Beginning a new kayaker

Hi all,

Today we took a very excited 8 year old out in a kayak for the first time. He paddled a large pond in a Perception Carolina 14. He loved it. I am wondering what the next best step is to keep him interested in kayaking and developing skills. Is a tandem kayak the best way? Would buying him a 10 ft kayak or something else to be his very own be better?? How have you started the young ones in kayaking? Any and all thoughts are welcome! Thanks in advance!


Keep em in a tandem
till they have a decent grip on skills. After that, the freedom of solo boating will be irresistable. Plus, it gives you a good bit of time to do the all important bonding. Some of the closest moments my Dad and I ever spent were in a canoe, while he taught me how to paddle.

Capt of their own boat.
Kayaking is the only thing all my kids will agree upon. I think being the Capt of their own boat helps. My daughter, the youngest, would like to get a tandem though. My youngest kids are now in 6th and 7th grade.

They all use SINK 10 footers.

If he loved the Carolina 14…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-09 8:03 PM EST –

why not get him that boat ?
It is a good boat and will serve him for a long time.

Most of our grandchildren love paddling, and many of them started at age five.
Seth, Cassidy, Matt, Samantha, Cory and Ryan all have their own kayaks.


Capt Kid

– Last Updated: Jun-28-09 10:58 AM EST –

wants his own boat. the Carolina's too wide. look for something smaller and narrower if he really wants to learn to paddle.

see break the bank thread


LL Bean Calypso
It’s a 12’ boat, but I’ve seen an 8 year old paddle it quite well.

The calypso’s I’ve seen are 24-25 inches wide, and have a really long cockpit, like 3 feet. Too big for an 80 pound kid to get any decent contact and learn to paddle well.

There are a few kids boats in the 20-22" range that seem more appropriate for a little one.

small body ~ small boat

narrow, small cockpit and seat. or else they’re not going to get the feel. 25" on a kid is like 36" on an adult


You know what, you’re absolutely right.
The more that I think about what you said, you’re completely right. I was playing on land with the boat and the kid and tipping it. He slid a good 6" (or at least it seemed that way) on either side in the seat before he’d hit the side.

He either didn’t reach the foot pegs or just barely.

But, he did have a good time and paddled the entire time w/ some coaching towards the end.

Good time

– Last Updated: Jun-30-09 10:27 AM EST –

Kids will have fun on the water in anything that floats, which is great. But if you want to help them develop paddling skills, and feel like they're in control, gear that fits makes a big difference.

Be prepared to tow, play games, keep it fun.