Sit-on-top kayaks are a great design for teaching kids to paddle as they are often very stable, more comfortable and you don't have to worry about your child being trapped if it capsizes. The best sit on top kayaks for kids will often have a hull that's not as wide as regular kayaks, so that small arms can easily reach over to paddle, and they will have excellent primary stability so that your child won't have an uncomfortable tippy feeling when sitting in the kayak.
The Kea by Ocean Kayak is less than 9 feet in length and weighs just 30 pounds. It has a maximum weight capacity of 150 pounds. Amongst the features of the Kea are a molded in seat back and foot wells, perfect for your child to have something to brace against whilst paddling. The Kea has a tri-form hull which gives them excellent primary stability. The long, built in keel on the Kea means that it has excellent tracking so it stays straight. The Kea does well on flat waters and calm oceans. The hull of the Kea is narrower than other kayaks, with a width of about 24 inches, making it much easier for children to reach over the sides when paddling. Included with the Kea is a paddle sized for kids measuring just under 6 feet in length.
The Cobra Play is a nice kayak for families as both adults and kids can use it. The kayak is just over ten feet in length, weighs 38 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 260 pounds. With a width of 28" the Cobra Play is narrower making it easier for children to be able to reach over and paddle. The cockpit also has three different foot positions, making it perfect for people of varying leg lengths to use. The Cobra Play has a full length keel for excellent tracking and a v-shaped hull for excellent primary stability. The Cobra Play is a great kayak for calm water, but it's sharp edges means that it can also handle a little time in the surf.
Fluid Kayak's Vaya is a sit-on-top kayak specifically designed for young children aged between 5 and 10 years. The Vaya is amongst the smallest kids kayaks, at just 6 and a half feet in length and weighing just 24 pounds with a maximum weight capacity of 90 pounds. The Vaya is similar to the bigger Solo by Fluid except that Fluid adjusted the design of the hull to increase the Vaya's secondary stability, making it better for handling easy rapids. However, the design doesn't compromise the Vaya's primary stability, which is also excellent. The Vaya also has a detachable fin which can be bolted in to help with tracking in flat water whilse its molded seat with high sides is great for keeping kids dry.
Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen
Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.