Jackson FUN as a 1st boat for 8 year old son

Hello, 1st post here. I have my old 2010 FUN and I’m thinking about using it for my son’s first boat. He is 8 years old, about 100 lbs, and 5’ tall. The weight range on the boat starts at 135lbs.

This was my boat until I gained some weight. I’m 6’5" and I’m now trying a BlackFly canoe instead because I think it might suit my height and weight better.

My question is: How bad an idea is it to put somebody that’s 100lbs into a boat rated for a min of 135lbs? Most answers about weight are about being too large, or trying to fit into a medium when you weigh enough for a large boat.

I figure that riding a little high isn’t so bad, and he will not be doing any playboating for years. I just want him to be able to run the river and practice eddying out. He grows fast, so it won’t be long before he hits the right range anyway.

Am I just rationalizing using my old boat instead of forking out for a used one that fits him better?

Thanks for any advice!

People who are big often don’t get it. The problem with putting someone in a too-big boat is that he/she cannot securely use the thigh braces. That’s bad for any SINK activity but horrible for teaching someone to control a WW kayak.

The Jackson Sidekick that I bought for myself in 2008 would fit your son. I am just under 5’3” and between 105-110 lbs.


Good for you and your son to get some exposure to safe and fun boating. While not familiar with the Jackson boat, I do know that boat width and height can be limiting factors for all paddlers and especially an 8 year old. Both serve to restrict the paddler to low and wide sweeping/turning strokes and not high forward ones. Both also limit seat, leg and foot contact with the boat. Regardless, see how he interacts with and paddles the FUN and decide if it is just right or too X, Y, Z and consequently discouraging him.

For paddling whitewater; fit is very important to maintain good control of your boat. If cost is not a huge factor ,I would recommend getting a kayak that fits him better. Buy used and resell it after he outgrows it.

Thanks for the replies. I’ve been paddling whitewater since 1988. I appreciate the effort, but I don’t need paddling explained to me.

I was specifically asking about the waterline being a little low because my son is underweight for the boat. It’s a short boat, and I will only be taking him on very tame water at first, so i think that it might not hinder him too much to accomplish learning to eddy. He will be in the correct weight range within a year probably (he’s growing fast!). Of course an ideal boat is ideal, and I will buy a used one if I see one nearby.

Paddler height is a factor too. If the boat is sitting high on the water, it can be tough for a smaller kid who sits low in the cockpit to execute a decent stroke. My 10-yr old granddaughter graduated from a kid’s kayak to a 12-footer this summer. She is underweight for the boat, but tall for her age. If she were shorter (torso and arms, especially), it would not have worked nearly as well as it did.

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I’m confused; if you know about paddling whitewater; why are you asking your question in the first place since you should already know the answer. Good luck getting your son involved in the sport. I remember getting my kids started whitewater and was glad when they didn’t persue it because I never could relax when on the water with them

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I’m even more confused; your 1st reply was almost helpful, but then you felt the need to return to belittle me. The fact is that I asked a question pertaining to a lightweight paddler and how high they will float. Most people here were giving me feedback about smaller paddlers in boats that are too big, which was helpful, but a couple people seemed to be more interested in winning internet points.

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