Best Whitewater Kayaks (2024)

Whitewater kayaking is the best adventure sport in the history of kayaking that is being taken up by many sports and kayaking enthusiasts. Whitewater kayaking is nothing but kayaking in rivers that are structured with different grades. The kayaker rolls down the river by swiftly paddling along or against the running water. The kayakers are using the best whitewater kayaks to roll in the waters. The experience gets doubled when you are paddling in the right kayak through the whitewater.

  • Lightweight 
  • Adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with ERGOBASE seat cushion
  • Shallow V-chine hull
  • Made from high-quality plastic
  • Molded footrests

Pelican is one of the finest brands that are well-versed in making kayaks. Many ace kayakers and beginners excel in the sport with the finest products from the factories of Pelican. Maxim 100X recreational kayak is one of the best products that will live up to your expectations. Made of plastic, the kayak is 36 pounds which is considered to be an ideal weight on the waters.

A recreational kayak with a v-chine hull provides greater tracking and maneuverability. It also ensures that the kayak is stable throughout the paddling expedition. A cockpit table with compartments and a bottle holder promises enough storage space to carry your belongings and food for the trip.


  • Drain plug
  • Storage hatch with bungees
  • Easy to port


  • Not suitable for beginners

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2. Sea Eagle ( Inflatable Kayak )

  • Removable slide skeg
  • Carry handles in front and back
  • Made of polypropylene
  • Presence of 16 drain valves
  • Buoyancy

Are you looking for an inflatable kayak that is ideal for fishing, touring, camping, exploring, and white-watering, Sea Eagle Explorer inflatable kayak will be your best find. This inflatable kayak is highly suitable for both dry and wet water paddling. You can effortlessly make your best performance in class four whitewater and flatwater.

Self-bailing with sixteen-floor drains makes the kayak ideal for whitewater and flat water. The floor water can be left open for wet openwaters and it can be kept closed while you are paddling on the dry flat waters. The floors of the kayaks are made of high-pressure DS that offers greater rigidity and enhanced stability.


  • Greater storage capacity
  • Ideal for dogs
  • Highly durable
  • Separate drop-stitch floor


  • Hard to repair

3. Perception Rambler ( Tandem Kayak )

  • Additional mold-in center seat
  • Multiple footrest options
  • Made of polyethylene
  • Ideal for beginners and professionals
  • Adjustable backrest

If you are ready to gear up for the weekend, then the perfect sunset-painted kayak from Perception kayaks is the perfect tandem kayak for you. Designed and structured to be ideal for both beginners and ace kayak enthusiasts, the Rambler 13.5 can be rolled on lakes ocean bays light surf, or even slow-moving rivers.

Constructed to accommodate two paddlers, the tandem kayak has been equipped with adjustable padded seats that can adjusted to suit the person using the kayak. Roomy molded-in seat ensures easeness for the person using the kayak. Rear open storage is large enough for the paddlers to place their coolers and other kayaking gear.


  • Durable 
  • Easy to carry
  • Integrated seats for kids and dogs


  •  Too heavy

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4. Wilderness Systems Aspire ( Sit Inside Recreational Kayak )

  • Fully adjustable Phase 3 Air Pro seat
  • Stem deck bungee
  • Spacious cockpit
  • Adjustable skeg
  • Sealed storage

Sit-inside recreational kayaks are the all-time favorite kayaks for everyone who is associated with the sport. Imagine paddling in the most stylish midnight blue sit-inside kayak manufactured by professional kayak makers. Wilderness Systems' signature kayak in the most stylish form is this variant of Aspire 105.

Made of polyethylene, this kayak is highly sturdy and can withstand heavy wear and tear. The kayak is made to suit flat and lake waters along with being suitable for windy weather. Large padded footrests are equipped in the kayak to not cause any hardships to the paddlers. Trotta skeg with cockpit control provides control during rough winds and currents. The mesh fabric that is used to cover the kayak seat allows greater airflow to keep you comfortable throughout the expedition.


  • Rear oval storage hatch 
  • Padded footrests
  • Stable


  • Care needs to be taken while shipping

5. Driftsun Rover ( Inflatable Kayak )

  • Drop stitch floor
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Suitable for waves and winds

Driftsun Rover inflatable kayaks are the finest among their counterparts. The inflatable kayak is known for its maneuverability and suitability. Comfortably accommodating two paddlers, the inflatable kayak has a strong floor that is drop-stitched. The tandem inflatable kayak includes two paddles that are of premium quality.

Made of polyvinyl chloride, the inflatable kayak is rigid and ideal for all types of paddling. The kayak features a front & rear rocker profile to assist the rider in tracking. The kayak can effectively handle class three and class four rapids with ease. The Rover inflatable kayak includes all the essentials for paddling including two paddles, adjustable EVA seats, adjustable footrests, a fin, skeg, pump, and a travel backpack.


  • Speed control
  • Self-bailing ports
  • Front action camera mount


  • Chances of leakage

6. Aquaglide ( Inflatable Kayak )

  • Portable 
  • Lightweight
  • Velcro seat
  • Evobeam technology
  • Posi track fin

A recreational inflatable kayak that is suitable for all types of water. Innovative technology has been incorporated to make this inflatable kayak. Duratex construction which is done by using a fabric reinforced PVC promises stability throughout the paddling. 4 mesh drains for rapid water evacuation are present in the inflatable kayak.

Features include a Posi-track fin, velcro seat, and Halkey-Roberts type valve which escalates the value of the inflatable kayak. The velcro seat can be adjusted according to the height of the paddler. The kayak weighs low which makes it easy for porting the kayak. Storage backpack also arrives with the kayak.


