Looking for kayak for my kids, age 8.5

Hi Everybody,

I did a search and the newest thread I could find was 2015, so creating a new one. I apologize if my search skills are lacking…

I have 8.5 year old twins. Not much experience. We’ve had 2 lifetime wave kayaks that have served us well. one of them took to the paddling process very quickly, the other more hesitant. Both want boats “like mom and dad”. We have sit inside’s, but I’m wondering if some SOT’s would be more appropriate for them.

We only do flatwater right now and eventually will move to very slow moving rivers. I live about 90 miles from Sacramento and have gone there to purchase used before.

I’d like to keep each kayak under $400 since I’m a cheap SOB who is willing to spend more once they get ‘into’ it. Right now, it’s not yet an activity they beg to go do. I think the main reason is that, on the lifetime waves, they get wet even when they don’t want to.

Anyway, looking for some parameters, maybe some model suggestions, ways to guide my CL searches for used, etc.

Thank you!

If you can find Wilderness System Picollo’s. Buy them. They are no longer made, but are execelent boats for kids and small adults. They are about 14’ feet long X 20.5". I have two of them and the grandkids have taken to them easily. I will post a video shortly of my granddaughter paddling one of them. She was 7.

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That looks great. Seems they were last made 10 years ago and the Tsunami SP replaced it. Thank you!

Are they good swimmers? Are they comfortable in the water? Assuming they are you are on the right track. I teach kids to ride. They start to be able to take instruction about the age of 8 or so. A used SOT might be best to start with. Then later you can get them a cockpit boat. Consider a double, and they will have more horsepower.

good questions. they are excellent swimmers (swim team and such). Very comfortable in the water.

Both of them in a double SOT is a cool idea. 1 less boat to transport. I could be entertained by their having to coordinate (I have one super bossy one).

And it will teach them patience. Or improve their fighting skills.

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something like this?


gets ok-ish reviews on paddling.com

And, if you can find some, the Tsunami SP is also a great choice. the West Michigan Coastal Kayakers (WMCKA) have a fleet of them for their kids program.

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If they want a solo, a kids surfski would be a fun boat, and cheap considering it was north of $1k new. Easy to remount. No entrapment problems if you fall out. good in waves (or the flat)

The Tsunami SP is indeed a great boat, but unfortunately discontinued as well. They do show up now and then though. I was just out yesterday with my 5 year old in his. He’s a little small for it, but he does fine and loves the independence it gives him. Your 8.5 year olds would be a good fit.

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A 5 yo in his own kayak is a gung ho kid. Excellent. Can he do a wet exit?

Thoughts on a Jackson Mini Tripper?

It’s an upgrade from what you have. Price isn’t bad either & you can probably resell it down the road if/when it is out grown. Note the flotation concerns in this review:


I wasn’t familiar with the Mini Tripper, but after reading up on it, it looks like it might be a good choice for you. Jackson kayaks are typically very well made, and if you get it for $200-$250, you could probably use it for a few years and get most or all of your money back out of it.

Looks like he’s going to take 225. I’ll pick it up tomorrow.

Now to get 1 more boat…

I’d like to echo the suggestion of the WS Piccolo. A wonderful boat for both kids and smaller adults. Not too heavy, easy to load, not only forgiving to newbies, but surprisingly capable in the hands of a more experienced paddler. We bought one as a high school graduation present for our older daughter back around ‘96 and it "took a lickin’ and kept on ticking!" (That just dated me!) There was also a similar composite model (not by the same name, however,) but you wouldn’t find one of those in your price range. After all these years, a Piccolo should come in at or under your $400 pretty easily.