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Old 01-03-2011   #1
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Kayaks for kids?

My son is going to turn 8 years old this March and I am about to finish my pool in the backyard. With permits lined up for this year, my wife and I decided to get our boy into kayaking. So he'd be learning to roll in our backyard and hit the rivers by summer.

I am 100% rafter and don't know much about kayaking. So my question is what boat should I start him with? He is a small dude, only weighs 40 pounds and 48 inches tall. He has a good understanding of rivers and rowed my raft through Yampa and Deso class 1-2s.

Thanks for the help

PS: I did a search on the forum, but couldn't find any related topics on kids boats.

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Old 01-03-2011   #2
Kayak/SUP Instructor
Theophilus's Avatar
The High Ground, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,325
It sounds like he will be on bigger water and overnighters. Check out the Remix 47 by Liquid Logic. Easy to roll, has speed from length for longer trips and is super comfortable. He can carry a bit of his own gear and feel like he's on an expedition. It's a mocked down big boy boat and very forgiving for beginners. It sounds as though he's at the bottom end of the 47 so he can also grow into it for a few years.

Remix 47

Liquid Logic Remix 47 Kids Kayak

CKS may still have a used one as well. Not much help in SLC but the only used I know of.

"Let us cross the river to the other side and rest beneath the shade of the trees." ~ Last words of Thomas Jonathan ''Stonewall' Jackson
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Old 01-03-2011   #3
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 217
Theophilus hit the nail on the head. I have a Remix 47 in the quiver. It actually belongs to my daughter and I paddle a larger version. The only thing I don't like about the boat is that it doesn't have a solid foot board. The foot braces are actually two pedals that adjust real easy. I just worry about foot entrapment cause they can place their feet under the braces. Although this has never happened and it may just be a worrying father aspect.
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Old 01-03-2011   #4
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
Your other choice, and the one I most recommend, is the Jackson Sidekick. It should yield you the best return on your investment for many years. The boat is excellent and will accomadate growing kids and advance their abilities all the way from 30 - 100 lbs and class I - IV (if they have it in 'em). It is super comfortable and easy to adjust during their growth, super stable and yet sporty, rolls up easily, and is very confidence inspiring. Plus, the boat generally has top resale value as a used Sidekick seems to be in strong demand. I have known several that sold for $450+ and usually within about an hour of listing for sale.

Before my youngest daughter eventually outgrew hers she had advanced from class II to III+ ranging from low water technical runs on the Arkansas to high volume (15,000 cfs) on the Main Salmon and Deso trips. She really loved her boat. The boat allowed her to survive, enjoy, and to carve up the river advanicng her skills. I consider it a quiver of one for kids from new to advanced and play parks to aggressive river running or multi-day trips.
No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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Old 01-03-2011   #5
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
A few other kid kayak choices:
Jackson Fun1
Jackson Fun1.5
Wave Sport Kid's Fuse 35 Whitewater River Kayak
Dagger Axiom 6.9 Kids

My boys have all paddled the Fun1 - it's great for the smallest of kids. My 5 year old is really taking a liking to it in the pool this winter. My 8 year old still fits it (4'7", 60+lbs) but I will upgrade him this summer to a larger kayak, one that will handle his weight better and have more forgiving edges on the stern. My oldest outgrew the Fun1 when he was around 9 now paddles a WaveSport Fuse 35.

There are a number of used Fun1 and 1.5 kayaks on the market but I won't upgrade to the Fun1.5. I think there are better boats out there (Fuse35, Sidekick, Remix). My boys have sat in the Sidekick and the adjustability is fantastic. The Dagger Axiom 6.9 would fit my oldest but is too big for my 8 year old.

Another option is an Inflatable kayak. The new Aire Tomcat LV fits my 8 year old great. My oldest two have spent a lot of time paddling an older Aire Force IK and have done fine, but the smaller LV would be easier to control. Paddling an IK has helped them learn strokes, balance, and other basic concepts. Using an IK has increased their confidence and helped get them into using hardshells.
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Old 01-04-2011   #6
The Russian
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
I was thinking of an IK as well, but seems like if I have access to the pool in the backyard my boy would be able to learn the kayaking basics pretty quick in a hard shell. I might rent a couple of boats to try out and see. Thanks for all suggestions, they have been very helpful.
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Old 01-04-2011   #7
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
Like many on the buzz, I might suggest trying out a variety of boats.

I support Ken's suggestion on the SideKick. I have instructed kayakers between the ages of 5 and 18 for years and I'm not sure there is a better boat that comes to mind.. It is a river-runner/creeker design so it has some volume, and that makes it very forgiving.

But since it hasn't been mentioned, I might also suggest the Jackson Punk Rocker. It might be a bit bigger than you are shopping for. As mentioned Wave Sport and Liquidlogic have a design for small kids, but Jackson is the industry leader in kids boats. They have several sizes of Funs and also a miniature playboat called the Shooting Star.

Perhaps the single best feature of Jackson boats for new paddlers and kids is that they are hands down, the easiest brand of boats to roll (and learn to roll.)
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Old 01-04-2011   #8
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
We are considering the Remix 47 and the side for our 8 year old. He is tall and skinny. Anyone have a Remix 47 for sale??

We are rafter too, and kinda clueles when it comes to kayaking. We had him in a class last summer, they started him with out a skirt, which seems like a good idea.
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Old 01-04-2011   #9
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
The fun 1 was the only kids boat available 5 years ago when Riley got his. It worked out great being a large volume play boat when he was 4-5 and more playful as he grows into it. He is 4-8" and approaching 70 lbs, and it still fits pretty well.

I'd probably have gone with the sidekick if it had been available, but he would not have learned to stern squirt that.


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