thoughts on perception dancer?

I’m looking at an XS model for my son. It will mostly be used in flat water. Can anyone give me some info on stability and what $ it should go for used?

Any info appreciated.


Great learning boat
It will be difficult to paddle straight at first and is an easy boat to learn to roll. Great for developing an efficient, even stroke. Should go for less than $100

too unstable?
Should I avoid this kayak if it is for a child and would be his first boat? I was looking for something smaller and stable. Since this is an old WW boat maybe it is too easy to roll.

I wouldn’t trust it! Just my opinion but
these old boats had a weak spot and though they were the most popular whitewater kayak in the world (a very long time ago)they had a tendency to fold at the cockpit area and though it’s not talked about much, quite a few people died in this boat by entrapment. Considering the age of the boat and the plastics used at the time I would only delegate a Dancer to pool duty. You can still buy them new in the U.K. but they haven’t been produced in the U.S. for years.

How old is the child?
When my son was 10 he paddled an Umiak. He never got to the point of rolling but could wet exit and reenter. Never rolled it unintentionally though.

Not good in flooded waters, whirl pools, etc.

Not too bad on calm lakes.

Hated it.

There are thousands of boats much better for anything.


under $100?
The only use this little boat will get is on the weekends when the kids are at the lake and want to paddle around the area. It will never see class II. The kayak does not look too UV faded but it has been ‘used’.

If there are other kayaks out there that are better and as inexpensive, please point me in that direction.

Thanks for all the input!

Actually I just got a Dancer

– Last Updated: Nov-19-05 6:23 PM EST –

for $60. It is a great training boat for less than $100. I would not spend too much more unless the plastic is pristine and even then, not more than $150. For use on lakes or learning to roll, it is a way to get started cheaply. Other old school ww boats that could work are a Dagger Crossfire ( great plastic, very durable,), Dagger Animas, Piedra... Actually, if you post something on a local whitewater board, someone may give you and old school kayak for free.

good to go for what you state is the intended use.

Dancers DID NOT have a tendency for folding any more than any other boats in this vintage. The regular dancer was extremely popular for a number of years. the XS was so/so. to hard of edges and lack of rocker.

should be fine for -$100


I became a perception dealer the year after the dancer was introduced. sold a boatload of 'em.



Not a good choice, even for < $100
The Eric Jackson fun series, for example, is light years better, even in flat water. Granted they cost more, but they have excellent resell value. You would end up paying only somewhat more, net, than what a Dancer would cost.

How would a spud boat

– Last Updated: Nov-19-05 7:05 PM EST –

be better for flat water? Wouldn't the bow push more water and the shorter length be slower? Yes there are better boats like a WS Piccolo or an EPI or an Umiak for flat water. , but they are hard to find and more expensive. And when you think about it, some of these old school kayaks are really pretty versatile, especially to get usable boat, cheap. For serious white water, definately get a Jackson. But for a child starting out, an old scholl ww makes more sense than Swifty or Pungo type boat where the child is holding the paddle by his chin just to clear the cockpit coaming.

Why it would be better
The Jackson will be slower. No doubt about that. The Jackson boats are generally slower than several other current WW boats. Both will be a learning experience in trying to make them go straight. But the Dancer will be harder and more frustrating. Both will have a tendency to turn but the Dancer will be much harder to correct. I assure you, it is much more frustrating to a young person to be unable to control where the boat goes than to be slower than the other paddlers. Finally, the Jackson will be more stable, which generates confidence and fun. So, Dancer 1, Fun 2 and the Dancer 1 is less important than either of the 2 for the Fun.

See your points
but I think one would lose more than $100 selling a second hand kayak.

I respect your opinion …but
You are not the only one to sell truckloads of this boat. The extreem high numbers of this boat on the market probably contributed to a large number of accident reports involving the Dancer…But I’ve seen several of these boats folded and if you look at one it’s easy to see why and where they fold. I would never trust an old one.

And even today you can see that they are rated for ONLY class III water at most.

Saw lots of Dancers in UK this summer
They appeared to be the weapon of joice for surfing there. No thanks.

And yet none of them were folded in half :slight_smile:

A dancer is ok
for flatwater. I use them most of the time when paddling in flat water. I’ve even used a dancer on short expeditions along the coastline.

I am 1.7m/5’6" tall and weigh in at abt 55kg/121 pounds. Im just a small guy.

I dont think there is any problem with stability unless your son is severly overweight.

Had this friend who was almost 100kg and had some trouble keeping the boat steady.

The rounded hull shape gives it good initial stability so it wont be tippy in calm waters.

Going straight might be hard at first and he’ll probably be spinning around. But of course, practice makes perfect.

tho I’d bet
it’s even harder to go straight in a EJFun.

let’s see old school ww boat with little rocker vs new school play boat with tons.

I did a 6-day self container trip in one once. Hardcore Class II and III. oooowwww.

what coast exploring did you do?


You misunderstand the argument
Going straight has two components. One is the tendency to turn in the first place. Two is what is required to correct the turning. For an inexperienced paddler, a Fun is somewhat more likely to start to turn than a Dancer. But the Fun can be corrected with a slight modification of the forward stroke. The Dancer will have a will of its own and will often require a stern draw. A Fun is easy to paddle straight with a little practice and help. A Dancer requires more. Both of these tendencies are exaggerated if there is current (slow moving river is both current and flatwater).


– Last Updated: Nov-21-05 12:13 PM EST –

If the guy was looking for a boat for WW, this advice might make sense. You'd lose more in value than $100 for any current boat if you resell it.

A $100 boat in good condition is "free". And it looks like you could easily sell it for $50.