I think its great that your son has taken to kayaking. Its a great sport, and one that he can enjoy for many, many years.
Still, Id personally be a little bit reluctant to let a youngster kayak solo. Things can happena wave could roll the boat, for instanceand he might not have the skill or strength to right himself. But maybe Im being a little paranoid. You know your son and know what he can handle, and I assume you set firm guidelines about wearing a personal flotation device and staying within sight of adults. Heck, here in Port Townsend, where I live, a 12-year-old out motoring around by himself in a small powered skiff saved three adult kayakers who all swamped their boats out in near-ocean waters.
As far as a boat, you may have found just what you need with Perceptions Acadia Scout ($299; www.kayaker.com). Its a ten-foot boat specifically designed for youngsters, yet big enough that your son will get several years of use from it before he needs a larger boat. The Scout is stable and sized so that a child doesnt have to sit on a cushion to see out. And an optional rudder helps with tracking. Daggers Zydeco ($389; www.dagger.com) is a similar-size boata little shorter, in fact, than the Scoutand is also designed for younger and smaller boaters.
As far as buying a used kayaksure, why not? Rotomolded boats such as the Scout and Zydeco are extremely tough. Moreover, the odds are that youd be purchasing a boat that was used by a child who has outgrown it, so it hasnt seen severe or lengthy use. The main thing, of course, is to give the hull a thorough inspection. Chips, cracks, or excessive fading from sun exposure all are to be avoided.
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