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Best Whitewater Kayak

What are the Top Whitewater Kayaks for Beginners?

Kayaking will easily grow in you if it has not. If you have had a stressful week or would like to go out on an adventure, then the shallow waters can be a good try. You may, however, find that regular kayaks are not ideal for the fast, shallow waters—whitewater.

Some kayak models have been designed to serve you optimally in whitewater. For easy maneuverability, they come in rounded shapes and are generally shorter. They are great for moving with stamina and may not disappoint you.

We will have varied preferences when it comes to the kind of kayaking to indulge in. You could be thinking of trying it out for the first time but are unsure what works best for you. Whitewater kayaking is great for adventure and the thrill involved. 

There are various types of these kayaks available; the market is also full of brands that offer competitive features. Without enough information on kayaks, shopping for the best product can get confusing.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the best kayaks for whitewater. We will discuss not only their features but also factors that you should consider in the course of your shopping, for better chances of landing on a satisfactory product.

1. Advanced Elements

If you are looking to enjoy some time through the roughest conditions, then this kayak could be the product for you. Its build offers great durability, thanks to the PVC bladders that reinforce the 840 Denier tarpaulin. It also provides a self-draining rear cargo that is covered and can store your gears.

You may love this kayak for its adjustable seats and straps. They make it not only comfortable but also flexible. It also comes with a double-enforced hull, which, unlike what you would expect with most models, is a lot thicker.

The result is that when riding, you may not face the risk of the hull breaking. If you are thinking of going out for whitewater kayaking with someone, then you may find that the adjustability of the seats and straps make it suitable.

Summarily, you may love the Advanced Elements for its great stability and durability; maneuvering through rapid waters should feel easier. It features a self-draining rear, besides its adjustable seats and straps. You may also love its double-enforced hull’s thickness.

Notable setbacks, however, are that it is heavy and pricey. Its weight is affected by the reinforcements, which may mean extra effort when it comes to carrying it to the water. 

Nevertheless, these do not affect its performance or durability. Advanced Elements is a great product.


  • Durable and strong
  • Comfortable
  • Stable


  • It is heavy
  • Pricey

2. Innova Safari 330

For an amazing time in whitewater, you may want to consider a kayak with superior construction. Coming second on our list is the Innova Safari, which is loved for its hull material. In both the interior and exterior, you should expect Nitrilon, which is a rubber-coated PES fabric/

Nitrilon comes with advantages, among them, being abrasion-resistance, resistance to UV degradation, and even aging. All these conditions that the material takes care of make it ideal for any kayaker who expects to take their kayaks through rough waters for long stretches.

Besides that, you may also love the self-bailing bottom that this kayak comes with. Along its sides, are cutouts, which enhance stability when riding. The storage space that it comes with is adequate for up to 18 gal., so, should you have things you would like to carry with you, then this piece has you covered!

While the rapid waters could be adventurous, comfort makes most things possible and safety ensures that you are able to return to the waters with the same enthusiasm. That said, you may love that this product promotes safe kneeling through its thigh straps. It also has an adjustable footrest, and safety handles.

What is more, is that you get an inflatable seat, which comes with a backrest. For proper care and maintenance of your kayak, this product comes with a repair kit, with a valve adapter and a tracking fin. Summarily, you may love it for its quality and durability. It is also lightweight and comfortable.

It comes with a repair kit and a tracking fin, along with an 18 gal. dry bag. Unlike most other products, this product does not limit you to only whitewater kayaking. Notable setbacks, however, are that it is pricey, and its weight limit is low. Nevertheless, it offers quality features, which at the end of the day, are a good value.


  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable


  • Pricey
  • Its weight limit is low

3. Sea Eagle Explorer

If you are looking for a powerful kayak that will take you places, then this could be it. You may find this product to be ideal for whitewater kayaking of up to Class IV. Therefore, you can go out with this piece into rough, rapid waters and drive through waves of all sizes.

You may love its strong construction, which features a double floor, welded seams, and 1000 Denier Fabric. This combination means limitless adventures. You may also find the 16 drain valves to be quite capable of ensuring that you remain dry, with quick self-bailing.

Most kayaks that come in durable and strong builds tend to weigh a lot, which may cause challenges with carrying it out to the waters. This product has been designed to be lightweight, without compromising its durability. You should, therefore, find it easier to move around with, and even store!

What is more is that this kayak has easy tracking, thanks to its slide keg, which is removable. You may also love the powerful paddle, which lessens the fatigue you would expect, thus enhancing easy maneuverability. This product features a three-year warranty.

Summarily, you may love this kayak for its great portability. Weighing only 30 lbs., it is lightweight. It also has a high whitewater rating and will serve you through some of the toughest and roughest conditions. It has been built for the job, with its strong and durable material. You may also find it easy to set up.

