Children kayaks

-- Last Updated: Jul-10-09 2:06 PM EST --

I am researching the purchase of a kayak for both my 5 and 7 year old sons. Neither have any experience in a kayak nor do I. We have a lake home in northern Wisconsin where I suspect we will do most if not all of our paddling for quite some time. I have narrowed my choice down to either an Acadia Scout or a Prodigy 10 depending upon whether the boys will fit into one or the other.

My question is why should I buy one of these kayaks instead of purchasing something from a big box store for 1/2 the price?

fit, resale value

– Last Updated: Jul-10-09 3:42 PM EST –

Is the big-box option a good fit for them?

Kids can have fun in anything that floats. But if you want them to enjoy paddling, a boat and paddle that fit make a big difference.

A small child in some adult rec boats will have the cockpit coaming up to his armpits and won't be able to touch the water. He'll have to paddle with his hands above his head, which gets tiring very fast -- especially if it's an adult-sized paddle.

The goal is?
If you would like your children to become kayakers get them appropriate equipment, as Angstrom was alluding to. If you want them to simply splosh about, get some Ocean Kayak Yak Boards or EPI makes a short little sit on top, or seated innertubes for that matter.

Last Sat. Night Demo Night we had a young boy who initially didn’t want to get on the water but saw his Dad and younger brother having fun so decided to give it a try with a Prijon Flipper. By the end of the evening he had figured out how to do dufeks, stern rudders and was playing with peel outs in the little stream that leads into our harbor. He’s now a kayaker, so he declared quite happily at the end of the evening.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

young children
can fearlessly and safely learn in a summer more than many older folks will learn in their lifetime. If you have active, playful sons, they will quickly not be content doing in a kayak what an out-of-shape 30+ year old will be doing. Myself, my brothers, and now all my little neices and nephews, are active types. If I had an energetic kid that took an interest, I’d probably plop them in a composite Current Designs Raven for $900ish and teach them what they needed to know for the fun type of paddling that I wouldn’t be able to prevent them from trying, and it certainly wouldn’t be because I could easily afford it. They could float around in a Dick’s special, and likely have a lot of fun doing it. But they wouldn’t be able to learn much of anything about kayaking as a sport. So I’d say a lot depends upon your sons, and what level you figure they might take things.

I guess as kids my brothers, sister and I didn’t have a lot of things, so anything we had got used and used, repaired, used, repaired, and used some more. So I’m probably a bit optimistic. But I know we would have quickly become some amazing kayakers given something appropriate to learn the sport at that young age. I think you’re probably born with the water bug or not, so I hope they enjoy it. Lucky kids!!

You might also try
calling John @

He’s got some nice kids stuff too.

Kids’ boats
The Acadia Scout is a great kids boat, also look at finding a Carolina 12XS or a discontinued Umiak. My kids have had all of them. The Flipper and Raven are super boats too but cost a lot more. You should be able to find a Scout, Carolina 12, or Umiak for about $200 to $300 a piece in that neck of the woods. Paddle selection is extremely important as stated previously. My kids like the Werner Sprite. It comes in one or two pieces. A great size for youth. Too little attention is paid to how comfortable a kid’s PFD is too. If it’s always rubbing, riding up, feeling bulky, or fits poorly, they won’t have as much fun and could be at risk. Try them on the kids before you buy. The difference between a $20 vest at WalMart and a $50 vest at a decent paddleshop could mean losing a few hundred when you give up and sell the boats and all.

Scout= more stable, start the younger paddler in it.

Umiak/Carolina12= speedy glider, great for learning more skills, transitions into LV and small adult boats well.

I have 7 boats from 8’ to 14’. All my kids(ages 9-21)prefer the Swifty. The seat is comfortable, it tracks ok, it is very maneuverable and easy to paddle.

You can get them at Dick’s on sale for $269 or so. Look in the reviews section there are approx 70 reviews of the boat there.

Epitike 1000

Same length and speed as a rec boat. Won’t track as well so they’ll skill up faster. Narrow so they short arms can actually put the paddle in the water at the correct angle, this makes it possible for them to make the boat go straighter than a rec boat. Light so they’ll want to use it more.

And the cost is the same as a lot of rec boats!

On the other hand if the just want them for fishing and swimming and goofing off I might buy a couple of used sit on tops.

Where in WI?

– Last Updated: Jul-11-09 12:08 PM EST –

I was also concerned about finding a boat that fit my kids well. I ended up building a Sea Flea skin on frame boat from Yostwerks and my kids love it. It fits both my 9 year old and my 5 year old, so I'd guess that your sons would fit fine as well. The nine year old should get another year or so before I build her a Sea Pup.

I also live in WI (Green Bay area) if you'd like to have your sons give it a test paddle sometime. The build is very simple, and will cost you about $200.00 in materials and about 25 to 30 hours to complete. My girls also had a good time helping with the build.

send you money out of the community
help a local dealer to go out of business

the 17-year-old in the big box store knows everything you’ll ever need to know

kids kayaks
We drove an hour and a half to the local kayak dealer today and picked out a couple of Acadia Scouts for the boys. The choice was made pretty easy because that is the only kayak that they had that the boys were big enough to fit into properly. They each got to try them out behind the store and did real well for their first time out. Thanks to everyone for their help and suggestions.