Best Whitewater Kayak Reviews 2022 – Creek, River running, Playboating

Ever wanted to go for white water kayaking? If not then, this is the best time to go for a white water kayaking. White water kayaking is incredibly fun and entertaining. However, it requires you to get different types of kayaks than usual recreational kayaks. In this post, we are going to talk about some of the best whitewater kayaks on the market.

Whitewater kayaking requires different types of design and functionality to withstand the harsh water. We have already done the research to help you find the best white water kayaks. Follow the best white water kayak reviews and find the perfect whitewater kayak for you.

Best Whitewater Kayak Reviews 2022

BLUJackson Kayak Rock Star 4.04.8River PlayBuy From Backcountry
Dagger kayakDagger Mamba 8.64.8River RunningBuy From Backcountry
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q? encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B07B8C81WX&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format= SL110 &tag=kayakbase 20ir?t=kayakbase 20&l=am2&o=1&a=B07B8C81WXDriftsun Rover4.8River Runningbuy button
1367 22310 1Liquid Logic Remix XP 104.8River Running
White water
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q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B007AR3ENG&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=kayakbase 20ir?t=kayakbase 20&l=li1&o=1&a=B007AR3ENGAdvanced Elements Attack4.3River RunningBuy Button
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river running
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q? encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B00PUEA14Q&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format= SL110 &tag=kayakbase 20ir?t=kayakbase 20&l=am2&o=1&a=B00PUEA14QDagger Kayaks Axis 10.5 Kayak4.8River Runningbuy button
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00QJ9YNJK&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=kayakbase 20ir?t=kayakbase 20&l=li1&o=1&a=B00QJ9YNJKSea Eagle SE300X Explorer Inflatable Kayak4.6River RunningBuy Button
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01A5HBDLM&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=kayakbase 20ir?t=kayakbase 20&l=li1&o=1&a=B01A5HBDLMDagger Axiom Kayak 8.54.8Downriver Freestyle KayakBuy Button

Mamba Creeker 8.6

Dagger Mamba 8.6 Kayak 2020

The Dagger mamba line has been serving the creek boating community for a while. This famous white water kayak line got a major overhaul in 2012, and they introduced the Dagger Mamba 8.6 to replace the 8.5. This small change actually made it a great whitewater kayak for larger kayakers. This is one of the water kayaks on the market that can handle almost anything thrown at it. It uses linear polyethylene hull that can handle rock boofs and other impacts that you come across. This 8 ft 6-inch long white water kayak has a 27.5 inches width and weighs only 51 lbs (23 KG). Also, it has a volume of 89gal. This 89-gallon volume offers an excellent buoyancy for shallow creeks.

Dagger Mamba 8.6 kayak features a bulkhead foot brace that helps prevent injuries during rough run-ins. Its tank-style seat with the leg lifter will keep you in control. Also, the hip pads will enhance comfort while crossing the rough section of the river. You can buy the Dagger Mamba 8.6 kayak in two colors: Aurora & Aqua Fresh.

Notable Features:

  • Great white water kayak for beginners
  • Linear polyethylene hull can handle tough rocks and other impacts
  • The 89-gallon volume offers high buoyancy for shallow creeks
  • Available in two stylish kayaks
  • Bulkhead foot brace prevents injuries
  • Tank-style seat with lift lifter keeps the kayaker in control
  • Hip pads enhance comfort during the tough section of the river
  • 8ft 6in long design
  • 27.5in width
  • Great for river paddling/creek

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Orange River running inflatable kayak

Driftsun Rover 120/220 River Running Kayak (Solo or Tandem)

Driftsun Rover 120/220 is one of the best river running kayaks on the market. 1000D reinforced layered PVC side tubes and heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom ensures that it provides great protection from punctures. Like many other inflatable kayaks, it takes around five minutes to inflate it into a full-sized kayak fully. The dimension of this kayak is 8.5’(L) x 36”(W) x 13”(H). It weighs 22 lbs and has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. Three chambers design of two side chambers and one-floor chamber ensures great stability.

Some of the features include Rigid high-pressure drop stitch floor, removable flatwater tracking fin, ample rocker profile., and more. The ample rocker profile ensures that it can deliver unmatched stability and control in choppy water. Driftsun Rover 120 is best to be used on class III and IV Rapids. There are five self-bailing ports, plentiful tie-down points for gear, and front action camera mount. The design of this kayak is exceptional and tested by an expert team of seasoned paddlers.

You will get a removable/adjustable EVA padded seat with high back support, footrest, hand pump, tracking skeg, and carry bag in the package. In a nutshell, this river running kayak is great for both thrill-seekers and casual paddlers. It got all the necessary features to cut through rough water.


