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Kayak Fishing With Children

This is a particularly enjoyable activity.
Kids feel both confident and excited in the W kayak, and the boat’s cockpit offers enough space for you and a child to paddle in and fish from comfortably.

The best is to ride the saddle in the back and let the kid ride or stand up in the front. This way he or she can feel independent while turning back to you to talk or in case they need your assistance, which they often do – at least in the beginning.

Obviously, you need to be careful, especially when the children cast their lines since you might accidentally get injured by a fishing hook flying near your head.
For this reason it’s important to keep a watchful eye on the young, enthusiastic fishermen at any time.

Older kids who are experienced enough with handling fishing tackle can go W kayak fishing in their own boat, providing there’s an adult nearby who can supervise them.

Yoav

Kayak fishing with kidsKids kayak fishing

Teaching Children How to Paddle – Part 7

Standup Paddling

This is in fact the easiest type of paddling for children.
It comes naturally to them because they feel very stable in the W kayak, and standing upright offers them the ability to apply more power in their paddle strokes, and probably to better perceive the environment and their kayak’s position in it.
The latter is important for navigation, especially when it comes to tracking, which is particularly difficult for small children. There may also be something in standing that facilitates kids’ spatial perception because it’s the position we humans naturally use for moving on land.

You will often see children who are paddling in the lower positions (sitting or riding) stand up when they feel they need more paddling power and control, such as when they’re taking part in a ‘naval battle’ game with other paddlers, or when they have to paddle upwind or counter current.

Because they are small, children can paddle standing even in tandem.

One of the main reasons children feel confident standing in their W kayaks is because if they happen to lose balance they go back to riding the saddle in the mounted (riding) position, which is the stablest. This is also the reason why paddling and fishing standing in W kayaks is a real option for adults too: If you happen to be standing in another type of kayak and you lose balance the only option left for you is to fall overboard.

Yoav

two kids kayaking standing Kidas paddling in tandem satnding in their W kayak Children paddling standing in their kayaks Girl kayaking standing

Teaching Children How to Paddle – Part 6

Tandem

By ‘tandem’ I mean two kids paddling together since a crew composed of an adult and a child is likely to work well without need for special instruction.

Having two adults paddling a W kayak together can pause a balance problem, which a junior tandem doesn’t have to face, and that’s a good start. However, there are some serious difficulties that a junior crew has to deal with, including propulsion, steering and tracking.

Paddling in tandem requires that each of the two paddlers understand their different roles and act accordingly in order to allow for efficient synchronization of their movements and effective control over the boat, that is its speed and direction.
It’s not easy for adults and it’s really hard for kids. Therefore, it’s best to start after each of the kids had gained some experience as a solo W paddler.
The two basic tandem paddler roles are similar to what they are for adults:
In case both paddlers use kayak paddles the less experienced paddler rides the saddle’s front part and simply paddles left and right following a slow and steady rhythm. The more experienced paddlers rides the saddle’s back and tries to keep his paddle going in parallel to the front paddler’s paddle. The trick is to do it while using different strokes of various strengths in order to track, and skipping some strokes on one side while applying stronger strokes on the opposite side while turning. It’s not easy at all, and it requires that both crew members understand what needs to be done and focus on achieving it.
The rest is practice, practice and more practice…
The result is very rewarding for both kids and parents.

When tandem W ‘canoing’ the boat needs to be paddled exactly as if it were a canoe, that is with each paddler paddling on a different side, and paddlers changing sides from time to time. Luckily, the W it tracks better than a traditional canoe, which facilitates the task.

It’s also possible to paddle in tandem with one canoe paddle and one kayak paddle, but since it’s more complicated I wouldn’t recommend it for kids.

Yoav

kids paddling in tandem Kids kayaking in tandem

Teaching Children How to Paddle – Part 5

The Surf

The surf is a very exciting place for children but it can be a frightening one too. A child can perceive a small, three-foot wave as a threat, and a four-foot wave might take the proportions of a tsunami in his eyes.
This is quite understandable since compared to an adult a small child can exert a limited level of control over his kayak. Besides, children have a vivid imagination that can easily take things out of proportions.

Boy kayaking over a big wave

This is why I would suggest limiting your child’s experience to 2-3 ft waves to begin with, and this is mainly because such waves can’t topple his/her W kayak even if it’s hit on the side.
Having said that, some kids really love it when their boat flips over, and they may even try to cause it to capsize on purpose.

As always, it’s highly recommended that you have substantial experience W surf kayaking before you start teaching your kids about it. In any case, staying close to them the first times is an absolute necessity. You should conduct these lessons in a shallow water beach with neither currents nor underwater rocks.

There are basically two main points to learn for a start:
One is to approach a coming wave at a straight angle (perpendicular) while riding the back part of the saddle, and the other is to lean into the wave in case it hits your boat on its side.

Later you can teach your kid to ride the middle part of the saddle when coming back to shore, and to control the boat with the paddle and by shifting his or her weight from side to side, but that’s more of a thing you need to practice together than a theory.

Yoav

Kid paddling a fishing kayak in the surf Boy kayaking across a wave

John Forney’s First W Boat Design

John Forney is a boat designer and builder from Texas.

He has already designed and built a number of kayaks, both in wood and skin-on-frame.

John took upon himself to be the first to design and build a wooden W boat, and he did it.

This W is 12 feet long and 30 inches wide, and it can take two large size kayak fishermen with all their gear, as well as camping gear:

John Forney's 12 ft wooden W boatBennett Crow christening John’s W boat.  Photo: John Forney.

John says: “It’s a known thing that you build your first boat just to learn and then you throw it away, but this boat is just too good to throw – it’s amazing.”

John is now involved in building two more wooden W boats, and he plans to design and build W boats in other materials as well.

Yoav