Greetings everyone. Hopefully someone out there can help me. I live in the tidewater area of VA and there’s lots of water everywhere. I would like to start kayaking but all of our local “kayak stores” are not very helpful. All I want to know is what type of Kayak should I be looking for if I want to go both in the rivers and the ocean? I have a 5 year old daughter that would like to go also so I’d like a tandem so she could join me. Do I need one with a rudder, sit on top or closed, how long? Etc… Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
hi I just bought a wilderness systems Pamilco 135T,poly boat..it's a tandem sit-in. you can also use it solo by moving the front sliding seat to a different hole and locking it in/ rear seat becomes a catch-all then or quite possible, a ideal seat for a young child behind you. Seats are big&very comfortable.the front seat slides forward or aft to accomadate the size of front paddler and to balance the kayak when solo..rear seat is bolted in place....It's only 13 1/2 ft long x 31 " wide and available with a rudder if you desire...My theory on rudders is ..they are nice to have if you need them..there's no law that sez you have to use them. rudders are approx. a $200 or so option on most boats. Be aware on Pamlico's that if you buy one w/ rudder....your solo seating spot is kinda limited due to the fact you have to move the rudder pedals to a different forward track. too complex to discuss here, sorry or email me.
Theres lots of tandems out ther ..depends on what you want to pay , there's realtive cheapo's @ dicks's sporting goods,or you can pay big $$$$$$ for tandem fiberglass ones.they even make tandems with a "kids seat" in between the front /rear ..seat/cockpit. lots of used/demo tandems available at some shops for a big $$$ savings Or you can pay $900 for a new Pamlico with rudder. Local sporting goods store had Pamlico's T's fer $700..non-rudder model.you should research all the models from everyone .....Caveat here is .."paddle 1st if at all possible" then decide which one u want/can afford. hope this helps ya ...good luck
If a tandem…
and you want to go on the ocean, I'd be concerned about one like the above-mentioned boat that has a big huge difficult-to-skirt cockpit. That just seems like an invitation to get swamped by a surprise wave. I have no idea what is out there in the way of SOT tandems that would also work as a solo for you alone, but either something like that or a more easily covered two cockpit job might be a better idea.
The problem with SINK's like I mention though is that either cockpit is likely to be absolutely huge for your daughter. I've seen tandems with kids in there that looked like about all that made it above the cockpit was their shoulders, and it didn't look like a great idea for bigger water.
I'm generally not sure that taking a 5 year old out on the ocean in a kayak is a great idea - it just seems to be tempting fate. Does that have to be part of it or would it work out to just do the father-daughter paddling on flat protected water until she is older? That way, you could pick up a more substantial solo for yourself and put her in a very cheap, basic rec boat of some kind to go out with you on ponds and quiet river areas. We see the little kids playing with these boats in the cove where we vacation all the time, and they have a ball with them.
Regardless of how you handle the boat issue, I'd suggest that you get some training in basic boat management and various on-water rescues as a preamble to taking your daughter out.
Thx for the advice Celia. Yeah, I agree with you in regards to having my daughter out in the ocean....not gonna happen. I only intended on having her with me on the calm back bays and calm rivers. I'll be taking some kayaking courses in the early spring & summer to get familiar with what type of kayak I should be getting. I also thought about just going with a solo kayak until she's about 7 or 8 then introduce her to the sport and get her her own kayak. What do you think?
I haven't had cause to research this myself, but there are boats out there for quite small paddlers now that might start being pretty apt for your daughter when she gets a couple of so years older depending on her size. That means that if you keep a lookout you might be able to score one used for her to start out with. You'll be able to gauge it better once you've taken some instruction and gotten seat time.
Take a look at this thread http://www.paddling.net/message/showThread.html?fid=advice&tid=838266 for your own purchase. You'll still want more boat than something like the Pamlico tandem so that you can really learn how to kayak on the ocean or help your daughter if things get surprisingly windy or you get caught by surprise weather even on those protected rivers. As in that thread, the absolute best way to get a feel for the right boat is to learn some basics about handling them. Until then it's all too abstract for most people to make a fully comfortable decision about which boat.
I also suspect that you can find a paddling group around you, given the description of your environment. If so, they may be running pool sessions or skills sessions on local water bodies. It's very possible that they have an arrangement with someone local (not Dick's type places) for rental of boats for their trips.
Where in Virginia are you?
