Kid's Kayak

I am new to kayaking (canoe guy) and so need advise. Is the Perception Acadia Scout the only boat designed for kids? I did see one and it seems perfect for my 4 ft 50lb 10 year old. I like the fact that the sides are low and she can reach the foot braces. Thanks.

Tsunami SP might be good
It is rated for paddlers from 60-120, but I am positive it can handle larger or smaller paddlers (in weight). I am not sure how far back the foot pegs can be adjusted though.

If your daughter is too small now, but you/she likes they kayak just through a gallon jug of water in the front and rear hatches and push them up against the bulkhead. I imagine for what she will be doing they will stay in place pretty well - you can always add padding to keep them from rolling round if that is a problem.

Kids are not my specialty but it sounds like your daughter might be in for a growth spurt soon. The SP will be good for at least 15 more inches in height (probably more) and 70 lbs in weight.

Kayaks for Kids

EPI – (different models for touring and whitewater; also a model for tots)

Kids kayak
I was going to tell you to look at the Piccolo on sale in Mass, but then decided to look up the Acadia Scout - seems like a reasonable choice and the price is certainly good. I saw one at Glacier Bay Sports in NY for $250! At a price like that, it’s hard to go wrong. Don’t forget to use well-fitting float bags.

It’s nice that you are introducing your daughter to a sport she can enjoy forever. I just bought my daughter her first tuilik, after buying her a Greenland kayak a few years ago. It’s been fun to see the progression she has made from pleasure paddler to acquiring some handy Greenland skills.


One more
Carolina 12 XS made by Perception is another choice. It is a little narrower than the Acadia Scout, making it easier to paddle. I would always choose narrower over wider. It will give her more control of the kayak.


building options

or a SOT:

also look at the tsunami sp
its more like a mini sea kayak

Tsunami SP Hands Down
For reference purposes, we have 2 kids (that paddle), 13 & 7, boy and girls (respectively) and they paddle the bays and harbors of Long Island with my wife and myself. I have bought and sold a variety of boats for them trying to get the perfect fit. The answer was clearly the Tsunami SP. My 44 pounder can swing it (and the slidelock footbraces are actually adjustable to her short legs) and although it’s stated top weight is 120lbs, it easily supports 150.

Two bulkheads/hatches, thigh braces, perimeter lines and deck rigging plus a comfy seat make this the ultimate kids kayak.

Sold my Carolina XS as it is not even in the same class for the same money. I bought 2 brand new from Mountainman Outdoors (nice guys) for a little over 1G and they shipped them for $75 apiece. This is considered a “transitional” touring kayak and as such, it will be the last kayak I will need to buy my children. When they grow up (and can afford it) they can buy QCC’s like mama and papa…

I second the Carolina 12.
The narrow design makes for easier paddling and less arm fatigue. Just make sure to get those float bags.

Carolina 12.0
My 11 year old daughter has a Carolina, it’s worked well for some really good trips, baja, Tahoe, Oregon… I started to think that she would have been better off with a Tsunami 12sp, but the price on Perception was $399 delivered compared to $750+ for WS. However, after talking to some outfitters that I met they mentioned that the Carolina is hard to beat for the price and can be outfitted if you take the time; some deck lines, back band, foam thigh bracing…

Prijon Flipper

Fun little boat and only 19.8 lbs. !

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

More importantly…
I am the father of a 6, 12 and 16 year old. We have a Tsunami SP and I recently purchased a used Carolina for $300. The Tsunami SP is a better boat no doubt, but if the question is cost I think a used (or new) Carolina XS is more economical, even if you have to buy float bags, (its major drawback). Our children paddle both boats effectively on Long Island inner shores. Get 'em used if you can. It’s more important to get them in a boat on the water.

Carolina 12.0
My 9 and 10 year old children both paddle this boat. My wife can also paddle it. Awesome boat for the price. They do require float bags, but with them in it is very stable and safe. My kids do very well in chop and keep up nicely. I would highly recommend the carolina unless you require the water tight holds and rigging. Great boat to learn on and to get your kids out on the water in.

Umiak (now known as the Carolina)
Well, I don’t know how much my opinion is worth, but how about a 5 day, 4 night, 64km (40 mi) trip with orcas. All done by an 8.5 and 11.75 year old. Both were using the Umiak (now called the Carolina).

Very stable, and the 8.5 year old did the last day (16km/10mi) all by himself, in some current (maybe 1.5 knots?). For the kids, you don’t need to go expensive, just willing to be patient and tow the younger ones every so often.

So stable that, unloaded, the 8.5 year old couldn’t capsize with his paddle above his head, and trying to flip.


kids boats
We got great deals on an Acadia Scout and a Umiak, both from Perception. My daughters, 8 and 5, love them. They’re very different boats, but they’re different paddlers with different skills. The Umiak is definitely the faster of the two boats and really turns well. I can’t always keep up! The Scout is great for the younger paddler due to its width and stability. It doesn’t feel quite like our Swifty to a smaller paddler though. She felt “like a frog in a bathtub” due to the huge cockpit opening. There are many good boats out there. Try them out if you can before purchasing though if you can. Have fun!

p.s. If you can swing it, check out the Werner Sprite kid-sized paddles too. They’re great for the smaller dippers. Really makes them feel special to have their blades smiling at them with each stroke:)