Notable setbacks with this product are that it is costly and that you may find its carry bag to have an unsuitable design. Nevertheless, its features provide a great value for its price; from the high rating to the warranty and durability, you may not come across better whitewater kayaks suited for the extremes.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • High whitewater rating
  • Strong and durable
  • Easy set-up


  • Pricey
  • Its carry bag has an unsuitable design

4. Riot Kayaks Magnum 80

Are you thinking of going out into steep waters? If so, then you are going to need a stable kayak. Coming fourth in our list is the Riot Kayaks Magnum, which you may find to offer the stability you will need. Its design puts attention on the volume of the cockpit and more on the tail.

It thus promotes a more stable ride, with as fewer rocks and knocks as possible through your maneuvers in rapids and when resurfacing. Squirts may also get you in a position you were not on, and the stability that this kayak provides prevents that. You can, therefore, take to as steep and rough as you may need to.

At eight feet, this product offers you a wide range of functions, which include but are not limited to the floatation bags in its front and rear, heavy-duty creek handles (four), a drain plug, an anti-theft bar and an adjustable creek foot. Its thigh braces help with securing belongings and ensuring their safety.

Summarily, you may love this product for its great stability. It may not disappoint if you are planning to use it through some of the roughest conditions. It also features an anti-theft bar, thigh braces, among a range of other functions. It does not require any set up, which makes it quite easy to use.

A notable setback, however, is that while it offers durability in its solid construction, its weight comes quite heavy. This makes the product difficult to move around with. It is also pricey. Nevertheless, the stability and functions you get, among other features, may not disappoint you.


  • Stable
  • It does not require any set up
  • Durable, solid construction


  • It is heavy

5. Riot Kayaks Astro 58

Coming fifth is another product by Riot Kayaks, the Astro 58. While the Magnum, is great for steep and rapid waters, you may find this model to be more ideal for relatively calmer conditions. It features easy maneuverability, thanks to the beveled side edges. It also has a wide hull surface.

For great stability and balance, you may want to consider a kayak with a good distribution of its volume; the Astro 58 is a great piece, well-distributed to its cockpit. For comfort and a more seamless ride, the cockpit has been designed with a contour fit system. You should, therefore, enjoy a good time.

Besides maneuverability, this product shares features with its former, the Magnum 80. Like Magnum, this kayak comes with two rubber grab loops (with no compromise on comfort), an anti-theft bar, a drain plug, a unity seating system, thigh braces with a sure grip, and power-seat compatibility. 

What else sets apart Magnum 80 from Astro 58, are the two rubber-grab loops and power-seat compatibility. Something else is the price. You may be running low financially or working with a budget; if you are looking for performance and affordability, then this could be the model to go for.

Summarily, this product offers great comfort and performance. You may find it to be stable and ideal for relatively calmer conditions. It has smooth maneuverability and features a wide range of functions. It comes at an affordable price, along with rubber-grab loops and power-seat compatibility.

You may also love that using it is easy since you do not need to set it up. A notable setback with this product is that it is heavy due to its solid construction; it weighs 38.4 lbs. besides that, you get desirable, quality features.


  • You do not need to set it up
  • Comfortable
  • Stable


  • It is heavy

6. Dagger Nomad Creeking

If you are looking to move with great speed, while able to resurface and keep the bow up, then this product could be it. You may love it for the speed, which it gains with the waters. It has been constructed to make resurfacing easier and you may find the rockers to be useful with keeping the bow up.

The resulting kayak is powerful and something you may love for professional whitewater kayaking. Steering in open waters may not always be comfortable or easy. With a contour-ergo fitting system, this product lessens the effort you would need to ride, while not putting you at risk.

What is more to this product’s comfort, are its thigh braces, hip pads, and foot braces, which are adjustable. These features come quite handy in comfortable steering. Summarily, you may love its performance. If speed is your interest, then this could be the product for you.

You may also feel safer, comfortable, and more powerful, thanks to the contour-ergo fitting. You may find this piece to be suitable for a variety of whitewater adventures. It resurfaces easily, and its rockers help with keeping the bow up. It features hip pads, foot braces, and thigh braces.

Notable setbacks, however, are with its price; you may find it to be costly. It also does not provide storage for your belongings and is heavy. Generally, this is the kayak to get for speed and a wide range of whitewater adventures. It is safe, powerful, and comfortable.


  • Fast
  • Contour-ergo fitting
  • Easy maneuverability
  • It is suitable for a range of whitewater adventures


  • Costly and heavy
  • It does not provide storage for belongings

7. Riot Kayaks Boogie 50

Do you enjoy riding through rocky shores? What about surfing? The Boogie 50 by Riot Kayaks ends out list, with its great performance, thanks to the design, which incorporates a squash-tail template. A classic whitewater kayak, any kayaker may not help but fall in love with this product!