Scubadv - Look at Tandem Sit On Tops
Good models to look at are Hobie Oddysey, MalibuII by Ocean Kayaks, and the Cobra Tandem. The Hobie was my first kayak and it was good because you can paddle with it solo from the center seat, or from the rear seat and use the front seat as a tankwell for diving. Once you learn what you are doing and are sure about conditions you can take your little one on paddles even on the ocean in protected waters. A better source for information for the kind of paddling you want to do is at www.sit-on-topkayaking.com, there is lots of information there and a forum.
It’s pretty easy to find used MalibuIIs slow but reliable, very seaworthy, you can even surf it.
I’m not going to take my daughter
on anything but flat water lakes until she is old enough to do it herself
Try Matthews VA
I am not sure of the place but there is a guy in Matthews that is near the water and he will let you try out the kayaks he has right there on the water. I have met two people that have bought from him and they were very satisfied. It beats just sitting in one on the showroom floor.
I think this is the place your describing.
I believe the owner’s name is Shawn. My friend also purchased a boat from him after trying several out.
Appomatox River Company
in Yorktown is a great resource. Great Staff. Big Inventory. I’ve been doing business with them for years. I think they would be able to help you!
I have a 4 y/o daughter…
With the same basic goals as you - calm water paddling with her and exploring bigger water when it’s just me.
I settled on a Old Town Dirigo - it’s got a huge cockpit and a jump “seat” for her. It’s a little tight with her and I seated, but she fits in front of me and with clearance for me to paddle behind of her.
For just me on bigger water - I’ve been able to find a sprayskirt that fits it. And, I’m probably going to talk to the guys at Black Dog Kayaks about making a custom sea sock to help limit the amount of water that gets in, in case of a wet exit.
One biggie for all conditions - there is NO flotation whatsoever in the bow of the kayak; the stern has a bulkhead - but, I don’t know about it’s water/airtightness. I am in the process of making some floatbags for the bow and will most likely make one for the stern, since I have all of the parts to make them.
From what I know - tandems are usually ‘not great’ to paddle solo. Another sit-on-tops to consider is the Malibu Kayaks Pro Explorer (actually, any of the Malibu Kayaks line - most fit the “Gator Hatch” which gives the midget a place to sit).
Local instruction and questions
Hi, sorry to hear you haven’t had much help from the local shops. Although we don’t sell the type of boats that are likely to be a good fit for you, we are always happy to share input and advice – Virginia Sea Kayak Center, 757-439-3179.
I paddle with my kids a fair amount on a Tarpon 140 SOT on flat water. I can get both of them on there with me and they have a blast, although I think they do more swimming than paddling!
Feel free to give us a call, we’re happy to help any way we can.
Take a look at the Riot Sea Hunter kayak,made in Montreal Canada.
kids in kayaks
it is great for 5 year olds to experience flat water kayaking, in a very stable, short boat, unless she is in your boat with you.
i take little ones out, always with a handy tow rope.
and of course, well fitting life jackets, that actually float the child without coming up over their face.
You don’t mention price,but Current
Designs makes a great tandem SINK.
I STARTED THE SAME WAY. OCEAN KAYAK MALIBU CLASSIC. BOUGHT IT ABOUT 7 YEARS AGO. 17’ TANDEM THAT CAN BE PADDLED SOLO AND NOT AS WIDE AS SOME OF THE OTHERS OUT THERE. I BELIEVE THAY HAVE SINCE CHANGED THE DESIGN AND CALL IT A MALIBU II BUT I CANT COMMENT ON THAT BOAT. PADDLING A BOAT THIS SIZE SOLO WILL FORCE YOU TO DEAL WITH LESS MANEUVERABILITY AND MORE WEATHERCOCKING. I NEVER ADDED A RUDDER BUT THERE WERE MANY TIMES IT WOULD HAVE HELPED. I HAVE REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOAT BOTH ALONE AND WITH MY KIDS. AS FOR TAKING IT IN THE OCEAN THERE ARE MANY SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS AS WITH ANY OTHER BOAT. THIS ONE DOES HAVE SCUPPERS BUT ALSO HATCHES AND NO BULKHEADS OR EXTRA FLOATATION.
Check out the Hurricane boats
They have several sit on tops and a Rec. tandem
Their boats are very nice, light weight and low priced.
I concur that ARC
is a good place to look. If the Tidewater store is not helpful (I would be surprised if they are not)contact Tom at the ARC in Farmville. I have dealt with ARC for years and find them very helpful. (and have great pricing)