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Old 01-18-2014   #1
Ulverstone, Tasmania (Australia)
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Kids FIRST Kayak

Looking for advice on the most important features and or recommendations of type of kayak for first time paddlers aged 8-12 years of age?
Particular brand/model recommendations?
Anything else?

Thx, Simon

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Old 01-18-2014   #2
Caleb125's Avatar
Edwards, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 262
Need more info

Originally Posted by dentys View Post
Looking for advice on the most important features and or recommendations of type of kayak for first time paddlers aged 8-12 years of age?
Particular brand/model recommendations?
Anything else?

Thx, Simon
It depends... How tall are you, how much do you weigh, do you wanna river run, surf, or both?

Colorado // Kayaking // Skiing // Film
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Old 01-18-2014   #3
Sumas, Chilliwack, BC
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 120
We have kids running Jackson 1.5,2funs on all sorts of river and ocean waves. They are spectacular learning boats for kids.
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Old 01-19-2014   #4
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 286
Jackson Kayaks have the best options for kids.
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Old 01-19-2014   #5
long pond, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4
My son started with the fun series from Jackson when he was 5. After the Fun 1.5 I switched him over to the Jackson Side Kick. Its a kids river/creeker. He is now in a Little Hero. Just GREAT, the most forgiving boats out there. He gets away with things I cannot even consider in his Side Kick or Little Hero
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Old 01-19-2014   #6
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 265
I don't know of any other than the Jackson Fun 1.
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Old 01-19-2014   #7
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Where ever the water is...., Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 440
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If your kid is under 65 lbs. the Fun 1 can't be beat. It is narrow and shallow enough for the smaller kids. My daughter started in her's at age 4 and is still loving it at age 9 and 65lbs.

The big issue with kids kayaks is the width and the depth. Both will make rolling really hard even with a ton of foam.

She also has a Sidekick and it is a very confidence inspiring design and her go to boat for pushing her limits in larger water and river runs. BUT, she is sitting on two sweet cheeks and has a ton of foam in the hips. Her Fun one is the boat she has the most confidence in rolling. I think at age 10 this summer it will really start to fit here well.

The Fun 1 has been the go to boat for working on skills and getting her roll down. She can now roll both ways with a paddle and just with her hands hands. She is starting to work on freestyle moves more and we will tradition into the Shooting Star over the summer as she is growing fast now.

If you are really serious about paddling with your kid then you should also consider a Dynamic Duo. It will allow you to take your child on some harder/longer runs and give he/she the feel with out being on his own. We have done many class III+ rivers and it has taught many skills that transfer into my daughter being in her own boat. Think of it like training wheels on a bike. We can roll the Duo together or on my own if she just tucks. It's a blast to surf and we even like to boot and splat rocks as a couple.

Jackson Kayak has put more R&D $ and time into kids boats than any other manufacturer. The only company offering a kids river runner (fun 1,1.5), Play (Shooting Star), and creeker (Sidekick & Little Hero) in multiple sizes, They even had a kids rec. boat for lakes. Talking success look at what that has gotten the Jackson family. Emily and Dane are both world champions and this comes from having the tools to excel at a young age. Many of the other brands/designs work well for older kids but they aren't really narrow and shallow enough for kids 30-60 lbs. Once you hit the 95+ lbs. many of the small adult boats will work great.

I salute anyone getting kids started in paddling. It is on of the most rewarding things you can do as a paddler. Also check out Colorado Whitewater Kids Team and The Lyons Kids Kayak Club if you are in the Denver area and looking for a peer/ instructional group for kids paddling.

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Old 01-20-2014   #8
North Bay, Ontario
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 7
I would highly suggest looking at the Wavesport Fuse 35. My son has had the Jackson and the Wavesport boats and he has performed far better in his Fuse 35 and is now running class 3 and 4 in it. He doesn't even want to get in the Jackson anymore. I think the Jackson boats are more geared to playing and the Wavesport boat is a much better boat for river running and learning the skills required to progress in the sport.

The outfitting in the boat is nice and comfortable. The boat is light and easy for him to carry himself (A huge plus). He is 12 years old and weighs 92 lbs.
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Old 01-20-2014   #9
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
I am all about JK boats, and absolutely believe that they help keep beginners safe and progressing. and yes, please have some more kool-aid

although it's true....their playboats are pretty aggressive. all their designs (except the 2012 rockstar) have phenomenal stability, and secondary stability. just have to look at their riverrunners.. sidekick, little hero, fun1. and they roll better then any other brand i have paddled. (that means a lot to me)
but different set ups and different opinions make the world go round... what ever works for each individual is def. the best!

my daughter is three, and via reference of some friends experience, i am really interested in getting a Fluid sit on top as her first boat. Her first actual enclosed real deal yak will be a Jackson , but i want to make sure she has a positive initial experience, and i think a sit on top is the way to go for a young'un...
Fluid's page:
Children's Sit-on-top Kayak

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