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.
Perceptions Acadia Scout kayak
Acadia Scout kayak
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.
Youve seen our picks for 2006 Gear of the Year, and now the entire 2006 Outside Buyers Guide is online. Check out this years more than 400 must-have gear items, including whitewater, touring, and sea kayaks.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.