Tandem w/ 6 year old - purchase help

-- Last Updated: Aug-02-11 4:28 PM EST --

My husband and I have been looking at and researching kayaks for about a year and half now. We've done demo days a few times to make sure we tried out a lot of different kayaks before making a purchase.

Recently, we bit the bullet and bought 3 kayaks. A Dagger Axis 10.5 for the 14-year-old, a Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 for hubby, and a Feel Free Corona SOT for myself and the 6-year-old. I was also high on the Wilderness Pamlico 135T before I was convinced to try the Corona. I tried it out on a calm river/pond and had no problem handing it myself. (I'm 5'2", 120 pds and in good shape...run 5Ks, play hockey, etc...) We took it out on Sunday morning on a medium size inland lake that had a little chop and 10 mph winds and it was like pushing a barge. I couldn't keep the darn thing straight because of all the wind push. Part of the sales pitch was how great it would be on small lakes and even a bit a waves along the shoreline of Lake Huron. I made my husband switch with me half way through the outing and he hated it.

So, I am willing to give it try again on rivers and flat water, but he is convinced we need to return it for something else. Would sitting in the single kayaker position help? If not, any suggestions other than the Wilderness Pamlico 135T? What about the Jackson Daytripper 12? I realize that I'd be moving to a sit-in with both of those and water removal would be a pain, but I want something stable AND easy to paddle in even a little bit of chop. The six-year-old does very little paddling.

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you ahead of time.

I should add that hubby ditching the Native and paddling with me and the 6-year-old is highly unlikely. He would like to be able to fish when just the two of us go out. I would use the Dagger.

Because the kids grow fast. The pamlico would be fine. Your going to have this problem regardless because your in a big boat and your small and the other paddler doesn’t paddle. A rudder would be very nice. I would imagine a boat that you could move the stern seat foward to center yourself would be required. I think the pamlico does this.

As far a safety goes the sit in becomes problematic because of self rescue but if you are always paddling with your family and wear pfds, you should be fine.

Good luck,

Ryan L.

Tandem rudder makes a huge difference
If you’re going to be the only person paddling a tandem, a rudder will make a huge difference. Also, the Corona is NOT a good tandem to paddle solo. It really is a barge, and extremely heavy for its length (80 lbs.) You would do much better in a lighter sit-in like a Pamlico. Just make sure you install fixed flotation bags if you’re going to be paddling with a young child.

Also, practice rescues with your husband (capsizing, emptying it and getting you and your child back in) in protected water so you’ll know what to do if it happens in less than ideal conditions.

Another safety measure when paddling with children is to invest in good, well-fitting paddling lifejackets for everyone and wear them properly adjusted so they don’t come off when you need them most.

Hubby needs to be paddling the 6 YO
You are a not very big, even if fit, a 32 inch wide 14’ tandem is too big for you to be paddling by yourself. Have Hubby paddle the 6 year old and get yourself a smaller boat.

Can paddle 135T solo

– Last Updated: Aug-03-11 10:06 AM EST –

I have no trouble paddling a Pamlico 135T myself on flat water. My wife and I go tandem but 90% of the time I do the paddling. I haven't done much paddling in the wind but did do a couple miles against a wind last week and it was more effort but do-able.

Yes, the bigger, stronger paddler should paddle the bigger boat with the extra load/kid.

I also think you’d be better off with a canoe than a kayak for paddling with a 6 year old. People seem to have a hangup against canoes these days. Oh well.

Double Outrigger is the Way to Go
Use to have a lot of fun paddling a two-man outrigger canoe with kids 4 through teens. Sat the 5 year old up front with a Sawyer toddler’s paddle wearing a Mustang PFD, and when the child fell out, no problem, just hauled them in at the collar handle when they floated to the back seat. Beginning at age 7, switched them to Gillepsie bent shaft kid’s paddles, and by age 11 or 12, they are ready to paddle their own boat.