She was 9 when she first went to kayak camp and has gone for three years now. The first two years they used a Fun 1 for her. Which, she was challenged with catching edges and was never able to confidently roll in the river (only in a pool). This year she used the Side Kick at camp. Afterwards, i took her to the pool to work with her myself. Within minutes she was practically non-stop rolling and was solid enough to just go about it away from the others and roll without supervision. So, I bought the boat for her. She rolls in the river confidently now and never is freightened like she was with squirrly things that the Fun 1 would do to her. The Side Kick has the same kind of Chines and planing hull that the Fun has, but the side walls are much taller and flaired. Plus, the boat is longer and bigger volume. There are not the sharp edges and lack of volume that the Fun has and, therefore, is more foregiving and stable than the Fun. The Fuse is a little more stable than the Fun, but neither even come close to the Side Kick's stability. Though the Side Kick is not a rodeo boat, I doubt most learning kids are going to be throwing down in the hole. It should be better for them to learn paddling skills and river running before worrying about tricks. In fact, in my opinion, the Side Kick might easily advance a kid's ability to class IV with confidence and allow them to really become passionate about adventures and the rewards of river running and, eventually, creeking. The Remix 47 may be a bit good for this as well, but it really doesn't have the performance of the Side Kick's (Fun 1 inspired) planing hull, volume, and balance. Hands down, the Side Kick shines above the others and is super safe, comfortable, easy to adjust to the kid's growing body, and a great performer. So that the boat will last a kid (and your investment) for years to come. Hope your child learns and has fun. You will have the joy of a great paddling partner in the future.