stay afloat whether they’re moving or not. The problem is that, even when you’re having a kickboard, you may still be in danger if you can’t move for one reason or the other. You may be injured or simply don’t know how to move in the water.
With an electric kickboard, you can simply hold into it as it moves you to the location you need even when you can’t kick or paddle. This is especially important for kids and adults recovering from injuries.
Problems with an electric kickboard
The problems of having and electric kickboard include the following:
Needs power to work
With electric devices such as kickboards, they’re only as good as they are when charged. It’s only when they’re powered that they can propel you around in the water. Otherwise, you have a normal -and slightly heavier – kickboard on your hands.
Can limit swimming progress
Swimming should be about your body’s own ability to propel itself in the water. If you rely on a propelling mechanism like the one provided by the electric kickboard, you won’t learn how to swim fast enough.
Since the board propels you forward rather than your own feet, you’re carrying a smaller load than you should. If the board is taken away, you won’t be an effective swimmer.
Electric kickboards and kickboards in general also give a false sense of security in the water getting rid of it is one of the toughest things to do for learning swimmers. It becomes even harder when the board offers propulsion and balance. When the leaner lets go of it, it’s a whole new learning process for them.
Doesn’t support all users
Most electric kickboards are meant for users above 6 years old and smaller adults up to a certain weight. This means that you can’t use them if you’re heavier than that. While there are electric kickboards for larger users, a majority are the small ones for kids and small adults.
These aspects shouldn’t dissuade you from getting yourself an electric kickboard since its benefits outweigh its problems.
How to use an electric kickboard
It’s quite easy to use an electric kickboard since it’s almost similar to how you use a normal kickboard. For most kickboards, you hold out your upper body on the kickboard then both of your hands on it. For the best control, the hands are placed on both sides of the board preferably at the front top.
If there are any buttons on the kickboard, you should have them aligned with the hands and the thumbs. You then press them to control the kickboard. You may only have the option of turning the kickboard on and off. Some advanced boards allow you to vary the speed with the same or other buttons close to the position of the hands.
If you want to turn the electric kickboard around or simply change direction, you need to simply lean your body in the opposite direction. For example, simply lean to the left if you want to move to the right and vice versa.
Stopping is usually by lifting your thumbs off the ON/OFF buttons.
Best electric kickboards
If you’re considering acquiring an electric kickboard for yourself or your kids, there are a few you can consider including the following:
1. SuBlue Swii Electric Kickboard Swimming Aid
You know a product has a great design if it wins the prestigious Dot Award for Best Product Design and that’s exactly what the SuBlue Swii Electric Kickboard Swimming Aid did for the year 2019. It’s design is highly function since it’s made up of a flat top design with a pair of buttons at the front for ease of use with the thumbs.
As long as the user is above 6 years of age, they can comfortably use it up to a weight limit of 220.5 pounds (100 kg). It’s also easy to use although its main highlight is the 2-speed switch which allows for a change of speed while resting the upper body on it.
- Has a long battery life of 45 minutes which is enough for most swimming lessons.
- Weighs only 8.37 pounds (3.8 kg) making it light for most users above 6 years of age.
- Small size for ease of movement from one area to the other. It’s still large enough for someone with 220 pounds of weight to feel comfortable with it.
- It’s made of high-quality EVA material which makes it durable and long-lasting.
- Has a dual-speed mode which allows it to switch speeds with ease.
- Stylish and ergonomic design for ease of use.
- Powerful dual propellers allow for balanced and easy movements in the water.
- The battery is detachable and rechargeable which makes it very convenient.
- Properly sealed and waterproofed to prevent electric shock.
- Only works for users up to a weight limit of 220 pounds.
- Placing the hands on the outside of the board is much riskier to lose the grip than on the inside.
- Doesn’t have many color selections to pick from apart from white and orange.
As the best electric kickboard, the Swii boasts of lots of features to make it usable for most users.
