Kayak for 13 year-old girl?

My daughter is getting old enough to do some “real” paddling with. We bought her one of those cheap 6` SOT boats a few years ago, and although it doesn’t track worth a bean, it was good enough to get her out on the water, and I could tow her if I wanted to. Later we got her a used inflatable, but it is a wide, cumbersome beast.

I have an old Valley Avocet RM that I love. Tracks great, fits me great, etc. Unfortunately, I have to let my daughter use it now - and I get stuck with the inflatable (ugh!).

What are some suggestions for a quality boat for a small ( ~5’, 70#) paddler, that I would be able to find used? The Eddyline Samba looks about like what I’m thinking of, but there’s no way I paying anywhere near $2000 - more like <$500.

Where are you located? There’s a nice Current Designs Squall going for $600 in our local northern Michigan CL

If you can find a Wilderness Systems Piccolo, it is an excellent boat for smaller paddlers. It has been out of production for a few years and you don’t see many for sale, but when you do the prices are pretty low.

Look for a used Perception Acadia Scout. I bought for my daughter when she was 9 and still paddles it at 16. It is lightweight (25 lbs), narrow for a smaller paddler, and tracks quite well. The model was discontinued, but you might find one on Craigslist.

I traded one WS boat for a 15’ WS Cape Horn, my Granddaughter is about the same size and does very well in it. She’s planning to paddle eighteen miles on the Missouri River with us Sat. This will be her longest paddle in her own boat so far.


Thanks for the recommendations. Web searching on some of the boat names gave me some good hits on reviews and such. I’ll keep my eyes open for any of these popping up.

If you can find a good one, a used WS Piccolo. Light, narrow, low deck, and just under 14 ft long IIRC. I rented one in FL and liked it.

The Squall’s front deck and tall coaming overall will make her feel like she is sitting in a bathtub. It had that effect on me, and I’m both taller and heavier than she is. And it is a heavy boat. To allow her skills to develop, a smaller snugger boat meant for a lighter paddler would be much better. BUT if genetics indicate she will soon get a lot bigger, then the Squall would be something to “grow into.”

Depending on where you paddle, she might like a kid’s whitewater kayak. Jackson Side Kick would fit. It is an all-round river kayak, not a playboat. It can be paddled on flatwater just fine, though in chop it is a wet ride due to spray off the bow.

At 13 she’s about to grow I assume. Another fit for right now other than the boats listed above is the Tsunami SP. It fits well up to 115lbs in my experience. At 13 though I’d also consider spending more to get something that will last. Plastic boats that my petite wife likes are the Avocet rm that you currently have, the Zephyr 155 and the Alchemy S. I’m sure there are lots of others but those are the ones she has the most experience with. When paddling a boat thats a bit big for her consider sitting her on a towel and maybe adding a little ballast. There are also products like the Jackson sweetcheeks 200 designed to be a comfortable booster seat.