Best White Water Kayak of 2020

White water kayaking is one of the most exhilarating escapades that anybody can experience. If you enjoy sport that provides an undeniable surge of adrenaline, and you’re a fan of kayaking in general, finding the finest white water kayak available should be a priority.

If you are purchasing your first white water kayak or investigating options for a potential upgrade, this is the post for you. Let’s take a look at the six best white water kayaks of the year, along with what to look out for when buying one.

Pick of The Best White Water Kayak Reviews

1. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Kayak

Driftsun produce one of the best inflatable kayaks for white water use. It’s a tandem kayak which can be used for solo or tandem paddling. This fantastic boat has a sharply pointed bow, a continuous rocker profile, and a ‘V’ shaped hull that delivers excellent performance in choppy and calm waters.

The bottom features a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin, which provides maximum protection against punctures. In addition, the sturdy coated 840D Oxford fabric and the double-threaded Boston valves are tear and rip-resistant.

This Driftsun kayak also comes with stern and bow handles, which aid with easy take-outs and put-ins.

Things We Like

  • This is a very stable kayak
  • Double action pump helps rapid inflation
  • Built-in pressure gage, making it simple to inflate to the correct pressure

Things We Don’t Like

  • No instructions in the box

2. Riot Kayaks Astro 58

Riot’s Astro 58 model is a dynamic and a freestyle boat that has unity seating system, along with a floating backrest. This helps you stay on top of the water for an extended duration. This kayak has an optimal hull surface and bevelled side edges for proper manoeuvrability and stability.

It measures 25.7 inches by 6.3 feet, and the boat is lightweight for easy transportation. It weighs just 38.4 pounds. The molded features on the cockpit include sure grip thigh braces, which will keep you secure on even the wildest of conditions.

 Things We Like

  • Seat system has a floating backrest
  • High-quality kayak with great stability
  • Bevelled side edges and a high hull surface that aids manoeuvrability

3. ADVANCED ELEMENTS Attack Whitewater Kayak

This is another fantastic white water kayak for first-time buyers. It comes with 12-inch bow and self-bailing port, making it an excellent option for experts and beginners alike.

The ADVANCED ELEMENTS kayak has a durable PVC tarpaulin hull and independent PVC bladders which provide maximum resistance against harsh environments.

Additionally, the kayak is easy to transport and store due to its lightweight nature. It weighs a mere 34 pounds, and features compact measurements to fit inside your car correctly. The 35 inch width offers increased stability.

Things We Like

  • An excellent kayak for paddling in rough waters
  • Highly durable
  • Three air chambers
  • Adjustable thigh straps and seat

4. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140

This sit-on-top kayak is designed for white water use. As a result, it has an ergonomically designed Phase 3 AirPro seating mechanism that provides an easy and quick leg and back support.

The Tarpon 140 has self-bailing scrapper holes, cup holders, gear storage pockets, and a comfortable carry handle that makes easy transportation. Its SlideTrax system gives you the ability to mount GPS, fish finders, and other electronics you may need while kayaking.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon is constructed to maintain proper stability and glide as you extend the gear capacity.

Things We Like

  • Maintains stability when paddling
  • Sufficient storage space

Things We Don’t Like

  • A bit heavy for its size

5. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL 

The Malibu Two XL is a tandem kayak. It’s ideal for families, as well as paddlers of all abilities and sizes. It has twin comfort plus seats that add comfort and stability while paddling for long hours.

The boat comes with compact dimensions and measures thirteen feet by 4 inches. It also boasts an impressive 500-pound load capacity. The overlapping foot wells give a beautiful foot bracing to the paddler seated at the center of the kayak.

The boat features built-in paddle holders together with the rear, centre, and front carry handles.

Things We Like

  • Very stable and comfortable
  • A big kayak that’s ideal for family trips
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around

Things We Don’t Like

  • No seat backrest

6. Extreme Sport Outfitters Hydro Kaddy

This is one of the cheaper whitewater kayaks available on the market that also provides extra storage. This can be helpful for paddling adventures and overnight camping journeys.

Additionally, this kayak features a patented design that helps it cut through the water as you paddle. This reduces unnecessary drag. It has an easy access design that helps you place everything within your fingertips.

