SOT for Kids?

looking to buy a kayak for my 8 year old. I can’t decide whether to get her a SOT or a sit in. I worry about her getting out of a sit in if it rolled.

What does everyone think?

If you’re going to worry, a SOT like the Ocean Kayak Kea will be easier on you. kids can use it like a giant pool toy, and you never have to worry about emptying it.

On the other hand, if you don’t use a skirt the chance of entrapment in something like an Acadia Scout is very small. If she’s comfortable in the water capsizing will be a game.

Another consideration is your goal: do you want her to be learning paddling skills, or just having fun on the water? A SINK will usually be narrower and faster than a SOT.

Some like it some don’t
Try before you buy.

I would go with the Kea and see if she enjoys it.

I have two sons, one I have paddled with all over the western us, many spots on California Coast, Hawaii, New Zealand … my other son has spent maybe 1 hour in a kayak and has no interest.

8 yr. old grandson has a Kea and he
loves it. He also has a Werner kids paddle which is light and just his size.

what’s the goal?
If your goal is to introduce her to paddling then consider a sit inside. They’re narrower, and a kid is going to have a hard enough time learning a proper stroke without the extreme width of a sit on top.

What Are You Comfortable With?

– Last Updated: Apr-09-10 7:44 AM EST –

what type of skills do you have, e.g. assisted and self rescue, rolling, etc. You're going to be the one with the child most out there. If you have skills with a SINK, go for it. If you don't, you and the child may be better with the SOT.

For a child, paddling should be about fun and not necessarily about "skills" (though developing skills can be fun if it is done in the right way). Nothing wrong with grabbing a sit on top and just mucking around on a warm pond or lake on a hot summer day. You kid will just enjoy spending time with you (not how many miles you're gonna rack "paddling.")


PS. There are narrower SOTs built specifically for kids and smaller paddlers. Check out database.

kids kayak

– Last Updated: Apr-11-10 5:23 PM EST –

Absolutely don't buy an adult type boat that's merely shorter. The Kea looks really poor for an 8 yr old and here's why: Kids are weak. They've got no muscle power. Therefore, they need as minimal wetted surface area (think resistance) as possible. Why? so that they can at least go somewhat fast in the kayak. A friend of mine bought a "kea-like" SOT for his 8 yr old. The poor kid couldn't sink it enough to make it track straight, so with every stroke the boat turned about 45 degrees. Plus, the size of the bow wave, the wetted resistance made it no fun for him to paddle.

For an 8 yr old, you've got two good choices, both from EPI - Englehart Products Inc, located in Ohio. The Epibrat is a SOT trimaran that's stable, fast, and tracks well. My son is 8 and has one and moves it well. He used to have the smaller epitot which is great for 5-8 yr olds, but at 60 lbs, he sinks it too much. The other choice is their sit inside small sea kayak called the episea. It's narrow, stable, and fast.

Do a Youtube search for "epitot" and you'll see what great boats they are for kids. The boat in that video is the smaller epitot. Phone them directly to order. Prices are about 200-450 USD.

If they can't go fast, i.e. 3-5 mph with relatively little effort, then they'll hate it. The EPI boats work well. They're super inexpensive, too. Also get a kid specific paddle that's got a small blade and small dia shaft. Length 180-190 or so.

Actually Keas get good reviews from kids
Don’t compare boats that aren’t the same a Kea-like SOT is not the same thing.

Problem is OK does not make them any more.

I’ve seen kids in a Cobra Wavewitch having a good time. They don’t make them any more either but you could by a Witchlet from Hunt Johnson.

Wow the above post reads like an ad?
Wonder if the poster has any connection with this company.

Must be well-liked
I occasionally search for a used one to buy. Have yet to find even one ad! People must be handing them down to other kids.

Even though OK discontinued them, doesn’t the company that now makes what is basically the Scupper Pro and other old OK models include a version of the Kea?

Cobra Witch – Back In Production.

Looks pretty cool.


If You Ever See A OK Venus…
I see a a petite woman who paddles one quite well near a rocky reef fishing spot that I frequent. Seen her mosying around, up and down the swells, quite a few times out there.



– Last Updated: Apr-12-10 1:33 PM EST –

I just sold one kayak, another one's coming in this summer, going to sell the S&G that I never warmed up to...and now you show me THAT! It's a 2.5-day drive to Corpus Christi and Padre Island NS, which is just close enough (yeah, right) that I'd be tempted to go every winter. Especially since that thing is light and short enough it'd be easy to rooftop.

It's not the kayaks that are expensive. It's the long-distance travel. OTOH, it sure was great to escape the winter here for 5 weeks. My husband is turning into a kayak widow.

Thanks to you, Sing, the Boat Slut Extraordinaire!