My daughter just turned 9 and is petite for her age, up until now has only passively ridden while I paddled, until this weekend when I let her have a go in the OK Frenzy, and she’s hooked, it’s her new favorite hobby. My paddles were tough for her to handle, so I screwed two cheap french oars together to make an ersatz small paddle, but obviously she’s going to need a real paddle she can handle, and she also really needs a smaller boat to paddle comfortably. I saw Academy (our regional sporting goods chain) has Emotion Spitfire 6’ kayaks that come with a paddle for $99, looks like a good cheap fast way to get her onto the water in her own starter boat, assuming she’s grow and be ready for a better boat in a few years. Anyone have any experience with these with your kids, yea or nay?
kids love these
My cousins who live on a small pond have a couple of these for their grandchildren and the kids love them. Hard to beat the price.
If you have basic shop tools, you might want to consider carving her a wooden Greenland paddle of her own. These are lighter than the usual cheap plastic and metal paddles available for kids and put less stress on small wrists and shoulders. (see shot in link following next paragraph of a youngster with his own Greenland paddle.)
As she gets older (and a better paddler), if you are reasonable handy in the wood shop you could make here one of Tom Yost’s kayaks from his free instructions and patterns, like the Sea Flea or Sea Pup:
If you build her a skin-on-frame kayak she can choose her own colors and even make designs on it with paints or Sharpie markers.
My daughter likes hers
I just got my daughter one of these kayaks a couple of weeks ago. Turns out she is a natural paddler and loves my canoe. I realize that if I want to paddle my own boat, she would need her own also. So off to Walmart we went and got her a six-foot sit on top kayak. She complained that it didn’t track as straight as my 13 foot canoe. She likes it enough though that she named her boat Edward. She calls him Ed for short, but when he isn’t listening she calls him by his full name Edward. I agree that it is hard to beat the price for these intro boats.
Great, that’s what I wanted to hear,