I’m looking for suggestions for a kayak for my son. We will be attending a demo in June, and I’m trying to get an idea of what boats he should try at the demo. My son has been paddling a short recreational boat in protected waters for a few years, and wants to be able to paddle with me on the Great Lakes. His paddling skills are pretty basic, but he wants to learn more. He is 13 years old, 5’8”, 125 lbs and has size 12 feet. I’m looking for a boat that he won’t grow out of in a few years, but won’t be too much for him to handle right away. Any suggestions?
I just got my Cayuga 146 by Old Town. It is light enough for him to lift at 50 lbs. Very stable and very fast. It glides and glides with just a few strokes. I took mine on some pretty rough water first time out and it inspired me to seek even rougher water. This thing can handle about anything you could throw at it, lake or ocean. I would NOT recommend it to paddle creeks or small rivers. The comfort level is in a class of it’s own. Absolutely the best seating in the kayak world. Lots of storage space. (Always better to let the younger, lighter paddlers carry the gear, right?) Cost is about 10 percent lower than competing brands and styles. He will never outgrow it. At least try one before you buy anything else.
So he should grow
about 8 inches in the next 7 months.
I would pick up a used Necky Eskia from last year’s rental fleet.
Not too expensive, yet good for those of us with big feet and long legs.
So he's got adult height and shoe size, but is light, so doesn't need much volume or beam. For the Great Lakes you want something with fore & aft bulkheads. Hmmm....balancing low volume and foot room might be a trick.
In plastic, the first boats that come to mind are the Avocet RM, Tempest 165, Chatham 16, and Capella 160. Stability shouldn't be a problem at his weight after a little seat time, and they certainly won't get in the way of developing skills. The Avocet and Tempest will probably be the easiest to find used.
Don't forget that he'll probably need a new paddle when going to a significantly narrower boat. or maybe his growth will make up for it...
If your budget goes to composite -- or used composite -- there are more choices.
Thanks for the info. I didn’t mention a budget, but you guessed right in that I am looking for a used plastic boat.
I see that the shop putting on the demo has a used perception avatar for sale. Does anyone have any experience with this boat?