Kids Kayaks - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-24-2009   #1
 
South Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Kids Kayaks

Here's the deal: Two kids, 13 and 11, both about 4'6" 80 to 95 lbs.
I am looking for good boats for them. I'm not the park and play type so would likely push them in the same direction. Reading, running, playing along the way, developing solid river-running skills is what I am looking for. I've looked at Jackson's Fun 1.5 and the Sidekick and am thinking about purchasing one of each and see which one they like better. I'm open to any and all suggestions on these and other possibilities. To me, the Fun looks edgier (less forgiving?) and more for play and the Sidekick looks a bit like a small creekboat or perhaps more of an all-around river-runner.
Myself? Tons of experience, though not in a while, hence the inexperience with these new (to me) boats.
Thanks for the help.

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Old 12-24-2009   #2
 
Boyertown, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Also the Wavesport Fuse 35 is out there as well. The Sidekick has the same hull as the fun and the deck of the Rocker, so it will run rivers, surf waves and resurface through holes. The Sidekick is probably better for learning to roll and everything in and it will also offer some play. But the Fun is also super easy to roll so maybe your idea of one of each is a good idea just to see which one they like better.
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Old 12-24-2009   #3
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skink View Post
Here's the deal: Two kids, 13 and 11, both about 4'6" 80 to 95 lbs.
I am looking for good boats for them. I'm not the park and play type so would likely push them in the same direction. Reading, running, playing along the way, developing solid river-running skills is what I am looking for.
River running is where it is at. Keep them safe and having fun. Just buy them Sidekicks and the kids will have boats that fit them for years and keeps them loving the sport. It is an awesome boat that will take them from class I to IV, perfecting their skills and minimizing their risk for bad experiences. When you get the boats first take the kids to a lake or pool and observe and adjust the seat positioning to get the boats trimmed (waterline balance) properly. As they grow heavier and taller you probably need to reinspect and adjust the seat to trim the boats again at the beginning of each season. And when they someday outgrow the Sidekick the should move up to the Little Hero or Punk Rocker.
Cheers!
Ken
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Old 12-24-2009   #4
 
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Another great stable river running option for kids is the Remix 49 by Liquid Logic Remix 47

I use a lot of these for my kids club in Fort Collins for kids aged 5-13 and they are amazing for learning to roll, building confidence and learning proper stroke technique.
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Old 01-05-2010   #5
 
Erie, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 67
Both my daughter and my son started kayaking at age 11 in a Dagger Dynamo.

The Dynamo is more of a river runner. My daughter loved this boat as she prefers river running to playboating. Boats similar to the Dynamo in size and style would be the Dagger Axiom 6.9 and Liquid Logic Remix 47. My daughter demoed the Remix 47 and absolutely loved it.

My son likes the Dynamo just fine and still uses it from time to time. As he progessed beyond the beginner stage he wanted to get into playboating I had him demo the following boats: Jackson Fun 1.5, Jackson Shooting Star, and Wavesport Fuse 35. At the time his least favorite boat was the Shooting Star. The reason for this was probably because it had too much play compared to what he was used to. In the end, he decided he liked the Fuse the best.

This past summer he competed in a couple of cadet freestyle events using his Fuse. He felt that he was not able to throw the boat around as much as he would like. He borrowed his friend's Shooting Star for a day and decided that was the boat for him.

If you want your kids to be able to do both river running and playboarting, my recommendation is to go with a hybrid like the Fuse or the Fun. Another possibility would be Pyranha's Rebel Rapid. This boat is new for the year so I don't have any feedback or comments.

My apologies for the long post. I hope you find the kayak history of my kids helpful.
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Old 01-05-2010   #6
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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kids boats

My girl is 13 and has a Remix 59. It's a great learning and river running boat.
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Old 01-06-2010   #7
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
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Skink,

Obviously, many people will advise many things. However, you can rest assured that the hull of the Sidekick (and Little Hero) is of superior performance to the other brands being suggested. It has the Fun hull, which delivers sports car type performance, and tall flaired sidewalls and balanced volume to add forgiveness. It is the vastly superior boat that can take a youngster from beginner to expert with comfort and confidence. The boat rolls easily and encourages skill development and enjoyment. I say it is the best boat for a parent to invest in for their kids' encouragement, skill development, and safety.

Ken
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Old 01-06-2010   #8
 
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Whatever you end up getting Skink, your kids will be stoked if you let them learn at their own pace and get them professional instruction and/or put them on a team. Jackson Kayaks, IMO, has done more for kids kayaking, by far, than any other company - however, that doesn't necessarily mean they make the best boats for kids. IMO they make the best freestyle boats for kids because of the size and performance range they offer.

