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My kid Mathew, is 7 years old. I want him to learn how to roll a kayak and row a raft, but he just doesn't get it. I've tried several techniques, but none seem to work. I outfitted my kayak for him and even moved my seat on my 16 foot oar rig. I keep getting angry, but it doesn't seem to help.

Any advice?

E-
 

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You say that YOU want him to learn how to roll. Does he want to learn how to roll. I would go slowly and do what he is comfortable with. Does he know how to use his boat and paddle. Asking someone who has not been in a kayak or that doesn't know how to read a river to roll is like asking a baby to run the 100m dash. Baby steps and don't get angry, it doesn't help the situation.
 

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My kid Mathew, is 7 years old. I want him to learn how to roll a kayak and row a raft, but he just doesn't get it. I've tried several techniques, but none seem to work. I outfitted my kayak for him and even moved my seat on my 16 foot oar rig. I keep getting angry, but it doesn't seem to help.

Any advice?

E-
Well, you hooked one... Doode, you must be seriously bored.
 

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I wouldn't bother with rowing till 16 (unless he's grew up bailing hay). It's tough for kids to have the back strength to row because they lack the leverage of a full grown adult. I've taught a friends 19 yr old to row over the years and it didn't make much sense till he was 16.

Keep it fun, i all comes in time.
 

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I have taught many, many kids to kayak and some as young as 6 or 7 and the ones that are able to roll a kayak by age 7 or 8 are a pretty rare case. They just dont seem to have the body awareness or mechanic's to pull it off. I have also found that pushing them is going to make them apprehensive about going boating or roll practice. When kids see other kids out rolling and splashing around having a blast then you will see the twinkle in there eye. Bring your little one by class in Lyons on Tuesday's or Thursday's at 5:00pm to let him watch, and I bet he will be full of questions on the way home.:) Jason
 

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I just started teaching my kids to row my 15'raft with 10'oars. My oars are counter balanced so they do not feel heavy. I let them take over on mellow stretches where there is nothing for them to run into, and as long as they keep the raft out of the trees/bank, it is fine with me. Letting them have a chance to copy me makes the trips more fun for them.

My 6 year old is picking it up real quick. He is also very strong for his age, so he really enjoys digging in and trying to move the boat. I do not use oar rights, so watching the screws in the handle was one of the first things I taught them. He picked it up real quick. The first day he tried he ended up rowing for almost an hour, and then he still wanted to go more. At this point I do not let him row down anything bigger then 1+ or a 2-, but for him that is still better then being a passenger. When I am rowing he sits in front of me pointing out the rocks, pillows, and holes. Being able to read the river is as important if not more important then being able to row. it does not matter how well you can row, if you don't know where to point.

My advice is make sure that your kid is hooked on being on the river, get them involved in reading the river, (even let them tell you where to go) and then when they want, to take a turn at the oars. At the early ages you do not want to risk pushing to hard, because a bad experience now can push kids away from being on the river.
 

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Hello Eric,
Does Matthew want to learn how to roll or oar? If he does, pick-up counter balanced oars and if you have the cash add the Cataract blades; they float and help with the weight of an oar.

We have a three year old who loves to move the oars on our 14' raft. He isn't running the river but like muttster noted, he is learning about the obstacles in the river and what a good water line looks likes. Most importantly, he is gaining confidence and it has become something that he wants to do.

If you are really wanting him to boat with you; spend a bunch of time on your raft. Leave the hard shell in the garage for runs with your friends. Also, don't get angry, he is seven and our rivers are always goin' downstream. Just make the river days fun for him and it will guide his life.

J.
 

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My son is 7. Last year, I took him to the gravel ponds at Chatfield a few times, first with a duckie, then a hard boat and we just paddled around and goofed off. He had a blast. I put him in a hard boat (no skirt), and I dumped him over in shallow water so he would know what it felt like if he went over. That is as close to rolling as we'll get for a good while.

This year, he has paddled the flat stuff on Pumphouse and Ruby/Horsethief, no skirt, and can't get enough. I teach him some safety things like what a strainer is, hand signals to let me know he is OK, and we worked on eddy turns and ferries a little. I'll also let him take the oars on the raft when he asks and show him a few things.

My advice, don't even think about rolling until they can paddle around and are having fun. Honestly, I think that goes for adults trying to learn too. Let your kid dictate the pace, there really is no rush and the emphasis is (or should be) FUN.

Lastly, getting him in a kid sized boat might help so he's not wrestling with an adults gear. He might also get excited as there will be some pride in paddling his own boat, even if you just rent it.
 

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My boys are in the Lyons kids camp and they have solid rolls. All the kids in the camp have solid rolls, Thanks to Jason.:D



I have taught many, many kids to kayak and some as young as 6 or 7 and the ones that are able to roll a kayak by age 7 or 8 are a pretty rare case. They just dont seem to have the body awareness or mechanic's to pull it off. I have also found that pushing them is going to make them apprehensive about going boating or roll practice. When kids see other kids out rolling and splashing around having a blast then you will see the twinkle in there eye. Bring your little one by class in Lyons on Tuesday's or Thursday's at 5:00pm to let him watch, and I bet he will be full of questions on the way home.:) Jason
 

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When I was younger my Dad tried to teach me to roll and row as well and I had no desire to learn. He also got short and told me I HAD to learn. A few years later when I was about 11, I approached him becasue I was ready to learn. I learned in a short amount of time because I was doing it for me . He may not want to kayak or at least not now. Wait until he is ready and willing to learn and you will be more sucessful and less stressed. I am now an avid boater and join my Dad on the river all the time. Good Luck!
 
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