I teach kids every weekend for a local surf shop. Eight is a great age, don't wait any longer since he wants to do it. Take him out the first few times with little ankle slappers. A day its not too cold, etc. Bring him somewhere you can stand and give him a push. Start with a funshape sized foamy, unless he's a real big kid longboards will have too much float and no maneuverability for him. Costco sells some foamys for $99. You have time to get him ripping on a shortboard but its got to start out fun. Its always good to have a foamy in your quiver for first timers so start there...
I've heard of kids surfing as little as 3-4 years old. I plan on getting my daughter in the water around 3 1/2. She has a couple years to go though. Like everyone said, make sure it's fun for the child. If they don't want to surf, don't make them.
Get him started ASAP... I'd push him into a few on a foamy on a "flat" day for starters. It's kinda like training a dog... you don't want to start off making him gunshy. No bruises, no dings, no crying... all fun. Make sure you take him out for ice cream when you're done!
That worked for my son. Avoid the drama with the foamie...
Thanks so much for the tips. I have a 7'6" funboard I can try out to start and see how it goes, i like the idea of a smaller foam board, especially as he is small and lite, i'll look and see if I can craigslist one. I was actually in south caroline a couple of weeks ago and there was the perfect day and beach clean ankle to knee which you could wade out into. . . i just didn't have a board with me. thanks again.
My theory on this is that it's never to soon and never to late. I started at age 34.....therefore I must believe the never to late part......and I have seen kids as young as 7 years old in hurricane swells.
My proof is these pictures taken during hurricane Katia @ northside of the St. Augustine pier. One shows a father and 7 year old son.....the other, the size of the surf @ the time he was in it.
Ok....and I felt punked by the fact that the kid made it out on a day that I tried for hours and couldn't. Just sayin'