WhiteWater Kayak Review For Beginners & Pros

Whitewater Kayaks are designed specifically for the unique challenges of paddling rough, fast water. If you live in an area with good whitewater paddling and you plan to partake in this sport then a dedicated whitewater kayak is the best option.

Do not try to use a fishing or recreational kayaks for whitewater kayaking as it may turn out to be disastrous so, the right equipment must be used for the sport.

For a beginner, kayaking can prove to be quite difficult and tricky because of the narrow dimension of kayaks and because of the use of a double bladded paddle. In view of these challenges, BestKayak.ORG have here a careful selection of kayaks suitable for beginners who are interested in whitewater kayaking.

What to consider when choosing a whitewater kayak for a beginner

1. The length of a kayak is a high point of note when it comes to whitewater kayaking. Longer boats do not turn fast but they track straighter and can be paddled at higher speeds (like in rapids) more efficiently than shorter ones of the same type.

2. Wider boats have more rotational stability. If you are worried about being tipped over, wider boats are the best choice for getting in or out of the boat. The downside of wider boats is that the wider hull creates more drag and friction thus slowing you down and adds extra work to the trip since one then requires more frequent paddles for better propulsion.

3. Deep kayaks have hulls that are way above the water line; they sit high in the water. They are the best for someone who desires more legroom or space to stretch the knees while paddling. However, one has to consider also that the higher the hull profile the easier it is for the boat to catch the wind.


List of the Best Whitewater Kayaks for Beginners


Emotion Glide Beginner Kayak

Emotion Guide Whitewater Kayak

emotion glide kayak review image

  • Type: Sit in/ Single person
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • Capacity: 275 lbs
  • Length: 9.5 ft 8in.
  • Other features: Comfortable padded seat and Roto-Molded UV-Protected Linear Polyethylene

This kayak is small, lightweight, agile and it avails the paddler a lot of control. It is ready to paddle fast water, rivers, or narrow passages providing a wide variety of options.

As a result of its short length, this kayak will not be quite as good at paddling longer, straight trips as a lengthy boat. At just over 9 feet long it is just suitable for a good tracking, but short enough to be one of the agilest kayaks.

It has the Ledge Lock Paddle Keeper molded into the side of the boat for easy paddle storage. It holds the paddle with a shock cord lashing. On the deck, both bow and stern, there is a ton of deck lashing. This is an important characteristic for smaller because of the space factor. Note that the Emotion Glide kayak does not have a dry storage on it, which would have been a great addition.

This kayak is a great choice for someone who is in search for the best cheap beginner kayak made with quality in mind.

CLICK HERE TO BUY Emotion Guide KAYAK On Amazon

2. Liquidlogic Remix XP10

Type: River runner
Weight: 49 lbs
Capacity: 250-300 lbs
Length: 10 ft. 3 in.

This boating device is a great choice for a beginner as an entry-level boat. It carries speed across flat calm lakes and slow moving rivers, suitable for roll practice and ready for rapids.
Remix XP10 has a feature which is the ‘Skeg’ which is very similar to a rudder. It drops down for straight line cruising in the flats and also pulls up in a typical whitewater.

Gears can be packed in its back hatch making the kayak suitable also for cruising and camping.

CLICK HERE See What Other People About Liquidlogic Remix XP10 KAYAK

3. Dagger Mamba

A picture of the dagger mamba kayak
Type: River runner
Weight: 43 – 50 lbs.
Length: 7 ft. 6 in. – 8 ft. 7 in.

The Dagger Mamba is an interesting choice for an ambitious beginner and can grow with the user as he progresses into more demanding whitewater and it comes in so many fun colors. It is not the fastest boat there is but it is forgiving and possesses great maneuverability. It is also wide and stable making it easy to move on water.

Mamba is a big water superstar and therefore the boat of choice for many of the best sportsmen. Its prototype was used to descend the highest volume whitewater in the world. This kayak comes in different sizes and one must take care to choose one that is just the right size and not too big because of things like edge transitions.

CLICK HERE To Check The Price Of Dagger Mamba KAYAK

4.Jackson Zen

Type: Creeker/River runner
Weight: 36 lbs
Length: 7 ft. 11 in.

The Jackson Zen has a flat and narrow hull profile that affords it a lot of speed. Its shape allows it to break in and out of currents easily and learn how to roll but its narrowness also makes it a little more tilty or unstable.
Using this boat, beginners will have more tendency to flip or tip over more often but on the bright side provides an opportunity for a beginner to learn his balancing skills more easily.

Steve Fisher is a whitewater kayaking legend recently traveled to one of his old favorite paddling areas (River Zambezi) and boat of choice was the Zen.

CLICK HERE To Read More About Jackson ZEN KAYAK

5.Jackson STAR Series

Type: Freestyle
Weight: 29 lbs
Length: 5 ft. 7 in.

The boats have great speed, easy to surf and to pop off the wave into the air.
Although the freestyle design is produced by most manufacturers in the industry, Jackson Kayaks always has the fastest and most forgiving freestyle kayak designs in the market. They make learning new tricks easier and even when mistakes are made during paddling, one will most likely not get flushed from the hole or wave that one is paddling.


The volume of the boat is superb for one paddling in heavy whitewater and has to stay in line.
Jackson Star Series have their kayaks closest to the ideal suitable designs from the entry-level boats to the professional ones.

CLICK HERE To Read More About Jackson Star Series KAYAK


With these varieties to choose from, a whitewater kayaking beginner cannot go wrong.

Hello, I am John. A certified kayak trainer in the U.S. This blog was put together to document the kayaks and other product I use or come about when Kayaking, skiing, hiking, camping and engaging in other outdoor activities. I live in Colorado with my wife an two children.

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