  • 1000D reinforced layered PVC side tuber
  • Heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom prevents punctures
  • Weighs 22 lbs & maximum weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • It takes around five minutes to inflate
  • Removable flatwater tracking fin
  • Rocker profile ensure great stability and control in rough flat water
  • Suitable for: III and IV rapids
  • EVA padded seat and high back support
  • 2-Piece aluminum kayak paddle
  • High-pressure drop stitch floor


  • A little bit heavy (22 lbs)

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Riot Kayaks Astro 58 Whitewater Playboating Kayak

Riot Kayaks Astro 58 Whitewater Playboating Kayak

This is a dynamic freestyle playboat kayak which is intended to be used by the intermediate to advanced level kayakers. From surfing to vertical moves, this kayak is a fine option for different freestyle moves. It has a length of 6.3 feet and weighs only 38.4 pounds.

It has been designed in such a way to make sure that everything goes right on the water. The cockpit, hull surface is designed properly for better performance. The unity seating system makes sure you sit properly.

There are Suregrip thigh braces to protect damages to your thigh. These thigh braces are to provide fit, comfort, and control. Due to the thigh braces, controlling the kayak is much easier than ever. The design of Riot Kayaks Astro 58 and the high-performance contour fit allows you to do easy rolling with advanced maneuvers.

One of the best White water playboarding kayaks


  • Thigh braces for better control
  • High-performance contour fit
  • beveled size edges
  • great design for playboating
  • Unity seating system
  • Good stability and maneuverability
  • Possible for Advanced maneuvers
  • easy to spin while surfing a wave
  • Carry handles on front and rear for easy carrying


  • Available in red color only

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Liquid Logic Remix XP10 Kayak

Liquid Logic Remix XP 10 Kayak

From the early 2000s, Liquid Logic has brought some of the best white water kayaks of the generation. Their obsession with perfection allowed them to make the Remix XP10 one of the best most suitable kayaks for both river-running and white water. Remix XP10 bridges the gap between the river running and whitewater kayaking. Liquidlogic took the challenge and made this possible.

Liquidlogic Remix XP10 is a ten feet and three inches long kayak which weighs only 49 pounds. Polyethylene is used to make the kayak. As a result, the hull can resist abrasion and impact. Its V-shaped hull with the waterline and channelized design improves the speed of the Remix XP 10 on lakes, ponds, and slow moving water/rivers. Remix XP 10 comes with an integral skeg which enhances the tracking in rivers. However, once the skeg is removed, the Remix XP 10 offers the sharp agility you need to excel on the whitewater.

The seat of the XP 10 comes with polypropylene honeycomb fabric which creates a comfortable pad with two layers of support. Its contoured support is amazing. What’s more, the seat is UV and water resistant which will drain the water very quickly, vent the moisture, and enough cushion to enhance comfort on the water. So, if you paddle for a very long time, you won’t get the fatigue of sitting for a long time. On top of that, the seat also comes with adjustable hip pads and thigh braces.

If you love to go kayaking for a very long time like a week, you will need to carry a lot of stuff. Remix XP 10 comes tons of storage options for kayakers like us. You can take advantage of the dry storage compartment situated behind the seat. It is easy to access and allows you to keep your electronic gears and clothes. The console can store water bottles, and you can remove it to access the storage space in the bow. Also, the bungee rigging on both and stern can store accessories. Also, the Remix XP 10 features cockpit which offers great support and safety that you can only expect from a top-notch kayak.

In a nutshell, this is an excellent cross-over kayak for river-running and whitewater. No matter your ability level, you can completely rely on this kayak from Liquid Logic.

Length: 10 ft 3 inches
Weight: 49 lbs
Maximum weight capacity: 300 lbs
Material: Polyethylene

  • Excellent for all newbies and intermediate kayakers
  • Great for both river-running and whitewater
  • All-rounder kayak
  • Tough polyethylene hull which resists abrasion and impact
  • Removable skeg for enhanced tracking
  • Once the skeg is removed, provides agile movement in whitewater
  • Dry-storage on the rear hatch
  • UV and water resistant, comfortable seat
  • Polypropylene honeycomb fabric in seat and backrest for extra comfort
  • Adjustable hip pads on the seat
  • Adjustable foot pegs
  • Bungee rigging on bow and stern to store more items and accessories
  • Bow and stern handles for easy carrying

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Inflatable white water kayak

Advanced Elements Attack Whitewater Kayak

Gone are days when only hardshell kayaks are used for whitewater kayaking. This amazing whitewater inflatable kayak can easily take-on harsh marine environments. Advanced Elements used 840 denier PVC tarpaulin to manufacture this kayak. The double-layer PVC construction, along with the welded seams, ensures that you get a high-quality product.

This nine feet and 6 inches kayak weighs 34 lbs and has a maximum weight capacity of 235 lbs. The wider width allows better stability of the kayak. 840 Denier PVC tarpaulin is used to make this kayak. Advanced Elements used three different chambers in this kayak. You will find a series of self-bailing ports in this kayak.