2. XZZTX Water Surfboard, Electric Swimming Kickboard
Second is the XZZTX Electric Kickboard meant for those at 50 kg of weight and below. This kickboard is designed differently and almost becomes a small boat of sorts. It covers most of the lower side of the body from the chest to the waist. This makes it very easy to move about in the water for leaners.
It comes with three motors aligned at the back for ease of propulsion. With this kickboard, you’re sure of staying afloat as long as you’re within the weight limit. It charges fast and lasts for a whole hour which is more than enough for typical swimming session.
- Large kickboard assures safety for users of all kinds within the weight limit.
- The three motors on the bottom make for a powerful propulsion force.
- IP68 waterproof rating ensures that the electronic parts are safe from damage by the water.
- Weighs only 2.5kg which is quite light for its size.
- Easy to use buttons with ergonomic design.
- Only accommodates 50 kg of weight.
If you’re within this weight limit, this is one of the best for learning how to swim.
3. LESWIM S1 Electric Kickboard for Swimming and Snorkeling Assistance
Next up is the LESWIM S1 Electric Kickboard which packs lots of great features that make it easily one of the best. It has a single motor and comes with two buttons etched into a groove on the front section of the board makes it quite secure compared to the outside placement of the Swii above.
You might think that the single motor on this electric kickboard makes it less powerful. However, it’s placed right at the center of the board to provide great balance for users of different weights and sizes. It’s low-noise design makes it a great board to use even at night without waking the neighbors.
- Powerful motor for fast movement in the water.
- Compatible with GoPro cameras for great videos and pictures in and on the water.
- Low-noise design for use in quiet places.
- Has a child safety lock to keep it safe when you’re not there to watch over the kids playing in the water.
- Portable and lightweight for convenience.
- The placement of the buttons is secure since you can let go of them without letting go of the board.
- The propeller has a fence around it to keep it safe from damage by objects in the water.
- Considerably less powerful than electric kickboards with two motors.
This is a great electric kickboard for learning swimmers.
These three are presently the best electric kickboards on the market. Picking one will impress you as per your needs.
Electric kickboard vs Traditional Kickboard
The main differences between an electric kickboard and a normal one include the following:
Given that electric kickboards are motorized and have other parts as well, they tend to be thicker than their traditional alternatives. They, however, aren’t too big to handle and will support both large and small users equally well.
Weight capacity differences
Traditional kickboards or floaties don’t have weight limits since a kid can use the same floater a 300-pound adult will use. However, electric kickboards have weight limits with most topping off at about 200 pounds of body weight capacity.
These differences make electric kickboards better than traditional ones although they still have their downsides as well.
To stay safe while using any electric kickboard, follow these guidelines:
- Before using any electric kickboard, read the users’ manual to avoid any dangers.
- Make sure the device works first before entering the water. You can test that by standing on land and turning the kickboard on while it’s placed in the water.
- Make sure all the electric circuits are properly sealed before entering the water. This reduces the risk of electric shock.
- Given that kickboards are used mostly by swimming leaners and the injured, always have a spotter by your side before using one. If it’s your kid using it, always be on the watch for any accidents as it may easily lead to drowning.
- Only put the upper body’s weight on the board and don’t stand on it since you will fall off.
- Avoid using damaged kickboards as you run the risk of damaging them further and even drowning in the process.
Keep these safety measures in mind to stay safe when using electric kickboards to swim or teach others how to swim.
Care and maintenance
You should keep the following maintenance routine to keep the electric kickboard in good shape:
- After using the electric kickboard, always rinse it then dry it up for storage.
- Check for any damage on the kickboard’s terminals. If there is any, clean it off and dry it before reconnecting the battery.
- Clean the pool before going in to avoid damaging the kickboard. For example, twigs might harm the motors of the kickboard and other issues.
- Oil the moving parts every few days to weeks to keep them in good shape and to reduce wear and tear.
You should read the owner’s manual on how to take care of your electric kickboard for the best care and maintenance routine.