As a father of 4 I know how incredibly rewarding it is to share kayaking adventures with the kids, below is a few tips I have learnt which could help you introduce your kids to the adventure of kayaking. But first I wanted to mention the Kid Pod™ from Viking Kayaks, this clever system is making it more enjoyable and comfortable to take my little ones out in the Profish Reload..
What is it?
The Kid Pod is designed for the Profish Reload kayak as an optional extra to create a flat surface ideal for kids to sit on comfortably, simply remove the Tackle Pod and the Kid Pod loads easily in its place and is secured with a single pin. The surface of the Kid pod is molded for comfort and comes with an 8” bucket hatch. As you will see in the video my little girl (2yrs) & son (5yrs) comfortably fit in this area together without compromising paddling or the stability of the kayak.
The Profish reload has a low set cockpit design, this gives greater stability which is very comforting for the paddler, kids can be unpredictable in their movements especially if there is something to see over the side of the kayak!The flat even surface also makes it easier for the kids to stand up, which is also useful for those fresh water anglers looking for a stable casting platform. Both my kids preferred to be facing forward to see what’s going on, but the Kid Pod™ is designed so they can sit facing you also if preferred. The rubber oval hatch on the Profish Reload makes great vantage point for the kids to lean on while on the lookout, land ahoy!
My tips for parents getting kids into kayaking.
My first trip out with my son Milan who is now 8yrs, he was 1yr old at the time and Mum had gone out for the day so I thought I would take him for a little paddle…this trip we spent no more than 10mins on the water in the kayak but the scene was set and now he paddles his own kayak (Viking Espri) and is a keen snorkeler longing for the day he can gather scallops & crayfish with Dad. Younger brother and sister have followed in his footsteps.
- First Impressions last
- Correct fitting lifejackets
- Comfort (clothing, scupper bungs, food, water, entertainment
- Leave your rods at home
First Impressions last
Remember this…if you give them a bad experience the first time out you will struggle to get them out again (which also means you will be stuck on land too). My first tip is to make sure you keep the first few experiences simple, safe and short keeping close to land at all times so they feel safe. Only go out in fine weather, once the kids are confident the trips will get longer and more adventurous I promise you.
Plan ahead of time to take them somewhere you know there to be some wildlife or something of significance to see (caves or remote access beaches with Rock pool utopia!) , this builds the hype and makes them focus on the adventure rather than any uncertainties they might be having. Don’t force the issue if they say no or if the weather changes when you get to the water…there is always another time, take a bucket and spade just in case so you can build a land kayak in the sand 😉
Correct fitting lifejackets
Here there is no compromise, the right lifejacket (PFD) every time! Yes you will likely purchase a new lifejacket each season or as they grow out of the old ones but it is essential that you have them in a lifejacket that is suited for them. The best way to choose the right lifejacket is to take them to your local kayak specialist store and try some on, there are plenty of good options to choose from for kids these days. Do get them to sit in the kayaks at the shop to make sure it’s comfortable. Do not use boat style lifejackets as these are not ideal for being seated in a kayak, do use lifejackets with a crutch strap for little ones that can’t swim.
Planning is so important, after making sure the conditions are suitable, there are a few other things I do to make sure the kids are comfortable and enjoying themselves. Dress for the conditions and have back up clothing somewhere dry in/on the kayak (dry bags are great for this). Remember they are likely to get wet so keep them warm by dressing them accordingly. Pack food & water, this is also a welcome distraction if they get bored.
Take something for them to keep little hands and minds busy if you are paddling some distance (could be a favorite toy or something, my boy took his favorite ted on our first trips, he liked to share the adventure with his ted and show him around. Great distraction). Scupper bungs are a good idea if you’re on flat water, this keeps the kids dry from water coming in the scuppers. And lastly but most importantly cover them from the sun. Wide brimmed hats with a chin tie so they don’t blow off, sunblock and sun protective shirts, remember the legs and feet, they are so often forgotten and burn fast.
Leave your rods at home
If you’re planning to take the kids fishing with you do just that, take them fishing don’t plan to do any fishing yourself, remember it’s about introducing them. Once they have a taste for it you can plan to fish with them one future trips. A little trick I worked out early on is a longline is the perfect way to introduce them to catching dinner and having an adventure.
We paddle out to suitable spot for setting the longline, the kids help set it then we head off on a paddle or go exploring the beach and rock pools, then after 1hr or so head back out to collect the longline to see what’s for dinner. The kids really enjoy the process of bringing up the line to see what’s hooked, then get great pleasure both in releasing the smaller fish and taking some home to show Mum what they caught. We use the Pauls Fishing Kite 12 hook kayak longline