PERFECT for my 6 year old and 8 year old sons who are around 48" tall (6 year old is large for his age)!
Would still be good for a child 36"-40" tall.
These are FAST boats (because they weigh only 26 lbs) with very good initial stability (haven't tried secondary stability yet).
I also bought Bending Branches kids paddles (200cm) which have a small diameter paddle handle for kid's hands.
An online retailer in Texas sells a package (kayak, paddle, vest, skirt and paddle cord) for $499 shipped. The Bending Branches paddles that come with the package are 200cm-- probably could use 210cm, but we can make it work.
Since my sons are large for their age, I figure we can get 4 years or so (may 5) out of these.
Wish I bought these sooner.
Both of my daughters started in Perception XSs. They are quick, easily maneuverable, and seem to be fairly stable. They are light enough for 7-10 y.o.s to move around and to help load, etc. They are narrow enough that the kids can use appropriately sized paddles without banging their fingers on the sides. Real, adjustble footpegs are a huge plus
There are two minor disadvantages: the seats are not fully adjustable, and they are not comfortable for more than an hour or two (which might be all a 7 y.o. can handle anyway). Second is that one your kid will be paddling this, and then the "next day" they won't fit in the cockpit...
I am 5'2 and 125 pounds. I am excited about this kayak because I can handle this by myself. It is super light. I can get it up on my shoulder and carry it to the water easily. With the seats down, I can even get it into the back of my car with only a foot or two sticking out the truck.
Inside the kayak are two foam supports, one behind the seat and on between your legs. At first, I was a little put off by the foam between my legs. However, it's not too by. It ends up being something against which to brace my legs. The adjustable foot pegs are nice.
The kayak doesn't have much space inside, but that's fine. I will mostly be taking it out for one to two hour rides. It has bungees in front.
It is a beautiful, sleek kayak. It tracks well and turns quickly. This will be a great craft for a petite gal looking to have fun on the water.
One point deduction is for some small issues: drain plug that can block the water from coming out unless pegged open with a twig, poor placement of rear carry handle at a wide point on the boat (making the boat bump the child's thigh), [NB: This kayak is an upgrade of the Acadia Scout model, with the addition of basic deck rigging (foredeck only), Slide-Lock footbraces that can be adjusted on the fly, and basic knee and seat padding. Like later editions of the Scout, it has a backband to encourage proper paddling position and provide comfortable support.]
Warning: If your kids (or you) get to test-paddle this boat, you'll have to buy it!
This tight cockpit is what makes the kayak so great for small people - you finally know what it's like to become "one" with a kayak. This kayak has great features - a very comfortable, somewhat adjustable seat that basically supports your back (and does so well), easily adjustable foot pedals even while in the kayak on the water, front and rear bungee straps for dry sacks, and nice carrying handles with built-in holes which can also be used to lock the kayak with a thin locking cable. The ballast can be annoying until you get used to it and it's odd that Perception didn't put in at least one small cargo area, but the bungees work great with dry sacks. Due to the tight fit, there is no cup holder and the only good place for a water bottle is in the front of the cockpit, but you can get creative with the bungee straps or buy a cockpit cup holder, which will fit. There is no room to store your paddle in the cockpit when you shove off as your own body will take up all the room, but you can buy a cockpit paddle clip, use the bungee straps with some practice, or just hold onto your paddle carefully.
Even with these limitations, I rank this kayak a 10 because it is a full 10 feet long and, thus, tracks well. The best thing though is it weighs only 26 pounds due to its aerodynamic shape! Your kayaking friends will be envious at how light it is. Even better, in 2015 it costs $405 (everywhere - don't bother shopping around) and, as you may already know, kayaks that light weight usually cost much, much more.
I only weigh 112 pounds and I can lift this myself, push it in the bed of my 8 foot truckbed at an angle, wrap two basic bungee cords around the end, and I'm good to go with the tailgate down (the kayak sticks out only about 5 inches)! You can probably get more creative and fit it in an 8 foot bed with the back end completely closed. It's also easy to put onto any roof kayak rack.
I have tested this kayak out on slow to medium moving rivers (no rapids) and small to large lakes and am in love with it. I've endured wakes from motor boats and jet skiers as well as strong head winds plus choppy water with lake waves as high as the kayak sitting in the water and I have felt secure at all times.
In this kayak, I can finally keep up with other paddlers who can paddle standard kayaks due to the paddlers' heavier weight. People who are not small do not think about how a kayak that is 50 pounds is almost 50% of my weight (this is true too for biking!). For them to understand, they would need to feel what it's like to paddle a kayak weighing almost 100 pounds. I can also finally paddle upstream as this kayak is so light! I find it tracks well, even in strong winds, though it does sometimes move side to side, but nothing worse than I've seen and felt other kayaks do. It does have a nice keel, which helps the tracking.
This is a well-built kayak and I wish I could meet whomever from Perception decided to make this as I could kiss him/her! On top of all of this, it comes in a great choice of colors.
If you are a smaller person and love to kayak, but get tired of killing yourself trying to carry and keep up using a typical kayak that is too heavy for you, you will love this kayak. You really don't have to give up any features with it at all so it is worth every penny. Enjoy!
The XS is 10 feet with a 23 inch beam. These specs combined with the design of the boat makes it a very fast and highly responsive boat. Within moments of paddling this kayak, both of my boys were not only able to maneuver the boat with complete ease but they were keeping up with my 17' Necky Looksha Elite no problem. So if you are looking for a terrific kayak for kids look no further. This is a great fit!