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Old 09-15-2008   #1
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 116
Advice for Kids Kayaks

My son is 5 and is really itching to get into a kayak (and I'll admit I am itching to get him in one as well). I have let him paddle around my Riot Prankster on the lake, and he enjoys the hell out of it and handles it very well even though the boat is way too big for him (and me). Up until recently, I figured the Jackson Fun 1 was the only boat that would fit him at this age, but a little research has revealed that LL makes the Remix 47 and Fluid makes a small Spice. Does anybody have any experience with their kids in any of these boats? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-15-2008   #2
youngpaddler06's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 173
it seems jackson is really striving to get kids into kayaking so my guess is they would have the best kids boat. but im not sure on that... i have never padled one or talked to someone who has.

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Old 09-16-2008   #3
Bethesda, Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 30
Kids Kayaks

I have two Fun1s, for my 7 year old and my 4 year old. They love it and beg me to go kayaking. There are some definite tricks to making it fun for them. The Fun 1 is the only boat for kids under 55 lbs. (except for the puddle jumper) The biggest problem with other kids boats is not the volume but the sizing of the outfitting ...knee braces etc. We have paddled them all. Once your kid is 50 inches and 60 lbs. you have a lot of good choices depending on your philosophy. Remix 47, Diablo, Small Spice, Fuse, Fun 1.5. I really recommend that you stay away from the low volume adult boats. They don't learn how to lean properly. We may move into the Remix next summer...not sure what to do, to many choices in kids boats, who would have thunk it.

A good paddle is also very important, we use Gala Sport for paddles bigger then 170cm and and Bending Branches Minnow for a small paddle 150cm, they are cheaper and they are pretty nice.
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Old 09-16-2008   #4
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
My kids love their Fun 1. They are 4 and 6 years old and both of them paddled parts of the Animas at low water and Ruby/HT this summer. Don't use a spray skirt at first because kids that young likely don't have the mental toughness to remember to pull when panicked. I might introduce the spray skirt this off season in the pool to my oldest daughter with close supervision. The other kid boats seem too big for them right now.
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Old 09-16-2008   #5
possumturd's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 451
I started my girl in a Fun 1.5 then quickly moved to a remix. Good advice on the spray skirt. My girl worked in the pool pulling the skirt and had it down pat before she ever moved to the river. Always use a bungie cord loose fitting skirt.

She started out with goggles on to help with comfort. I would turn her upside down in the boat and wave at her while she just hung out upside down. We used to play games to see how long she could stay in the thing upside down. once she got bored with that we removed the goggles.

Moved to the river and things were going good and then I blew it. I let her get beat down on widow maker in Boulder creek. Lost her for a full year. She is 11 now and came back with the Remix 47 and that is a much better boat for her.

Boys are different than woman as we all know when it comes to this sport. So your kid maybe fine after a set back. But the more setbacks you avoid the faster the progress.
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Old 09-16-2008   #6
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2
Kayaks, sprayskirts and paddles for kids

I've got a 9 year old daughter who started this year in a Fun 1.5. She loves it and the boat seems to work well for her. We paddled around the ponds for a while and she's done a couple days on rivers and is psyched for more.

The last couple posters had good advice about spray skirts. The spray skirt has been a problem for us. Her boat came with a skirt that is the correct size and would be great...except she has a really tough time getting it off. So, we've been paddling w/o a skirt, which has meant paddling a boat full of water after some larger waves. I need to find a larger skirt that is looser and easier to pull and then we need to go practice in a pool with goggles like possumturd did with his kid.

I have another question for folks reading this thread. Does anyone know a good way to size kids paddles? I've got my 9 year old paddling a 180 cm Jackson kid's paddle, which worked great for her this year. She's about 4 1/2 ft tall and 70 to 75 lbs. However, according to the way they size paddles (measuring from pinkie to pinkie when the child is gripping the paddle), she is the max size for that paddle. Now my 7 year old wants to paddle next summer and I just found a used Fun 1 for her. I'm wondering if I should buy the 9 year old a bigger paddle and pass the 180 cm one down to the 7 year old, but I don't know how big or which one. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-16-2008   #7
Bethesda, Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 30
Skirts and paddles

I have built up the outside of the cockpit rim with duct tape just under the grabloop about 6 in. wide. This allowed her (7yr old) to use a tighter fitting skirt, but it comes off real ez with a little pull. It still keeps water out. She used to use a super loose bungee skirt, but it just always poped off. I got the idea from a guy I saw who filled in the front of the rim with several beads of caulk.

Just get a paddle that is 5-10 cm bigger and keep passing them down until you sell them. They are super easy to sell for a good price.
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Old 09-16-2008   #8
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 116
Thank You

Thanks to all who have submitted their comments. Sounds like the Jackson is the way to go for the kayak. I am actually very sad to hear that, as their customer service leaves much to be desired, and I have not liked any of their boats I have tried.

I would never put my son in with a skirt as he lacks the fight instinct at this point, but thanks for making that clear as some people are not smart enough to figure that out on their own.

If anybody has any more tips for pre-river training, they would be much appreciated. Obviously he is going to spend a year or two in the lake/pool, but some innovative ideas about how to get him ready for the river would be great.

Thanks again!!!!
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Old 09-17-2008   #9
most weekends up on the payettes, Idaho
Paddling Since: 83
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 61
Also consider a duckie. I started my 10 year old out in a self bailing duckie. Had him kneel in it like a canoe. Otherwise he couldn't reach over the tubes.
Had him paddleing easy class III the first summer or more importantly had him learning to swim easy no consequese class III the first summer. In the beginning I'd paddle in the duckie with him and tell him we are going to swim this rapid so we'd be prepared etc.

be sure to pick nice warm days. have plenty to eat and drink and figure on spending no more than an hour or so on the river.

Doesn't matter it they learn to boat at 5 or at 10 by the time they are teenagers they'l be kicking your arse.

Pic of my son on payette many years ago.
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Old 09-17-2008   #10
Bethesda, Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 30
Take it easy

The only reason to kayak with your kid at 6 years old is for them to have fun. Dont think if you start them out at 5, they will be shredding it up at 9. When I go with my girls (5 & we spend more time climbing on rocks and wading around with a fish net then in the kayak. However, my eight year old can now ferry and peel out like a champ.

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