Let us have a look at what it has to offer and how it differs from the Magnum 80 in fourth place and Astro 68 in fifth place. This piece’s power provides smooth surfing through waves, thus promoting comfortable rides. It has a surfing seat and customizable foam blocks in the front, which you can use to adjust its speed and power.

This product also features knee pockets that are both padded and molded in. It comes with a drain plug and two rubber-grab loops, which help with adjusting performance and enhancing security. What is more, is that you can surf through rivers easily with this piece, which is uncommon with classical kayaks, thanks to its power seat.

Summarily, you may find its performance to be optimal and something you would want to try. Its surfing power seat helps with paddling motions and the kayak features amazing power and speed. You may also love its adjustable foam blocks on the front. It offers comfortable, safe rides and smooth maneuverability.

Notable setbacks with this piece, however, are that it is heavy and does not have storage for belongings. Its non-inflatable material comes weighing about 35 pounds, which you may find to be easy and challenging to move around with. Nevertheless, its overall performance makes this product a good value for your money.


  • Surfing power seat
  • Great power and speed
  • Adjustable foam blocks


  • Heavy
  • It does not have storage for belongings

Buying Guide

When shopping for a whitewater kayak, there are a few factors that you may want to consider, to not only make your shopping easier but also increase your chances of walking away with an ideal product. One of the factors is type. Whitewater kayaks are available in four types, which are creekers, river-runners, long boats, and playboats.

Each type will serve you differently and in varied situations. If you would enjoy performing tricks or surfing with the waves. Then playboats, as the name suggests, would be a suitable go-to. The measure to a length of roughly 5-6 ft and you can tell them apart, with their chines, which are beveled and stubby hulls.

If you are thinking of going after rapids or through waterfalls with great power, then the largest type available may serve you right—creekers. They have been built for strength and performance. River runners, on the other hand, and as the name would suggest, are high-speed kayakers. If that would interest you more, then you may love how their shapes suit them.

If whitewater kayaking is your thing and you would enjoy doing it for long hours, then you may want to consider longboats. Measuring to a length of up to 12 feet, these kayakers combine both the river runners’ speed and creekers’ power. You should be able to tackle the toughest conditions.

Another important factor to consider in the course of your shopping is the size of the kayak. Because of our varied sizes, we may have different preferences on the size of whitewater kayak to go for. These kayaks come with recommendations of paddle fitting, which would suit the boat size.

To walk away with something that serves you optimally, you should match the size of your kayak with both your paddle weight capacity and your size. However, the overall weight can be affected by among other factors, the gear you will have with you and the wet that you may get. Getting the size right is thus important in ensuring a comfortable and safe ride.

It is also important to consider the material with which your desired kayak is made of. You should expect a variety of materials used, among them being fiberglass and PVC, or otherwise, polyvinyl chloride. Which of the two would be more ideal? Each has something unique to offer.

With PVC, you should expect abrasion resistance, durability, and affordability. Other types of PVC are used in the manufacture of UV-resistant models. Fiberglass is, on the contrary, costlier but performs exceptionally well in terms of power and speed. Its downside is on quality; it easily gets damaged.

You should also consider the weight capacity of your desired kayak. This dictates how much weight or how many people it can accommodate in every ride, without compromising on its performance. While type is a factor, most whitewater kayaks will have a capacity of 200-350 pounds.

Sufficient weight capacity is important for a kayak’s comfort. Get something that will easily accommodate your weight, along with that of your belongings and gear. With belongings, it is also good to consider a model that provides enough storage space for what you would like to carry with you.

These are not all the factors that you can or should consider when thinking of purchasing a whitewater kayak but will go a long way in easing your shopping. I hope you find what you are looking for!

Bottom Line

Do you enjoy kayaking? It is one of the best ways to unwind or have some fun and adventure. Whitewater kayaking, in particular, is full of thrill, demands energy, and a strong, suitable kayak. Do you have one in mind?

Regular kayaks do not have the right features that you need to move through rapid waters. Such features, in this case, are stability, durability, and design. Shorter kayaks with more rounded shapes are ideal for this sort of venture.

We have looked at the available products in the market, and some of the factors to consider when shopping for the best kayak for whitewater. I would like to recommend that you go for the Advanced Elements.

It has great stability and durability; maneuvering through rapid waters should feel easier. It features a self-draining rear, besides its adjustable seats and straps. You may also love its double-enforced hull’s thickness.

There is no reason why you should not get the Advanced Elements; buy it today!

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