  • Ideal for rapid waters
  • Easy portability
  • Easy to inflate


  • Chances of tears

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Types Of Whitewater Boats

Among the several types of kayaks, many enthusiasts prefer to choose their gear among the following ones. We have shortlisted the prominent types of whitewater kayaks.

1. River Runners

River runners are the prominent types of whitewater kayaks that are predominantly used for rivers. These kayaks are also used for surfing as the structure allows the kayaker to carry out the sport effortlessly. It is also considered to be the most versatile type of kayak. One exceptional property of river runners is their stability. The stability is achieved by the structure and design. This is one of the ideal picks for beginners and ace kayak enthusiasts.


Suitability : River runners are versatile runners that perform exceedingly well in all types of water bodies including whitewater. River runners can be confidently trusted by both beginners and expert kayakers as they perform exceedingly well with higher stability in all types of water.

Weight : Whitewaters are known for their force and turbulence. To survive in such water conditions, the kayaks must be of higher volume and strength. River runners are known for their volume, which keeps them floating without going down.

Length : River runners are longer than other variants of whitewater kayaks. This keeps river runners faster than other types of kayaks. Another advantage of river runners is that they provide better tracking.

3. Playboats

Playboats are mini whitewater kayaks that are used to perform tricks and freestyle plays in the waters. These playboats are usually preferred by expert kayak enthusiasts who possess complete knowledge of the sport. Playboats can be handled with ease by people who are aware of the techniques.


Foam padding :  Playboats are usually equipped with foam padding or airbags to keep the kayak floating in the waters. There are higher chances of the playboat kayak getting stuck in the water during the performance of tricks. To prevent any mishappenings, foam padding is present in most of the playboats.

Weight : Low weight is the main characteristic of playboats. Playboats are handled in waters to perform tricks and plays. The kayaker must be able to operate the kayak without any hindrances.

Length : Playboats are usually short in length. This short length of the kayak ensures that the kayak rolls easily in the water obeying the orders of the kayaker. 

3. Inflatable whitewater kayaks

As the name suggests, inflatable whitewater kayaks are specially designed for experiencing whitewater kayaking. Kayakers who are attracted to the thrilling experience of whitewater kayaking opt for inflatable whitewater kayaks as it carries enormous advantages.


Maneuverability : Inflatable kayaks are known for their sturdiness and durability which adds to the maneuverability. The kayaks are comfortable and can be pushed into the waters of any kind and turbulence.

Portability : For kayak enthusiasts who wish to experience kayaking in different waters, inflatable kayaks are the versatile options. Inflatable kayaks can be shipped effortlessly as they can be deflated and stored in the vehicle’s boot or a storage bag.

Weight : Inflatable kayaks usually weigh low as they are made easy to carry. This does not affect the durability and performance of these kayaks in the whitewater. 

4. Slalom Kayaks

If competitive slalom kayaking is your call, this is the perfect whitewater kayak. Challenging whitewater conditions can be confidently faced with slalom kayaks. Ensure to wear the right gear with the perfect kayaking clothes to enjoy slalom kayaking.


Length : Slalom kayaks are long to assist the person rolling the kayak to navigate faster in the whitewater. As slalom kayaks are mostly associated with sports, the length of the kayak is designed to be long and narrow to aid in the speed.

Volume : Slalom kayaks weigh less than other variants of kayaks to move down the competition gates effortlessly. Carbon fiber and glass fiber are the most preferred materials for slalom kayaks for their lightweight.

Durability : Although these kayaks weigh low it is highly durable and sturdy. The turbulence and the force of running whitewater are easily handled by the slalom kayaks. 

5. Tandem whitewater kayaks

Tandem kayaks are exclusively designed to accommodate two paddlers. If you are a kayaker looking to take your family or friends along to give them the thrilling experience of whitewater kayaking, you must invest in a tandem kayak. Tandem whitewater kayaks are lightweight and durable enough to hold the weight of two persons.


Volume : Tandem kayaks are constructed using materials that are durable and sturdy. This is done to ensure that the weight of both kayakers is managed effectively.

Length : Tandem whitewater kayaks are longer than other variants of kayaks as they must accommodate two persons comfortably. The length of the tandem kayaks ensures that there is enough room in the waters to handle the turbulence of the running whitewater.

Stability : Tandem whitewater kayaks are highly stable as they are structured and designed to carry the weight of two people. When on the waters, tandem whitewater kayaks move with great force without compensating for the safety of the paddlers. 

Things To Be Considered When Buying The Best Whitewater Kayaks

Material :  Materials used to make a kayak must be durable and sturdy. As whitewater is usually turbulent and hard to roll, the material decides your level of experience in the waters. So, choose the kayak made of the most durable material.

Volume : Weight of the kayak decides your performance on the waters. Choose the best whitewater kayaks that suit your type of kayaking. For instance, if you are looking to perform tricks on the waters, you must opt for a lightweight kayak. If you are looking for a more safe kayak, you can consider kayaks of higher volume as they prevent the kayak from going submerged in the waters.

Length : Length of the kayak decides the tracking and speed of the kayak. Short kayaks offer higher maneuverability. Longer kayaks can be preferred if you are looking for speed.

Cost : Each type of whitewater kayak varies in its cost. Not all whitewater kayaks are of the same price. Many factors such as the materials, length, and volume affect the cost of the kayak.

Brand : As kayaking involves higher risks, it is advisable to invest in reliable and trustworthy kayaks made by promising and professional brands. Though, there are many newcomers in the market, be sure to check for reviews from the buyers before making a purchase.

Wrap Up

Whitewater kayaking experience is incomparable when it is done with the right whitewater kayak that is suitable for you. Suitability highly depends on your personal needs and demands from a kayak. Also, the type of whitewater must be considered before you end up with a whitewater kayak. With the best whitewater kayaks, you will be able to go back home with the best memories filled with thrill and adventure. 

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