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Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Review

Mark Armstrong
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The Lifetime Wave Youth is an affordable 6-foot kayak designed for kids. It’s built to be easy to use, stable, and it comes with a paddle included.

This lightweight little kayak is aimed at kids from the age of five who weigh up to a maximum of 130 pounds. It’s designed to be durable and easy for kids to paddle and carry.

It’s a recreational kayak that could be an ideal first kayak for a child. It can be great for using at the beach or on summer days at the lake.

Lifetime Youth Wave KayakPin
  • Length: 6 foot
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 130 pounds

This is not a high-performance kayak for kids who already have a lot of paddling experience. It’s crafted for complete beginners who want to have some fun on the water.

The best kayaks for kids

The Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Is For…

The Lifetime Wave is for children. It can be a fantastic starter kayak for children from the age of five. It can let them learn paddling skills and develop their technique on a vessel that takes their small size and proportions into account.

This is a stable sit-on-top kayak that can be great for flatwater environments. As with most things, it’s recommended that you always supervise your kids while they use this kayak and make sure they always wear a PFD while paddling.

This kayak is primarily for kids who are new to paddling. If your child already has some experience of kayaking and is looking for a kayak to hone their skills and master their technique, the Wave is probably not for them. While this is a very stable kayak, it’s not built for speed or performance and is limited in its features.

Top Features Of The Lifetime Youth Wave


One of the main features of this Wave kayak is its stability. It’s designed with deep channels under the hull and reverse chines to maximize stability.

Video: Lifetime 6 ft Wave Kayak

While it can handle minimal waves and surf, it’s designed to be used on calm, flatwater. This can make it a great choice for casual kayaking at the beach, days at the lake or on slow-moving local rivers and inland waterways.

This kayak is not designed for rough water. While the hull benefits from having twin fins at the rear to improve tracking, paddling in a straight line may sometimes be a little tricky compared to some higher performance kayaks. 

Swim-Up Deck

A fantastic feature of this little kayak is the swim-up deck at the back. This can allow your kids to jump off to swim and easily climb back on from the rear deck.

The swim-up deck is sloped to make it easier for kids to climb back on from the water. This design can also help water to drain off. 


The Lifetime Youth Wave weighs just 18 pounds, which means it’s much lighter than other hardshell recreational kayaks. This can make it easier for kids to haul to and from the water, and easier for you to load onto or into your vehicle.

There are molded finger handles on the sides and a toggle handle at the front. The toggle handle can also be used to tow the kayak behind an adult kayak.

Another advantage of the kayak being so light is that kids can have an easier time paddling it, as it’s not as heavy for them to power over the water. A downside to this, however, is that it can be more affected by wind and moving water. 


Being just 6 feet long, the Wave Youth is designed to be easy to maneuver on the water. This means it can be easier for kids to control on their own. Its smaller length can also mean it’s easier for children to manage off the water.

The 24-inch wide hull is also narrow enough for kids to be able to paddle comfortably, taking into account their shorter arms and the shorter paddle length. 


A nice feature of the Youth Wave is that it’s self-bailing. There are scupper holes in the seating area so that water can drain away. However, remember that water will probably come through the holes, especially in waves.

This kayak is better suited to being used in warm weather.


This kayak is made from high-density polyethylene, so it’s crafted for durability and impact resistance. This can be useful for kids’ kayaks, which tend to be subjected to more knocks and bumps than kayaks used by experienced adults. There is also a five-year limited warranty for manufacturer defects. 

Comfort On Deck

This kayak is generally not built for enhanced comfort. There is no padded seat or backrest. There is only a molded-in seating area. However, this kayak is not designed to be used for long-distance paddling sessions. It’s designed to be used by kids who want to jump on and off easily.

On the other hand, you could potentially add your own aftermarket seat.

Video: Lifetime Wave Youth Kayak – Seat Installation

There are molded footrests to help kids stabilize themselves and find their best paddling position. You’ll also find a molded-in paddle holder, so that when it’s time to jump off to swim and splash, the paddle can be placed in the holder at the front so that it doesn’t float away. However, a paddle leash (sold separately) could still be beneficial.

It’s worth noting that there are no dedicated storage areas on deck, so there’s not much space for your child to bring along any gear. There are also no cup holders.

We found that other people also thought that it could be a good idea to attach a paddle leash to the Lifetime Youth Wave kayak.

Lifetime Youth Wave Alternatives

1: Perception Hi Five Kayak

Perception Hi Five KayakPin

The Perception Hi Five is a kid’s kayak that’s pretty similar to the Lifetime Wave when it comes to length and width. As well as being a little heavier and pricier, another difference is that it’s a hybrid. This means it can also be used as a stand up paddle board (SUP).

It features a swim-up rear deck for easy entry from the water and a standing deck in the cockpit. It’s crafted for stability and ease of use, with durable polyethylene construction and an included paddle. It’s also Solo Mount-ready for easy installation of accessories.

2: Pelican Solo Kayak

Pelican Solo KayakPin

The Pelican Solo is a 6-foot kayak that’s similar in style and size to the Youth Wave but has the added benefit of having a padded backrest for improved comfort and posture while paddling. However, it has a lower capacity than the Wave, at 100 pounds.

Another nice feature of this compact kids’ kayak is that it has a small storage well at the bow for holding gear, and a bottle holder in front of the seat. However, there are no bungees included. It also comes with a paddle and has a swim-up deck.

3: Azul Kayaks Junior Sit-On-Top Kayak

Azul Kayaks Junior Sit-On-Top Kayak ReviewPin

This Azul Junior kayak can be a great alternative starter kayak for kids who want to join you on your paddling adventures. This affordable 6-foot kayak benefits from having storage areas at the bow and stern, with a mesh cover at the rear and bungee cords and the front. There’s also space for a water bottle.

A good feature of this one is the backrest for added support. Another great feature is the wheel under the hull to help your little one get it to and from the water. It weighs 22 pounds and has a maximum capacity of 120 pounds.

Wrapping Up

Lifetime Youth Wave KayakPin


  • Lightweight
  • Built specifically for kids
  • Swim-up deck
  • Excellent starter kayak


  • No seat/seatback
  • No gear storage

The Lifetime Youth Wave can be a great kayak for little ones looking to take their first paddle strokes on the water. It’s compact, lightweight and designed specifically for kids, with the easy-to-use swim-up deck for quick re-entry from the water.

It’s a budget-friendly kids’ kayak that can be ideal for beach days and casual recreational paddling on flatwater.

If you think it could be a great fit for your little one, check it out here.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Review - Pinterest ImagePin

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