Preface: there’s four of us paddling in my family. Just on nice days in calm water, out for fun and exploring the local lakes. Three of us are using 10’ recreational kayaks which makes us pretty evenly matched, but my 8 year old has one of those little 6’ SOT “Wave” boats, though we fitted it with a nice seat and got him a real paddle.
Unfortunately, while he’s a trooper and has never completely crapped out on a trip, he’s not enjoying it as much as the rest of us. He doesn’t like his boat’s (utter lack of…) tracking, and how slow he is. And more worrisomely, he says his back really hurts after a mile or so.
I thought maybe adding the seat would really help his back but he doesn’t feel much difference. I’ve toyed with the idea of building a little skeg to help him track straighter. And I’m sure part of his speed problem is that he’s 8 and is only going to make so much power, especially as he’s still learning to paddle well.
(He’s tried one of our 10’ Pelicans and liked it fine, but that was just for a few minutes, and it looked to me like he was straining to paddle over it’s wide beam and tall sides.)
I’d love to find ways to improve his boat so that he’s comfortable and as fast as he practically can be. But maybe I’m wasting time and money on that and there’s a better way.
I’ve tried looking around a bit for “youth” recreational kayaks, but I didn’t find much except for the same boat he’s already got.
I’m seeing recommendations for the Perception Acadia Scout or maybe the L.L. Bean Spin (bad tracking?) but neither are in production, looks like.
So I’ll troll for one of those in the local classifieds, but are there any other realistic options?