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Discussion Starter #1
My eight year old son really wants to learn how to kayak, probably because I am a rafter! He enjoys being on the river but is developing that sense of independence! I have been keeping my eye out for used kids kayaks with no luck. Recently someone suggested getting him a sit on top kayak to start with in particular the Fluid Vaya (link included). Anyone have any experience with this or any suggestions? Thanks in advance!


fluid vaya
 

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Aire Tomcat LV

I don't have any experience with the Fluid kayak, but I picked up an Aire Tomcat LV inflatable kayak this summer and it's been great for my kids. It's the smallest inflatable kayak that Aire makes and it's a great size for kids. It's stable and yet manuverable. My eight and six year old have each done multiple runs in it this year and love it. A couple weeks ago we took their cousins (7, 10) down the local river (class II stretch with one class III rapid). They had no previous paddling experience and picked it up quick and had no trouble with the little IK. It rolls up small and is easy to transport/store. Once your kid outgrows it you should have no problem selling it as the IKs tend to hold their value well if they're in good shape. I'm not affiliated with AIRE but just happy to have a smaller IK after seeing my oldest struggle with a full size IK for several years.

http://www.coloradokayak.com/Tomcat-LV.html?sc=26&category=18200
 

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Inflatable kayaks are really easy and stable. They are also cheaper and easier to deal with than a sit-on-top. Sevylor also makes a small one.

The one downside is that they are so easy, it may be hard getting the kid in a real kayak when he gets older.
 

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Never seen one, but that Fluid in the top link looks like a great beginner kid boat, but if you are a rafter, having the ability to roll it up on longer trips with bigger rapids, should not be overlooked.

Riley started in a Fun 1 at age 4, with no skirt. A sit on top would have been better ten, but not as good to grow into. He's just now outgrowing the 1 as he approaches ten yrs old.

The small LL remix looks to be a more forgiving boat to learn in than a JK play boat.
 

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Good points above. My 11 year old has used the Tomcat LV IK but it's small on him and not as forgiving. I've also seen kids start in IK's and never progress to hard shells. But at the same time, for little kids just starting out, it's hard to beat an IK.
 

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"Kea" kid's SOT

Try to find a used one. Made by Ocean Kayaks, which sold their molds to RTM a couple years ago. It appears that RTM is making the exact same models OK made, just with new names.

So if you can't find a used Kea, look at the RTM website and see what kid's SOT is listed.

The Kea used to sell for about $350 or $395 new. What's nice is that they are not just short (about 9' long), they are much narrower than the typical SOT or rec kayak. I believe the beam is 22", which would be plenty stable for either a kid or a small, light adult.

The Kea came with a kid's paddle. You can install thigh straps or lap straps so that your kid can control the kayak better than without (a little edging is possible with straps).
 

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Ocean Kayak Kea is now the RTM Piccolo, which is NOT

the old Wilderness Systems Piccolo, a kid's sea kayak (13'10" long, 20.5" beam, sit-inside design).

I was wrong about the Kea/Piccolo beam: it is 24.5" wide, not 22" wide. The SOT kayak that is 22" wide is the old ocean-surfing Wave Witch, which I've been told was discontinued.

Confused enough yet?

BTW, how big/small is your kid?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the responses. We actually have a 2 person duckie and my son feels he "needs" hard plastic. I am sure our two person doesnt do justice to some of the IKs mentioned and I do like the fact we could roll it up but they are also more expensive than the veya.

I guess my question really is "is a sit on top or a kids kayak better to start them out on, or does it matter?"

H2, I looked at the Piccolo on RTM's website but cant find a price or a dealer that seems to list a price. It is similar to the veya but is rated for more weight. My kid is 49" and 55lbs.
 

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Who needs a boat? I say the best place for kids is floating in the water, a short distance from the raft. When you go through class III+ rapids you can let them hang onto the side. This is a much less costly option than purchasing equipment that the little guys will outgrow much too quickly.
 
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