Kayaking and canoeing is a fun and exciting way to get kids and teens outdoors in the summer. Enthusiasts love the rushing of slicing through the ways and the feeling of freedom associated with exploring new waterways.
Beginners to the sport, especially younger riders, require some specialised equipment to keep them safe and afloat. The best youth kayaks come with a wide base, good buoyancy, and solid materials. They’ll also have plenty of leg room – perfect for accommodating your growing kid as their passion for kayaking grows with them.
To help you find the best youth kayak, here are four of the highest quality and most economical options on the market.
The Deluxe Sit-In Kayak is made for beginners. A wide base, solid polyurethane construction, and long length make this kayak a dream to control even when the waves roll in. The wide cockpit makes getting in and out easy – even in an emergency.
The sharp nose of this kayak lets youths zip through the water for a fast thrill. Fortunately, the symmetrical placement of the hull makes it easier for beginners to stay balanced. A sit-in kayak is also great for keeping your kid dry and steady over choppy waves.
As beautiful and sturdy as the Deluxe Sit-In Kayak is, it lacks padded seating and high back support. That makes it a blank canvas open to customisation, but riders will have to separately purchase a kayak seat. The extra dry storage space in this model means kids can take all the safety and comfort essentials without a problem.
This sit-on-top Riber Kayak for Juniors is for those who aren’t afraid of getting a little damp during their water excursion. This wave youth kayak does not come with a cockpit located within the hull. Instead, riders sit directly on top of the boat. That means there’s little protection from water splashes, but that just adds to the thrill!
Because this is a sit-on-top model, it’ll take a little work for kids and teens to adjust to controlling it. Fortunately, the wide base of this kayak reduces the risk of capsizing. As riders are not strapped in, it’s also easy to get in and out in case of emergency.
Inexperienced riders shouldn’t take this out into rapid waters right away. Instead, try traversing calmer water to first get a feel for the footrests and keel. Fortunately, this hardy kayak can follow kids from the beginning to slightly more adventurous excursions. The side handles and D-rings add to this model’s portability and customisation potential.
The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is an inflatable kayak best for youth who’d love to take it down a lazy river ride. When the adventure has ended, this wave youth kayak can easily collapse for compact storage. Included are two collapsible aluminium paddles. Just add a life jacket, around 15 minutes for inflation, and this ride is ready to be enjoyed!
While this kayak is high-quality and comfortable, it shouldn’t be used around rocks or out in the open ocean. The material can potentially be punctured and deflated if used roughly or near sharp objects. Due to this, it is unlikely to be the best choice if you are looking to do a bit of fishing from your kayak. However, the included repair can patch up small holes and tears. Some have reported split seams that are difficult to patch. But, with careful use, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Overall, because it's an inflatable kayak, this isn't a lifetime youth wave kayak. It may need to be replaced over time. This model Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is best for older teens looking for a casual kayaking experience on a calm lake.
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit In Kayak is an excellent choice for any beginner to the sport. Suited for a variety of environments, many consider it to set the standard for what a good youth wave kayak can be. Its stability and manoeuvrability mean its well-suited for both calm and rapid waters.
Constructed of heavy-duty and long-lasting polyurethane, this kayak can hold up to 113 kg while only weighing 80 kg itself. That translates to safety in the water and easy transportation on dry land. Plus, the extended legroom of this kayak makes it an excellent lifetime youth kayak. You may find your child can use it well into adulthood.
All of the options in this youth kayak review are excellent for kids and teens alike. When selecting the right ride for your child, it’s important to consider their skill level and experience, as well as where they’ll be riding.
Kayaks should always be used with the proper safety equipment – including a personal flotation device (i.e. a life jacket), helmet, first aid kit, and waterproof signalling device in case of emergency. Beginners should always start off on calm lakes or rivers before progressing to fast-flowing or rocky bodies of water. Of course, remember to supervise your kids at all times, no matter the weather or water conditions!
When you’ve picked the right one, you can check the prices on Amazon for the Deluxe Sit-In Kayak (Blue & White), the Riber Kayak for Juniors, and the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit. Happy kayaking!