No longer do young paddlers have to put up with badly fitting boats that are harder than the QE2 to turn and control. Below we present you with the best kids kayaks to choose from.
The modern junior kayaker is spoiled for choice with a wealth of junior specific kayaks now available for keen kid kayakers lining the racks at their nearest kayak shop.
With the help of the young paddlers of Paddleplus and ROCK Canoe Clubs we’ve been putting three well known junior models through their paces out on the water.
The 3 Best Junior Kayaks
1. Dagger Axiom 6.9 Kids Kayak
- Adjustable Performance Fit System 2.0
- Security grab handles
- Multi adjustable contoured hip pads
- D-bone welded in seat track
- Ratchet adjustable back-band
- Adjustable bulkhead foot-brace with foam pad
- Keepers foot brace system
- Precision adjustable thigh-braces
The smallest version of Dagger’s hot new line of river running boats, the 6.9s great outfitting and sleek lines were an instant hit with our young testers.
It was the boat that most consistently said they found the most comfortable too.
On the water the Axiom 6.9s playful nature comes through and the more confident and experienced of the nippers enjoyed the boats performance.
It’s a great platform for learning more advanced moves like surfing a wave and even tail squirts, but that performance means that the sharp rails and low volume stern made it a little bit of a handful for those testers who were still learning the basics.
It’s very easy to roll, which makes learning fun and inspires even more confidence in paddlers that have already mastered it.
The Axiom is a whitewater boat through and through, and that is where it really excels.
It’s a fantastic kayak for those young paddlers who have perfected all the basic moves and have started to make the transition to moving water and want a comfortable boat that will allow them to continue their learning as they progress.
2. Perception Carolina 12XS Junior Kayak
- Bow and stern deck rigging
- Moulded In seat with back-band
- Soft touch handles
- Slide-lock foot-brace system
Up until now all junior kayaks have been of the general purpose or whitewater varieties and the Carolina 12xs is the first-ever junior touring boat that we’ve seen.
We thought it was a fantastic idea but weren’t sure what the kids would say to it.
The answer was they absolutely loved it.
It took a bit of time to get used to the fact that, unlike the other boats on test, it didn’t turn on a dime but it did let them zip-along much faster than any of the others and was easy to keep on line and tracking true.
Our young testers thought this was a big plus, as club trips often involved longer paddles on flat water where they have struggled to keep up in traditional kid’s kayaks.
The outfitting is simple but effective and everything is specifically sized for children.
It’s an ideal craft for kids who want to tag along with Mum and Dad on touring day trips and even out on the sea for a little light sea kayaking adventure.
Hats off to Perception for realising that not every kid wants to paddle a whitewater style boat and for producing a very nice boat indeed that’s sure to be a hit with junior paddlers, canoe and kayak clubs and centres.
3. Pyranha Rebel Kids Kayak
- Adjustable Backrest
- Seat Liner
- Full Plate Footrest
- Whitewater Quality Rescue Point
- Whitewater Quality Grab Loops
- Adjustable Contoured Hip Pads
- Foam Thigh Grip Pads
- Drain Bung
The design team at Pyranha spent a long while listening to young paddlers requests for what they wanted in a junior boat as part of the design process of the Rebel and it shows in the final production kayak.
It looks great and has managed to pull off the difficult task of looking good and having enough performance to let more experienced paddlers progress but being forgiving, and easy to paddle, enough to allow new paddlers to learn without getting caught out all the time.
It comes in two specs too.
A Club spec for those just starting out and the Rapid spec for those making the step up to whitewater action.
It’s fairly nippy on the flat but get it on moving water and it really comes in to its own.
The raised bow rocker, forgiving rails and fairly flat stern rocker make it a good boat to learn to surf waves in and for getting to grips with things like eddy turns.
Our testers really loved the Rebel and pronounced it ‘Fun!’ to paddle, which translates in to a boat that we’re sure will become a firm favourite with nipper rippers on rivers and lakes From Land’s End to John O’ Groats.
So there you have it, the best junior kayaks tried and tested by real kid paddlers!
Feel free to check out some of our individual kids kayak reviews whilst you’re here, and good luck with your purchase.