Kids kayaks again...depth?

We were at our weekly pool session last night where my daughter was playing in a Carolina12. She said she wanted to learn how to roll, so I humored her a little. I actually had her balance bracing within about fifteen minutes, but the coaming was really hurting her back. She’s not tall or long waisted by any means, but I figured this boat should fit her a tad better than it did. We padded the seat up a bit which really helped out. This got me to thinking though about depth for kids kayaks. I’m not talking about rec boats where they all have high decks, but boats like the Episea, Carolina12/Umiak, the Piccolo and even the Jackson Fun1. Where are they really?

By the way, I hopped in that Carolina12 and thought it was a lot of fun! Carves and edges well, and rolls well. I’m still working on getting my off side rolls, and I was able to come right up with very little effort. The boat definitely has the potential grow kids’ skills.


Mine measures 8 1/2" to the top of the coaming behind the seat. Unforunately the seat back is this hard thing in a hinge that sticks up above the coaming so you would have to cut that out and install a backband.

Carolina 12 (Umiak) fun
[A bit off topic]I bought a Umiak for my 7yo daughter and have to confess that on more than one occasion I’ve had lots of fun in this boat. I’m 6’3" and 200 lbs, and was afraid it would be a “submarine,” but no, it is a lot of fun and, with the minimal freeboard, very easy to roll!

I’d have to measure it, but I am guessing the EPI Sea from hull to top of coaming is around 8-9 inches. The EPI Sea doesn’t come with a seat back at all and interestingly my boys have not complained about it. They remain fairly upright and when they lean back their PFD tends to provide some cushioning. I have seen the Umiak/Carolina 12 and my personal opinion is that the EPI Sea provides much more thigh contact and generally is a much more nimble boat. When they lean, for example, the boat jumps to that next chine fast and provides ample secondary stability. I have heard some criticims about the EPI Sea that it can freak kids out because it is not a “stable” boat, but relative to their size and the fact they have no comparison (except for my barge), I think the boat is an ideal kids starter boat. It is truly a small persons sea kayak. I found it difficult to find and wound up purchasing from GRO in Maine (I live in Seattle!). I also got the kids “Gremlin” by Lendall - a real nice kids paddle that definitely forces them into a high stroke.

EPI & Flipper
EPI Sea measures 14’x20", 10.5" Hull-Top of back coaming, 13" Hull to top of front coaming. 13.5"x26" cockpit opening.

Prijon Flipper is a wonderful little boat for smaller tykes. 9.5’ x 20" x 11.5" (hull - top of front coaming ) and weighs 20lbs. in thermoformed plastic. Simple ladder style footpegs and Dad’s you’re not going to be able to take the kid’s boat to the pool sessions for yourself, 13.5"x23" cockpit opening w/ 12" wide seat. Uses a large float bag in the back and a smaller one in front of the footpegs for safety. Drain plug on the back is handy as kids are seldom dry. Reminiscent of an older style whitewater boat but with a little more vee to the bow for tracking.

See you on the water,


Cobra Wave?
I ran accross an interesting SOT that looked like it would be a good kids boat. Cobra make a copy of the Wave Witch with an underhull rudder for surfing. This is the same boat with a skeg instead of the rudder. It is 10’5"x22.5"x36 lbs. I have been considering getting a pair for my grandsons.