Kid's surfski (and life jackets)

4 months 19 hours ago #33848 by TomWalsh
In order to spend more time with my daughter (and to get out more) I'm starting thinking about a kid's surfski.

This might be a bit early as my daughter is just 5 and only 20 or so KG and 105 cm so falls well under the usage range in the one's kids surfski I know of (the Think Jet) but has anyone else:
  • got kids out on a surfski early and what kind of age are we looking at.
  • got any recommendations on other skis bar the Think Jet (though that works well for us as we have a Think Jet dealer in HK)
  • got any other thoughts on the other peripherals you need and where to get a good kid's size paddle and - most importantly - a safe and functional life jacket.
Just hoping to pick the brains of some other mum and dads!

Tom

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4 months 15 hours ago #33849 by Bitemekaos
I have a boy who has just turned 7 and to get him into paddling and for me to get more time on the water with the bonus of spending time with my son I brought a old double ski. We are lucky here in Australia that all the big sporting outlets cater for kids of any age with good quality pfd's. As for ski's for kids there is the Jester or Epic V5 as a possibility but both would probably be a bit to big for your 5 year old daughter. 
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3 months 4 weeks ago #33852 by zachhandler
I have a 5 and an 8 year old. They have little interest or patience for sitting in the back of a double getting soaked with paddle drips. I don’t blame them. What I did was to get each of my kids a cheap 6 ft rotomolded sit on top kayak. They cost about $100 US and include the paddle. The kids love them. They splash about and learn to climb on and off and just have fun. The speed is very slow. Usually I swim next to them and we are similar in speed. Sonetimes i go in my surfski and tow them with a sea kayak waist belt. But mostly i just let them goof around. My goal is for my kids to learn to love paddling.  So far it is working.  I don’t try to push them to get anywhere or accomplish anything, and i don’t try to teach technique at this point. 

There are lots of options for pfds. For a 5 yr old the ones with the band around the chest connecting to two floats around the arm seem to be  most comfortable. 

https://www.amazon.com/Lifetime-Youth-Wave-Kayak/dp/B00CX0KMP8/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?adgrpid=51554737410&hvadid=274766167372&hvdev=m&hvlocphy=9019700&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t2&hvqmt=e&hvrand=3113716980855421089&hvtargid=aud-676677759484%3Akwd-341920430817&keywords=kid+kayaks&qid=1553293846&s=gateway&sr=8-2&tag=hydsma-20

https://www.amazon.com/Stearns-Puddle-Jumper-Basic-Jacket/dp/B01EJ393K6/ref=sxbs_sxwds-stvp?adgrpid=61746170571&hvadid=274707241094&hvdev=m&hvlocphy=9019700&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t2&hvqmt=e&hvrand=15409556949157375445&hvtargid=aud-676677759484%3Akwd-301754683427&keywords=kids+pfd&pd_rd_i=B01EJ393K6&pd_rd_r=6a09f2ad-0e1d-4c7d-8fe8-8e2f71ff6140&pd_rd_w=eyJdZ&pd_rd_wg=Hay5p&pf_rd_p=53606735-0421-4e69-9b3b-c6f554b47a4f&pf_rd_r=084F4ZJG5RPPQ18BBTFA&qid=1553293944&s=gateway&tag=hydsma-20
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3 months 4 weeks ago #33853 by Dicko
I have a custom kayaks Horizon. The leg adjustment is huge. I can paddle it when it’s really rough or the kids have been paddling it since they were 7. Very stable, great fun downwind. Feels like a real ski.
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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #33857 by mcbit
I believe the new Fenn Bonito is becoming a popular kids ski in SA

https://oceanpaddler.com/paddler-item/fenn-bonito/

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33858 by zachhandler
I have a knysna sonic x on order. It is their new kids ski. By the description it is smaller than most kid kayaks and truly dedicated to younger kids. 

I will post a review when the ice melts and the water warms enough to get my kids out in it a few times. Probably July. 

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #33884 by Canadasurfskiguy
www.soulwaterman.com/products/jtdesigns

This boat just came out. It's designed by Jerome Truran, who's a SA dude who know lives in Canada. A friend of mine just ordered two of these. I will likely get one for my son in a year once he turns 5.

It seems to tick a lot of boxes: relatively cheap (compared to avg ski's), roto-molded (plastic) so kids can bang into things. stable, k-1 seat/foot-pedals that allows them to develop good technique, kick up skeg instead of an understern rudder and they're light (12 & 11kg options). Basically it seems to me like a good boat to "play" on that also has enough performance and ergonomics to light the fire.

