Has your young paddler been using your kayak? Do you think it’s time to get them one of their own? Great! Getting kids out on the water when they’re young provides many benefits. It helps them learn good paddling techniques early, it teaches them about safety, it gets them out of the house and lets them experience nature. The list goes on and on.
But before you head out and purchase a kayak, let’s talk about the difference between youth kayaks, and adult kayaks. While your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter may have been able to paddle your kayak, it may not be the safest or the best fit for them. Depending on the size of the child, if you put them in a kayak that is too big for them, they’ll find themselves having to reach to get their paddle in the water. Reaching leads to leaning, which can make the boat feel unstable. If the boat doesn’t feel stable to them, they’ll be scared and won’t enjoy being out on the water. In a situation like this, we’d want to get them into a youth kayak. Those tend to have smaller beams and deeper cockpits, which lower their center of gravity, making the kayak more stable. They also weigh a lot less, making it easy for them to pick up and move around on their own.
We get asked a lot why you should invest in a youth kayak when the child may only be able to paddle it for a year or two before they outgrow it. Great question. There are a couple things to consider when making this decision. First, do you have other kids that will be paddling in a couple years? If you do, then getting a kayak designed for smaller kids is a great choice. Once they’re old enough to paddle, you can pass this one down to them while the older child moves into an adult boat.
On the other hand, let’s say you’re a grandparent looking to buy a kayak for your youngest grandchild. If they have some paddling experience, and they are comfortable being on the water, then buying a youth kayak may not be the best option. Spending the money on a kayak they will outgrow within a year or two just doesn’t make sense. In this case, we’d look at adult boats.
So, as you can see, each situation is different. That’s why we encourage you to visit the shop and let us help you pick the right boat for your young paddler. They’ll be able to try out the kayaks on the river, ensuring that they end up with a boat that is the perfect fit for them!