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Old 11-12-2015   #1
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 138
Gear advice for my son


My son has gotten into kayaking in the last year or so. He has taken some roll lessons and done some river paddling. He has expressed a desire to take the leap and start doing some whitewater (I have a whitewater raft setup, we have done whitewater in that since he was tiny). I have figured out when/where to get him pool sessions and lessons to get the roll down solid, but with Christmas coming up it is time for some gear. I lucked into a crazy good buy on a dagger mamba 8.0 (2010 model, but was virtually unused) He is on the small side for it (14 yrs old, 5'7'' and about 145#) but it seemed silly to pass up the deal I got and get him something he would outgrow in another year. Now I just need a paddle and skirt. Looking at a Werner Rio 194 cm for the paddle, is that workable? I have no clue about the skirt. Dagger says size for that kayak is a 1.4 (whatever that means) and I imagine the tunnel size will be sm or med. (we will go to a local shop most likely to get correct fit). Thoughts?

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Old 11-12-2015   #2
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 316
The mamba 8.0 is an awesome boat and won't be too big for him. I am 5'4" 135 and found the 7.5 on the small side. Definitely the Rio will be fine for an intro paddle. As far as skirts most companies have list where you can look up the size for the boat.

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Old 11-13-2015   #3
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 149 will tell you the proper deck size. I had a mamba 8.0. Great boat. Small may be too small medium may be too big. Best to buy somewhere you can exchange or at least go in with an accurate waist measurement with a bit of room to grow at that age.

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Old 12-04-2015   #4
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 36
The rio is what I used for my first whitewater paddle and it really performs for its price. As for skirt, the cockpit size for a mamba is typically a large and sometimes a medium will work, where the tunnel size for a kid of that size will likely be a small to medium. Wild Wasser is slightly cheaper than many brands, but does really well

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Old 12-04-2015   #5
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 138
Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-04-2015   #6
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
Idaho is cold. If he sticks with it at all you will be in for a drytop. Might check bommbergear for christmas closeouts.

Already on your list:

Other essentials:
float bags
Decent kayak specific PFD
Helmet, not matter the grade
throw bag
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Old 12-04-2015   #7
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
Keeping your son warm and comfortable while paddling (and swimming) will really help increase the fun value and help him enjoy kayaking more months than July/Aug. A drytop (latex neck gasket) or semi-dry paddle/splash jacket (neoprene neck gasket) is an excellent investment. I started my kids out using farmer john style NRS wetsuits with either a fleece top or a neoprene top under the top. I liked the wetsuits as they had padded knees, good knee protection for lower volume small rivers.

Bomber Gear has a few close-outs left at good prices (Bomber Gear), especially their skirts. good prices on skirts. A medium tunnel BG skirt is slightly big on my son who weighs 125. Bungee rand skirts are usually easier to put on/pull off than rubber rand skirts.

Immersion Research (Welcome to Immersion Research) has some great deals on close-outs (see End of Season Sale), especially for paddle jackets and semi-drytops.

Keep an eye on ebay for some cheap "off-season" prices on NRS wetsuits.
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Old 12-04-2015   #8
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 138
Quite a bit of the gear we have already, some of it from rafting. I definitely need a new dry top for him, his old one is too small. He has a throw bag and a helmet. I have a stolquist brik pfd on order, his current vest is a rafting vest. He has neoprene water shoes that he wore rafting this year that should still fit, will that work for the booties? The float bags I still need to get... I am waiting on the skirt till after Christmas. I got the paddle already, went with the werner Rio that I mentioned. He has nose plugs that he used for the roll classes he has already done. Sounds like we will have it covered (for a start anyway...I am still buying rafting gear after years of doing know we aren't "done"

Thanks all!

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Old 01-17-2016   #9
tennessee, Tennessee
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 5
dagger mamba 8.1 should be good enough for whitewater, they have videos on their YouTube channel. check their white water kayaking.

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