Small kayak for 12 year old son

About a year ago I started to kayak. I have a couple of boats and the smallest boat is a Necky Spike which I allow my 12 year old son who is under 80 pounds to paddle. the advice by other respected and experienced paddlers is that he is not heavy enough for this boat and tracking is challenging for him. I offered to purchase a “surf style” kayak which seems to work well for him when he has tried them, but his heart is to have a sit inside traditional so that he can also learn to roll, brace and paddle along with his Ol’ man on outings.

Are there any commercially produced boats for his size? Something like a Chatham 16 in a 12 to 13 size and narow?

Regards to all.


Wilderness Systems makes(made?)
a child size kayak that my very inexperienced 8 year old handled very well.Tsunami SP.It was still large for him.

A few options
You’ve got a few options in the < 100 lbs. arena. Having goals of using the kid-sized kayak as a “true” sea kayak slim the list down a bit further.

I’ve got a short-list here:

Of these, I’d look specifically at the CD Raven and the W/S boats (if you can find them used).

As you’ll read on that page- I took the route of building my daughter a kayak. She much smaller than your son (by half) - but, it’s been an extremely fun adventure so far.

Tsunami SP


Perception Carolina 12 junior
if you think it might work, I can get get you a freat deal on the one that has been sitting in our store here in Illinois.

Consider making one
Tom Yost design - Sea Pup for paddlers 75-140 lbs. It might be a fun project for the two of you.

build option

How does his size affect tracking?
Is it because not enough of the keel of the boat is in the water to keep the boat going straight? I’m just curious.

If weight is the problem, you might want to consider just adding some ballast to a boat you already have. If he is 12 years old, he won’t be weighing 80 pounds for much longer, so you might end up buying a boat that never gets used.

another option …
hi …have you considered having him try boats designed for women? they claim to be typically smaller for smaller, lighter framed female paddlers. I have to agree with one poster that at 12 y.o. , he’s liable to hit a growth spurt and outgrow a boat very fast.

or this …

or Dagger specter 14 or Eddyline Merlin LT

Tsunami 135’s
Bought a couple for my almost 12 year old twins last April. Here’s some pics of their 1st day befor adjusting them. Low profile (women’s models) they have had no problems paddling them and have room to grow. I wasn’t happy with the design of the thigh pads on the SP. They tended to grab too tight. Would be great for an adult but I had hesitations for a kid.

I suggest
the Wilderness Systems Tsunami SP. Its a true sea kayak for petite people Fully outfitted with shock cords, bungees, bow and stern hatches. 12’ X 21"

Wilderness Systems Piccolo
Well respected little person’s boat.

Don’t think they are made anymore, but used ones are out there.

What about building a skin-on-frame.

12 year old boys don’t stay 80 pounds for long.

CD raven
Look under specialty kayaks on the CD website.

I’m not sure if it has been …
…mentioned, but another possibility might be a WS Tchaica. I don’t know where you are geographically, but there is a nice one in Traverse City, MI. I believe it is 14’ and rated for 150 pounds max.

Prijon Capri

kids boat
My daughter has both the Carolina and Tsunami Sp, and she prefers the Tsunami. The back band, thigh braces, bulk heads, swimmer lines, seat bottom, front and rear hatches, and retractable toggles seem make the Tsunami better overall. However, the CD Raven is really nice. Tsunami SP, for the extra money CD Raven.


kayak pro/ pyranha Lightning
my son, 11, is paddling it - absolute blast. he loves it -

definitely a bit more “flat water” but the kids love it cause its so efficient -

give grayson a call at kayak pro if you are interested.

Here…Carolina Junior…,1040P_Perception-Carolina-120-XS-Junior-Touring-Kayak.html

Get their emails and take another 10% off…once in awhile they send out 15% off coupons…add $125. for shipping to your door. Good company.