Kayak for 7 yr old?

-- Last Updated: Mar-03-06 4:31 PM EST --

We have 2 OK sit on tops which we've taken the kids out on. However my 7 yr old is now too big to ride with us and the dilema is whether to get a new tandem boat or buy him his own. We mainly do flat water (lakes, bay) and slow rivers.

Was ready to buy a tandem but a bit wary after reading posts concerning self rescues on lakes. He's pretty tall so paddling his own boat should be OK. Any suggestions on which option to take? If we went with the option of getting him his own kayak would you go SOT or would he be OK with a closed cockpit?

Searched and read a lot of posts and still not sure what would be the best route to go so any opinions/insight would be appreciated.

Ok makes a “kids” boat the “Kea” I am not sure if it would work for you but may be an option,definately try before you buy, at that age paddling with mom or dad still seems the safest to me…(just my thoughts)…kim


– Last Updated: Mar-03-06 5:05 PM EST –

For SINKs, the Perception Carolina 12.0 gets good reviews from parents here. It'd be a faster boat for him than the KEA.

I have a 5 and 7 year old and the situation you describe is exactly why I just bought a used canoe from c2g…

I love paddling my SOT with one of my kids, but as you say it’s now a bit of a tight fit.

Until mine get to be a little older and show an interest in self-propulsion I think we’ll stick to the canoe.

Good luck on your quest :-)… I admire and echo your investment in family craft…


Whatever you decide
about the kayak, make sure you get a paddle that’s sized right for him, with a small diameter shaft. It will give him a lot more control and be much more enjoyable to use.

You might find a used Carolina 12. They use to be called Umiak, but it is the same boat and a good choice for a fun, manuverable and reasonably quick touring kayak for kids. I had one for my kids and they liked it.

I thought about this, as my son is approaching 10. I’ll probably just get a used canoe, but if he expresses interest in paddling his own craft, that’d be the perfect excuse for me to trade up and let him paddle my Dagger Blackwater.

If your child paddles his or her own boat, I think it would be wise to rig for and paddle in conditions suitable for towing them back. Little arms tire faster than adult’s. Think about what happens if your kid tires out on the lake side opposite your car.


Kid’s boat-Carolina 12.0
My son has had a Carolina 12.0 for 2 summers and will be using it for his third year. He is now 13 and weighs 100 pounds and it still fits him well. This boat was an excellant choice. He loves it. It’s pretty stable, tracks well and is light enough that he can manage it pretty well on land. We usaully paddle with other adults and he is able to keep up with no problems.

The only problem that I would warn you about is that it does not come with a seat back/back band. We have tried a few retro fits and they do work but I think that a seat designed specifically for this boat, by Perception would be more comfortable. The boat is made for small people and most seat backs are made for adult boats. I called Perception about this problem and didn’t really get a good answer other than it allowed them to keep their price down. You will have to spend more money to keep your child comfortable. As anyone with kids knows, they need to be comfortable and have fun if you want to keep them on the water for any length of time.

I still stand by my opinion below.

I don’t know if these are available where you are but the children I’ve seen paddling these find them easy to handle. They are quite stable with a light weight paddler and in the unlikely event of a capsize I think you could easily empty it across your SOT and then get him to climb across your SOT to reenter. If I recall correctly they are designed for ages 6-13.



Small SOT…
I paddled a very light SOT last weekend, I think a child would do well with, but it’s probably a bit pricey.

It was a Hurricane Aqua Sports boat, TCS, or whatever they call the light weight hard plastic material.

Very light, very manuverable, probably reasonable speed for it’s lenght.

Check it out.

Also I hear the Wilderness Systems Piccolo is a great alternate for kids.

My son had an Umiak for a couple of years until he outgrew it. Other boats to look for are The Episea by Englehart Products International and the Piccolo by Wilderness Systems. This may work too http://cgi.ebay.com/EPITIKE-1000-youth-model-whitewater-kayak-with-extras_W0QQitemZ7223982649QQcategoryZ36122QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

My grandkids like my wife’s…
…Old Town Otter, 9’ and quite stable. Started at age 7.

Another Vote for the Umiak
This’ll be my daughter’s fourth season paddling hers. At 11 years old, she probably has at least another season in it before we start looking for something else, or preteen tendencies take over and paddling will slide down the preferred activities list. Umiaks frequently come up on the used boards. They retain their value quite well, and popping for a new Carolina remonikered version is not all that painful. I installed a seat pad and f/r float bags in hers, along with the bb out of my Explorer. Quick little boat, stable, and edges well. That said, I’d now like to find (or possibly build) a decent tandem to paddle with her. As she gets older, our forays are longer and I’m not all that comfortable having her in a single when we cross marina and channel entrances.

My 5’ wife and I demoed a Boreal double, and she was pleasantly suprised by the fit of the front cockpit. Some doubles can feel like bathtubs for smaller folks.

I haven’t paddled the Pygmy double, but it certainly looks nice. I caught up to a couple in one when they were taking a break and they said they were very pleased with it.