I can't really agree with Ken though that "the hull of the Sidekick (and Little Hero) is of superior performance to the other brands" and that it is a "vastly superior boat." These are heavy duty claims that just aren't really justified. I'm pretty sure that nobody is making anything vastly superior to anybody else for kids, or adults for that matter, at this point in time. Maybe if you're talking about older models from ten years ago but when it comes down to it, there are differences that may make a boats performance "superior" for some kids but that same boat may not work as well for others.

The Sidekick has a fully planing hull and hard chines much like a playboat. This is going to carve a line easily but is going to be hard to keep straight and correct, and will be slower than a displacement hull. The Fun has a planing hull as well, but for kids, since the boat is lighter and shorter it is going to be easier to correct and for some very small kids to roll. It will be even harder than the sidekick to keep straight and definitely harder to keep upright. Planing hulls in general, I've found, are a little harder for kids to roll because they have to learn how to overcome the defined edge of the hard chine.

The Remix 47 from Liquid Logic is going to have similar functionality as the sidekick but it has what I call a modified displacement hull, meaning it is almost flat like a planing hull but it does not have a hard and defined edge or chine. This kind of hull makes it easy to roll for kids IMO and makes it very maneuverable and easy to correct. It will carve, not as well as something with a planing hull but it will be faster. The Remix is also a bit longer then sidekick again making it faster but also a little more boat for very small kids to handle. The displacement type hull does help with the length though because the rounded edge is very easy to turn.

The Remix basically would fall into the same category as the sidekick - safe and stable, river running boat that kids can front and back surf on a wave - if you want them in playboats or you think they want to learn freestyle right off the bat, then the Funs or the Wave Sport Fuse would be the way to go. If you mainly want them learning good stroke technique and river running skills to start, then the Remix or the Sidekick would be the way to go. One of each isn't a bad way to start either BUT, and I've seen this before with brothers and sisters, they may both end up liking the same boat and then you may end up buying a third boat!

*Full disclosure - I have worked with Liquid Logic for a number of years and I use Remix 47's for my Junior Kayak League team and in my kids club. I have taught Kids in a number of different boats including the Funs and the Fuse but not really the sidekick yet.
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Old 01-07-2010   #9
 
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
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Skink,

Isn't kayaking a most wonderful recreation? I see you have enjoyed it for many years and are introducing your kids now. I'm sure you remember how the Dancer was a great boat in its day. Isn't it desirable how much more advanced some boat designs are in performance these days, though? Don't we wish we had performance designs back when, instead of sudo Dancer characteristic still?

What I find attractive about the Sidekick is that it is advanced in performance and yet forgiving. The boat is light, short, and narrow enough that a youth can totally and easily control it. It carves, surfs, spins, tracks, boofs, has excellent primary and secondary stability, and is easy for a youth to roll with any technique they choose to learn. It inspires confidence, enjoyment, and skill advancement. My 12 year old daughter loves her Sidekick and the sport as a result.

Full disclosure: I do not work for any kayak manufacturer, retailer, or school and never have. My wife and kids paddle a Sidekick, Little Hero, and Punk Rocker. I still enjoy my Diesel, Habitat, and the Punk Rocker. In the past the kids have additionally tried the Fun 1, 1.5, 2, and my wife owned a Hero. We've had one warranty claim that was superbly handled by Jackson. I founded an approximately 40 member Whitewater Club at Western State College in 1981 and had been an ACA certified instructor. I have taught many dozens of youth and adults to roll and enjoy the sport over the years. Last year my gals paddled some very technical low water class III and some big water (15,000 cfs) class III. Everyone absolutely loves their boats. We are now able to enjoy kayaking as a family. From my experience I can highly recommend these boats. Best wishes to you and your family. Happy New Year!
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Old 01-07-2010   #10
 
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Sidekick sounds sweet Ken and it stoked me to hear your paddling as a family! I can't wait to paddle with my kids. It's one of the main reasons I got into kids instruction in the first place. Hopefully some kids will have Sidekicks this year and I'll get to see how they perform.

Didn't mean anything bad against you or the sidekick, just in my experience different boats and types of boats have worked better for individual kids and nothing has jumped out as "far superior." Maybe when I see the Sidekick it will, but as a long standing friend of the owners and fan of LL designs I felt the need to comment on the merits of different types of hulls and my experience with them. When it comes down to it the Remix hull is nothing like a Dancer's hull so I'm not sure if that's what you were subtly implying, but I would check one out before making that assumption.
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