Perception’s Acadia Scout kayak
Acadia Scout kayak

Which kayak is best for a child?

Do you think Perception’s Acadia Scout is a good kayak for an eight-year-old child? Also, what’s your take on purchasing a pre-owned kayak? Angela Saratoga Springs, New York

Perception’s Acadia Scout kayak

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I think it’s great that your son has taken to kayaking. It’s a great sport, and one that he can enjoy for many, many years.

Perception’s Acadia Scout kayak

Perception’s Acadia Scout kayak Acadia Scout kayak

Still, I’d personally be a little bit reluctant to let a youngster kayak solo. Things can happen—a wave could roll the boat, for instance—and he might not have the skill or strength to right himself. But maybe I’m 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 Perception’s Acadia Scout ($299; It’s 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 doesn’t have to sit on a cushion to see out. And an optional rudder helps with tracking. Dagger’s Zydeco ($389; is a similar-size boat—a little shorter, in fact, than the Scout—and is also designed for younger and smaller boaters.

As far as buying a used kayak—sure, why not? Rotomolded boats such as the Scout and Zydeco are extremely tough. Moreover, the odds are that you’d be purchasing a boat that was used by a child who has outgrown it, so it hasn’t 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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