Kayak for daughter 16, 95lb, 5'-3"

-- Last Updated: Oct-27-16 7:27 PM EST --

I had the perfect canoe for her, but she wanted a kayak. The canoe is gone now, so I am looking around for a good kayak. There is a Perception Carolina w/ a rudder for sale at a very reasonable price within a reasonable distance. Do y'all think this would be an ok fit, keeping in mind that she might get bigger pretty quickly? Other recommendations? Budget is about $400. She is not real strong, so I don't want to get anything w/ lots of windage. This is for coastal, still, and slow-moving water.

At 16 now

– Last Updated: Oct-27-16 9:08 PM EST –

How much bigger is she going to get? Add an inch and four pounds and that was my size, and I did not gain height at all or more than 10 pounds after until I was 25 or so.

The Carolina has a big cockpit and is on the deep side for her. But it would get her on the water and behave fine.

Some thoughts
The Carolina would feel big for a 95lb person. I have a Carolina that my son has used for years, he is in possession of it now. At 145lb he can move it nicely. My 185lbs and it turns into a barge.

If you can find a Piccolo, snap it up.

My niece, paddling for the first time…


My 7 year old granddaughter!


are you handy?
If you’ve got space and basic shop skills, you can build a custom kayak for her, either a Yostwerks Sea Otter or Sea Pup from scratch:



Or a kit boat:


kayak search
Thanks for all the suggestions! The carolina is out of consideration. Now I am searching for

  1. Wilderness Systems Piccolo
  2. Wilderness Systems Tsunami SP
  3. Perception Acadia Scout (not so much)
  4. Perception Prodigy XS (this is the only one still in production).

    I’d love to build her one, but I don’t have time. I’ve built a boat before (well enough that it’s now in a museum), but now I live in an old house that is constantly in need of repair.

Used Hurricane Tampico?
You might check out the Tampico (no longer made) and see if there is a used one near your location and in your price range (reviews for it are on P-Net). It’s a nice little day-tourer (13.5 ft.) for a person your daughter’s size, and there were two volume sizes before it was discontinued. I am your daughter’s size (but much, much older)! With minimalist backpacker-style gear, she could do weekend trips with it. Years back, I had their “first generation” Tampico, which was the low-volume version. I used it on inland lakes, and an occasional coastal paddle along Lake Michigan. It was ~38lbs, and made of their proprietary “Trylon” material. I think it would do just fine for the kinds of paddling you described, unless the rivers are rocky. Good luck in your search!

That’s the 2nd recommendation for Hurricane Tampico, so it’s on the list now.

Have You Asked Her?
Basically, teenagers don’t want to paddle boats their parents paddle or think what’s best for them. Also, a lot of teenage gals love to paddle boats that boys their age or older don’t have the skills to paddle.

So I highly recommend, including among her choices, a used Olympic K-1 kayak that might be found at your price point? You might even discover that a surfski would be more to her liking?