Can a 10 yo kid handle a 12 ft Kayak ?

Not talking about a long trip…just for having fun on a little lake or pond on something like a Kestrel 120.

Would this kind of Yak be too big ?

just messing around
Should be fine for just messing around. I’ve seen a lot of kids in boats that were too big for them, and they were usually having fun. It’s not dangerous unless there are conditions (wind, waves, currents, traffic) that require good boat control.

The biggest “danger” is that they might get frustrated and not want to try paddling again, but that usually happens when kids are trying to keep up with someone who’s faster. Keep it fun and the kids will be fine.

A light paddle that fits will make a big difference.

Our Grandson was ten last year
Bugging us to kayak and we didn’t get him to the water before the season change, back to school etc. However, the difference in him physically from age 10 to 11 is very noticeable. He is much broader and thicker this year , a little taller. He is not a really big guy to begin with though but strong. Anyway at 11 I got him into the wifes 12 ft Pungo and gave him two paddle options to mess with. He chose the one he liked after paddling around a bit and off he went, had a blast. Now he has a little 10 ft something of his own and has not paddled it yet because he is now in a leg cast ( pulled ligament in his leg = two weeks in a cast and who knows what else).

we put our three year old grandson in a RapidFire with a carbon fiber adult paddle.

He took off… no technique but it would have been hard to catch him…we were wading… Good thing he was on a tether!

The trouble is that after that he thought it was HIS boat.

YES … Turn him loose : )

– Last Updated: Jul-24-14 7:20 PM EST –

Kids just want to be out there with you.

Don't worry about stability at all ( IMO ) as the kids aren't.

Main thing is put something small in their hands for a paddle.

At first they won't care using yours or what ever, but after a while, the fun starts to become work and then the kids get tired fast.

The paddle should be tiny so the kids can "spin" it, just like you.

My little guy is 4'8", 100 pounds paddling a surfski now and still the best thing for him is 5.5" x 15" blade. Anything larger and he cannot turn it over as efficiently.

I've got some new info up on the website about kids paddles including a fun video 'review' by my son from a few years back.

I bought my 10 year old son a 12 foot Pelican Chase (copy of the Elie Strait 12). What’s nice about that boat is he can grow into it (and I can use while he does. It’s also a good bit cheaper than the Kestral. It has slightly less initial stability, but if your son (grandson?) is built like mine, he couldn’t flip it if he tried.

The stability of most kayaks that size will not be an issue as the child is so light.

It is actually better in my opinion to give them a good/longer kayak than something short and wide. Case in point was paddling with my 2 nieces and sis in law. The youngest had a borrowed 10" rec boat. The boat did not track too well. As a result the niece got frustrated not being able to keep up and keep straight. I wound up towing. After the days paddle I said to my sis in law - You know - we should have put her in one of the better/longer kayaks.

Whereabouts are you?
You don’t have a profile with location – if you are anywhere near Western PA, there’s a guy here who bought out a kayak guide’s fleet who has a used 12’ low volume Perception Umiak for sale cheap – great boat for a kid that size (check the reviews on here) that will last him til he gets to around 125 lbs. $275 including paddle, PFD and skirt. I bought a full sized kayak from this guy a few weeks ago – all the boats he has are in good shape.

12’ kayak
It depends on the kid. An athletic kid with some training should have no trouble at all. I got serious about paddling at age 11.

Haha! You Wait Patrick…
The day will come soon enough when the kid doesn’t want you around because you can’t keep up and have now become a liability.

No worries, you’ll become a Little Red Road regular shuttling surfskis, SUPs and solo outriggers to the put-in and take-out everytime the wind exceeds 20+ knots for your son and his friends.

Your small wing paddle, that I bought my ten (10) year old daughter six (6) years ago, was a great investment, for she used it until age fifteen (15), when she switched to your small-mid size wing. Talk about child proof, that solid core, all carbon wing paddle took a lot of punishment, from smashing reefs to banging up her surfski gunwales.

Main thing: your Onno Lever Lock made it so easy for her to adjust it as she grew out of her Ocean Kayak Poco and Scupper Classic into paddling exclusively Olympic K-1s and elite surfskis.

Thanks Willowleaf
I saw your post and went and got the Umiak today. Dan’s a nice guy. I have 4 grandkids and 3 like to kayak with me. This will be a good addition to the Prodigy XS ( old Acadia Scout) we already have…when my oldest Granddaughter puts her mind to it, I can’t keep up with her. The Umiak looks like it may be even faster. Thanks for the tip.

Glad it found an appreciative home. That was a good deal.

umiak seat
Some folks here have reported replacing the molded seat with a homemade foam one – said the molded seat was the only thing their kids didn’t like.


Get a better kayak. I know kids that age
who competently manage slalom racing boats.

Might be a good idea…the molded seat looks a little hard…definitely needs some type of padding. I’m trying to get an idea how old the boat is…it’s the Aquaterra which I think was made in 95 and 96 ??