The think Jets look great. There's a club here in Canada that now has a fleet of them for their youth program. However, they're too big/expensive/high-performance to give to a five year old.

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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #33895 by Cryder
I think there as many versions of "kids" as there are "religions". So if we're talking a 12 years old on up (sub adult), then the Think Jet is hard to beat. But similar to cycling, there is a threshold for where "real bikes" begin... namely "real performance". If we're talking "real ski" then then the Think Jet is the real deal and could be raced. I recently kitted out a custom Jet and it is just crazy light: 


If we're talking "child" then the the space shifter is my vibe, and that seat is a clever solution for a big range of bums and leg lengths that correlate with the CG at the hump. I like the Bonito as something in between child and kid, but it's hard to tell in the pics who it's really designed for... But hats off to all the mfg's who are discovering that kids want to come play to (where would surfing be without groms?!). Curious about the weight of any plastic ski making sense for kids tho, but the impact resistance might warrant the weight. 

So is it me, or is there a real lack of kid friendly wing paddles? 
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3 months 2 weeks ago #33896 by TomWalsh
Thanks all. Glad to see a lot of us an interested in getting the kids out.

One of the issues is I live in HK which means that it can be harder to get the wider variety of skis without having to go through the hassle of buying and shipping them yourself. We have a great Epic and Think dealer here so they are the easiest recourse.

This also means we don't see the full range of skis in the flesh to size them so haven't seen the Fenn Bonito etc.

Re the suggestions:
  • Think Jet does look beautiful - especially in that FF livery. Nice! However based on the specs and feedback here, does seem to be the slightly older range of +7 or 8 years old it fits.
  • Re Fenn Bonito - that looks nice, can't really tell from the website quite when you could start on it? Anyone given it a go and know what kind of ranges it fits?
  • Re Knysa Sonic X - there is nothing about that at all on their site so will look forward to the review when the ice melts.
  • Re Custom Kayaks - the website seems to be down but looks interesting. Only issue is shipping to HK for me. 
  • JT Designs Space Shifter - this does look pretty spot on. Slightly worried about shipping again! Will drop them an email. 
Wing paddles - as mentioned by @Cryder there don't seem to be any obvious ones?

Tom

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3 months 2 weeks ago #33933 by Hugh
I researched this a while ago and found not much more than has already been posted above.
                 Paddler Wt         Boat Wt         Length  Width
Fenn Bonito       to75kg  12kg       420cm   50cm
Knysna Jester            14kg       457cm 49cm
Knysna Sonic X  to 75kg                   420cm 50cm
Knysna SonicXL to 75kg                                
Carbonology Splash 25-60kg 12.5kg   485cm   49cm
Soul Waterman Space Shifter 18-50kg 11kg       366cm   46cm
Think Jet              35-70kg                  520cm   48cm
FutureKids Maxi  to50kg  7kg               420cm   38cm
FutureKids Mini   to36kg  9kg               350cm   36cm

My children have been on little sit-on-tops, probably the same as Zach's, which have been terrific. Now they are asking for something more like my long narrow boats, but they don't want to do the kind of paddling that those are for. I think that it is vital for kids' boats not to be too wide or too heavy. A V5 is a disastrous boat for them: only good for seeing how many cousins you can carry on it at the same time.
The Sonics look (from the photos) like a good size, despite the claimed 75kg capacity (the XL is apparently the same hull with a longer cockpit). The FutureKids boats look terrific but appear not to have made it into production. The Splash and Jet look like they would be great for aspiring racers a few years older than my girls. The Space Shifter looks like it could be the best option: not a racer but versatile otherwise.
However, I lost interest in the long supply chain and built them a new boat: a 426cm x45cm stitch & glue sea kayak with a surfski cockpit. Initial indications are that it will be perfect (though perhaps a bit too wide).

As for paddles, Knysna does some with a smaller diameter shaft. Braca does several kid-sized blades but does not mention shaft diameter; fastpaddler.com refers to a smaller shaft so perhaps Braca just doesn't talk about it.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #33934 by Bitemekaos
 
This is my sons kayak he has had since he was five as mentioned in the post before he is seven now and I am hunting around for a double for us to paddle together as that is what he wants to do. I found his kayak on a council pick up but have seen them in the big sporting outlets for around $150.
My son loves paddling and sports in general and I can't wait to the day when I watch him paddling away from me, he will have to sort out his folded leg technique but as long as he is having fun. 
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