Small tandem for 2 preteens?

I think I may go a different route to try to keep all my family out on the water.

I’d like to get a canoe for my 11 year old daughter. She is very petite, about 80 lbs. She would like a boat that she can also take a friend in. Any suggestions? Any opinions on the new Nova Craft Trapper, set up tandem for kids?

Wenonah Solo Plus?
Or Clipper Solo Plus, or Bluewater Peterborough?

The ultimate choice might be a Colden Starfire set up tandem. I just saw one in stock at Colden canoe. The first suggestion might be too wide for fun paddling.


Our experience raising 3 boys
went something like this: At about 9 years old they could handle either an old 13 foot ww kayak or 10.5 foot wee lassie quite easily solo with a kayak paddle as long as the wind didnt blow. Tandem, we had great luck with a 13’ mad river compatriot set up with tandem seats. Thats good for a couple up to 200 pounds total. The new Nova Craft Teddy looks too wide to me. Two little kids have a much lower center of gravity than a man of equal weight. and much less reach.

All too large for the girl and a friend.
It might be better to fit a solo canoe as a tandem. For example, my 14’ 6", 30 inch wide Mad River Guide would make a good young teen tandem.

Another approach is to get used SOT kayaks, or sit-in kayaks. Then the daughter can kayak along if no friend is available, or can “teach” a friend to kayak.

I still like my choices
My thinking is that they will be growing into any boat pretty fast, so buying one that will only be used for a season or two doesn’t make sense.

I’ve seen 11 year olds do OK in Grummans, so the Bluewater Peterborough should work very nicely. Put another way, an adult can handle a 22’ canoe with a partner, which likely has proportionately more volume relative to paddler weight.

The solo idea is a good one, in that then the canoe could become a solo boat when the girls grow up.

Any particular leaning toward whitewater or flatwater? I loved my MR Guide, but I wouldn’t want that to be my lake tripping canoe, for example. Likewise the Bell Magic isn’t much good in whitewater.

Starfire ?

– Last Updated: May-21-12 1:26 AM EST –

Surely you jest..........

In my opinion; an 11 year old, 80 pound, beginning canoer, paddling solo, or tandem with a similiarly aged/sized/skilled friend has no need whatsoever for a 15 foot, $3,000.00 canoe.

Might want to think used canoe, and not too expensive; until such time as your daughter decides whether canoeing is just a passing fancy.


Mohawk Solo 14
set up as tandem. But an eleven year old is getting pretty big for that. That boat is more in the realm of five to nine year olds tandem.

Its not about the weight at all. You can always add ballast.

Its about the height and reach. Other small tandems like the Mattawa work too. I have several adult paddling friends who do freestyle and who are not much more sizeable than your daughter.

Starfire WOULD Be Perfect

– Last Updated: May-21-12 8:19 AM EST –

But, as a Starfire owner, that would be akin to buying a 16 year old a Ferrari! I think that Old town might be something to look at, if you can find one. That Mohawk Solo 14 set up tandem sounds like an interesting idea. You have some twisty streams in Nebraska, I think the Wenonah Solo Plus would be easy to start in, but as they became better paddlers they would want more maneuverability. MY personal suggestion would be a Mad River, or if you can find an older used one, Dagger Reflection 15.

kayak will shine here

– Last Updated: May-21-12 9:54 AM EST –

I have young kids, 7, 10, and 11. Very few canoes on the used market that a smaller kid can handle. My 10 year old daughter is rather large and she paddles a 13ft sawyer starlight. My 11 year old son who is lean/mean and about 90lbs paddles a 10ft kids acadia scout kayak.

As someone told me you want the kid to be succesful with what he/she paddles. If it is a chore and they can't keep up then you may drive them away from paddling.

A possibility from the classifieds here and listed on CL,


Solo Plus
They come up used occasionally. Nice fit for smaller tandems or a large solo paddler.

Here’s a little more info…
Thanks everyone for the discussion. Here is a little more info on the situation.

We live in central Nebraska, in the canoe free zone! We searched high and low when we bought our last canoe, the used market is non-existant here. It’s at least a 6 hour drive to get into any canoe market area. Unfortunately, this probably has to be a new purchase.

This would be flatwater only. Occasionaly some twisty, braided, shallow river use. She has absolutely no interest in a kayak. She likes the idea of a canoe that she could solo, or take a friend along. I like the idea of a canoe that I could also solo, since I really can’t do that in our Eveningstar. I’d like to keep the budget at about $1500 or less. This all led me to the Nova Craft Teddy, or Trapper. I guess what you call it just depends on the seat arrangement. I suppose I could kneel in it, if I wanted to solo it. I don’t see them for sale on any of the US websites yet though. It does seem wide, it must narrow quite a bit at the stern and bow seats.