Grandpa is considering a Perception Acadia Scout and paddle for a coming series of grandsons, oldest turning 7 next spring. Understand that the Scout may be discontinued, but bigger question is an appropriate paddle. Looking for something above aluminum, but below the $275 full graphite models (they can spring for those when they’re ready). Have seen listings for the Werner Sprite and Aquabound Sharkie at about $60. Would appreciate your experience and suggestions.
Kids are not adults
Torso, arms, reach - all different for kids.
Banging kids knuckles on the rim/combing/bow by
an improperly sized kayak and paddle leads to frustration
and quick lack of interest in the activity.
A long cheap generic metal paddle is also very heavy
- for a young kid doing a highly repetitive movement.
Bending Branches perhaps
Werner Sprite maybe
Might try Sawyer
I know Sawyer makes kid specific paddles.
Here is a vid from Outdoor Retailer I shot of some of the ones they carry.
Rapid Media TV Guy
I’ll Be the One
You can’t do better than a custom fit. Either make a Greenland paddle for cheap or have one made for some $.
Burn the grandson’s name in the paddle. That would be special.
A bit of a rant here … Its painful to
see too large blades on cut down shaft being called 'kids' paddles ... Typically, these paddles are also heavier than yours as well .. Ugh.
Putting a too long, overly large paddle in your childs hands is counter productive to what you want as a parent.
Kids < 5 - 12 are really not that strong.
They want to and NEED to be able to 'spin' the paddles just like you. This means the blades have to be tiny.
We make kids paddles for kids ...Custom. With small shafts and blades. They weigh less than one pound but are sturdy enough for tossing around. I humbly ask 75.00 for these.
The kids can choose up to 3 colors per paddle.
A fun 'review'
$75 is a bargain. Jump on it!
Onno kids paddles
I have a very happy Onno user in my family. His kids paddle is far better than anything else that’s out there.
Here is my 6 year old in the mini tripper… its lite and she loves it. She got one of those 190cm warner kids paddles which is very thin as well… They yellow boat is a jackson rouge 9 and my 10 year old is in that… Got that for him when he was 9… Works good… no way it will tip. He really has to force it over by rocking it.
I hear the Acadia Scout is discontinued but is being re-issued as the Prodigy XS. I talked to the Perception rep and it’s the same hull but with upgraded outfitting. I’m in the market for at least one in the spring. Check out the video on their website. My grandkids use the Werner Sprite and the Adventure Technology Grasshopper paddles. They work fine and are a good fit for 5 and 6 year olds.
Another kayak to see
I like the sit on top for kids listed here:
It comes with a paddle and seems good for children up to about 12.
Wing paddle for kids
I would have gotten the onno for my 6 year olds ( they are almost 8 now) but he wasn't making them yet, so we had Maxpaddle make them one. He built a smaller version wing paddle with a really small shaft then put a 13cm adjuster on it so they'll be able to use it for awhile. It's very strong. They paddle a junior flipper ski from kayak center. It's a small spec ski that I raised the seat to deck height so they can get some leg drive. They can remount solo and paddle pretty fast in it. So something to look at. Plus when they are bored they jump off for a swim then remount and get going again. Good luck with your search. Chaz
Second the GP
My daughter has an Acadia Scout and this winter I am making her a second GP. She has out growen the first one. I like the GP for the price and ease of getting it to fit her, since I can scale everything down. She likes it since I can customize it for her. Her first one was purple. Her first one was made out of a 1x4 so I could make the loom small and this one will be a cedar 2x4 and I will just carve it down until it fits her hand. I don’t use any fancy treatments or epoxy on hers since it may only be used for a year. I just coat it with Danish oil which I have around the house. Banging hands has never been an issue with her even though it has happened it hasn’t stopped her.
I would suggest you buy yourself a tow rope to make the fun last longer. We bought a basic one from NRS for around $50. We would tow our daughter when she got tired and now she doesn’t want a tow but I still watch her like a hawk for signs she getting to tired which I think then gets dangerous.
After hitting 1 1/2 to 2’ rollers she now wants to learn how to surf a kayak, but since she is 8 and the Scout doesn’t have bulkheads we’ll wait on that one.
One last cool thing about going with a GP is as she grows we are going to hang up her paddles so we can see how far she has come in her paddling.
My daughter loves paddling and I really enjoy taking her out. I hope you have as much fun with your grandkids.
for the GP. I am not a GP guy. I am a giant blade euro guy, but… I could not find anything good for young small kids. I bought the Werner Sprite and didn’t like it. So I finally made a smallish greenland paddle out of a red cedar 2x4 for $19. I used the free video and plans that are easily found on the internet. Extremely light and balanced for young kids and the pull through the water is something they easily handle. Good luck
Let The Kids Choose
These are the good fun years of paddling, having bought every kid’s paddle available to try out on the narrow made for kid’s Poco SOT by Ocean Kayak. You can’t fool kids, they want the real mc’coy like what the grown ups paddle. They don’t want another scaled down toy version. Discovered this when the 7 year old picked up her mom’s translucent Swift paddle and took off on her own out into the surf and ocean. Been trying to get her to do this for years. Even at age 10 and paddling surfski, it was hard to ween her from the the Swift, until I got her the Onno Small Wing paddle, which she has been using for the past four years until now, when she switch to the larger Onno Small-Mid Wing.
Don’t worry about technique or what’s right or wrong, for kids experiment a lot and learn how to improvise and adjust in order to acquire that elusive “feel” for the water, which us grownups never seem to discover?
I got a two piece adjustable paddle from Pat, very light with cool green blades. The eldest grand kid loves it!
Playtime is learning
Kids are sponges absorbing what we teach them.
A little instruction, a little play , a little coaching.
Letting them “experiment” with unstructured play,
is just as vital as a few minutes serious learning.
I’m always amazed as how much kids can truly mentally grasp,
even if they don’t fully comprehend the physics behind it all.
For some of them middle school kids really know their physics. Especially, the talented Hopkins kids I paddled with a few summers ago.
I’ve got a 10 year old and a 6 year old in Kayaks… Biggest thing I’d say is don’t push them. Load up the kayaks and go… If your there 20 mins and there done… Go Home. Keep it fun When my son was 9 I pushed him once to go a little longer and it didn’t go well, and he didn’t want to go with me again for a while… So now I know when the kids come I let them call the shots and come back by myself for the long paddling days…
I've had great experience pairing kids with the Werner Sprite. Both one and two piece models are tough.
There's a paddling shop near KC that was closing out some Scouts new for $250 a month or so ago. They may have an orange one left. Great boat choice for kids up to about 10 years old, depending on size. KC Paddler in Peculiar, MO.