This kayak can keep your valuables safe and dry but yet convenient during your trip.

Things We Like

  • Good storage space
  • Keeps your items dry
  • Simple design
  • Patented design that minimizes drag and strain while paddling

Things We Don’t Like

  • Needs a better way of hooking
  • Easily flipped
  • No cooler

Features to Consider When Buying a White Water Kayak

When buying a kayak, it is essential to consider some aspects that allow you to identify the model on the market that best suits your needs. First of all, think what your outings will be like. Will you be embarking on a tranquil fishing trip or the white-knuckle adventure of white water rafting?

Of course, you should also choose the kayak based on the number of people who will use it. Consider if you want to venture alone or with people.

Other than that, there is still much more to consider!

  • Skill Level

Some models have designs that allow you to manoeuvre considerably faster. However, substantial skill is required to handle them properly.

If you are starting in this world, choose a model that is slightly wider and has excellent stability. Later, when you have some experience, you can think about trying other advanced level models.

  • Free Space

A general rule, you should only carry bare essentials when kayaking. The fact that your tandem kayak has a lot of space below deck does not mean that it will handle well in rough seas if it is filled to the last available centimetre.

  • Management

Kayak management includes both manoeuvrability and control. While a high level of manoeuvrability is essential in confined areas, it is less so in the open sea.

  • Immersion Level

Immersion level refers to the necessary weight that must be placed on the kayak for it to sink an inch into the water. A high level indicates that the boat will have excellent stability. If the level is too low and you are navigating rough waters, water is likelier to enter the interior. No matter your skill level, the best inflatable kayak for white water use should aways have a high immersion level.

  • Materials

Most sea kayaks are made from resistant material capable of withstanding different weather conditions. Plastic and polyethene acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (abs) are the materials most appreciated for their performance.

  • Hull

An ocean or sea kayak will be used in more turbulent waters. Hence, it should be able to cut through waves easily. When choosing an ocean kayak, choose a model with V-hulls. For freshwater kayaks, rounded and flat hulls are ideal.

  • Dimensions

The dimensions of the kayak directly affect the handling, speed and carrying capacity. The wider the bottom and the shorter the length, the more stable the vessel will be.  The longer the length, the higher the speed, but the kayak also be wholly mobile.

Short kayaks are exclusively for rough water and extreme rafting. If you want a high-performance kayak, then go for a narrow and medium-sized model. Small widths are ideal for easy navigation in both rough and calm water.

A white water kayak approximately 3 or 4 meters long will help keep it stable. As for the width, you will find many options. The slightly wider models provide superior stability, and are thus a favored option for those just starting out. In any case, a design of fewer than 50 centimetres wide is not recommended to reduce the chances of tipping over.

  • Rocker

The rocker indicates the shape of the longitudinal profile. Rocker navigation is one that has its ends raised above the horizontal. The arc that forms over the water makes the ends less submerged in the water. This facilitates the ability to manoeuvre and allows turning with higher speed.

For sea models, a little rocker makes mobility easier. For white water rafting, it is recommended that there is not too much rocker. This reduces the indirect effect and helps you row in a straight line quickly.

FAQ

Should I Take A Single or Two-Seater Kayak?

Two-seater kayaks models are not very common. Always check the maximum range of the boat.

Do I Need to Wear a Life Jacket?

In compliance with the regulations, you must always have a life jacket on board. You must also wear appropriate kayak clothing.

Is the Color of the Kayak Important?

If you plan to use the kayak in a space also frequented by motorboats, it is advisable to opt for bright colors such as orange and yellow. This makes the kayak easily visible, reducing the risk of collisions.

Is A Longer or Shorter Kayak Better?

As a general rule, a longer kayak is faster. In white water kayaking, this can be a huge bonus.

Conclusion

Finding the best inflatable kayak for white water use can take some time. Each scenario requires a different budget. In addition, the choice depends on whether you want to go out for one day, a weekend or an entire week at a time You’ll find models that accommodate each of these scenarios above. I hope this guide will help you make the right choice when buying the best whitewater kayak for beginners.