It comes with an adjustable seat which provides a good amount of comfort to the paddler. The stern deck covered cargo bar can be used to store gear or a drybag. When not in use, you can use the duffel carrying bar to carry the kayak. You can also use the molded rubber handles on the bow and stern to carry the kayak. To summarize, it is an excellent inflatable kayak for white water purpose.


  • Can be used by all skill levels of kayaker
  • Up to class III river
  • Great for day trips
  • Dual-layer PVC construction with welded seams
  • Three air chambers
  • Durable 840 denier PVC tarpaulin
  • Wider width improves the stability
  • The adjustable seat offers good comfort
  • Hull abrasion rails
  • Stern deck covered cargo bay for storing a drybag or other gear
  • Bright color acts as a safety
  • Molded rubber handle in bow and stern for carrying purpose

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inflatable Whitewater kayak

AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak

Aire is a proud American company specializing in making inflatable vessels for choppy waters. Tomcat Solo is an excellent kayak for fun looking white water explorers. It has a length of 10 ft 3 inches and weighs only 32 lbs. The rugged PVC outer shell along with the vinyl bladder makes this little inflatable kayak suitable for the whitewater. 30 ounce/500 denier outer PVC tubes, 32 ounce/1000 denier outer PVC floor, and Airtight 20-gauge inner vinyl bladder is used to make this inflatable whitewater kayak. Aire used double top-stitched seams for better durability. The abrasion and tear-resistant PVC outer shell plus the welded seams enclose the rugged vinyl Airecell inner bladder.

There are three air chambers with Summit II valves to ensure better safety. These valves make inflation and deflation easy. As you can see in the picture, it comes with an inflatable thwart seat. It provides great back support and can be adjusted according to your choice. This fine inflatable whitewater kayak is available in three different vibrant colors: Lime, Blue, and Teal. You will find 12 pairs of cargo loops where you can attach dry bags, thigh straps, and other gears & accessories. Sturdy handles can be found at bow and stern for easy carry.

Length: 10 ft 3 inches
Width: 36″
Weight: 32 lbs
Material: 500 denier outer PVC


  • Three air chamber design for safety
  • Rugged PVC outer shell
  • Airtight 20-gauge inner vinyl bladders
  • High-quality Summit II valves used which offer easy inflation and deflation
  • Self-bailing floor
  • Mesh drainage system
  • 12 pairs of cargo loops to attach dry bags, gears, accessories, and more
  • D-ring on bow and stern
  • Sturdy handles on bow and stern for carrying
  • Adjustable inflatable seat
  • Available in three colors

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Dagger Nomad Large Kayak

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Dagger Nomad 2016 is the upgraded version of the popular Nomad series kayak. Dagger Nomad Kayak is one of the best creek kayaks on the market. A lot of world-famous paddlers have trusted the Dagger Nomad series for a long time. Since Dagger Nomad is specially built for creek purpose, people who love creek kayaking has a special interest and love for Dagger Nomad.

Dagger Nomad Kayak is available in three different sizes: small, medium and large.  It offers excellent durability, stability, and performance. The three sizes make sure that paddlers of any size can get benefitted from this kayak series. No matter how big the water is, or how narrow the chutes is, it got you covered.

The new model has decreased the stern rocker to increase the speed.  You even get to do better controlling via the slightly increased edges (new models have the edges, not the previous model). You can grab the edges to have better stability and control via the edges.


  • Contour Ergo outfitting system
  • Updated hull for better speed and maneuverability
  • Excellent stability and speed
  • Added volume and reshaped Stern offers better resurfacing
  • Added volume to say kayak on top of the water
  • Stylish design with color


  • Expensive

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Dagger Axiom Kayak

Dagger Axiom is a renowned downriver freestyle whitewater kayak. It comes in three versions: Axiom 8.0, Axiom 8.5, Axiom 9.0. This white water kayak is specially built and designed for river play and surfing. Though regular paddling can be done, the primary purpose of this kayak is whitewater river running.

Dagger Axiom kayaks are a good option for intermediate kayakers who are progressing to be a pro paddler. The edge of the kayak is to provide better controlling of the kayak. Dagger Axiom is a fantastic option for steep creeks, big water waves.

Dagger Axiom is a great downriver freestyle kayak for Intermediate paddlers.

Dagger Axiom kayak comes in several sizes. You can pick the right sizes and start to thrive in the water. You can check different axiom kayaks at Amazon.


  • Security grab handles for better security and stability
  • Very stable
  • Freestyling is very easy
  • Very comfortable to play on big water waves
  • Thigh Braces
  • Contour hip pads can be adjusted


  • Expensive

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Sea Eagle SE300X Explorer Inflatable Kayak, Pro Package review

Sea Eagle S300X Explorer Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle S300 X is a fantastic inflatable kayak for whitewater rafting. Sea Eagle S300X comes with rugged 100 Denier Reinforced material for excellent durability.

Sea Eagle S300X can be used for whitewater rafting by one person. The whitewater rating of this kayak is Class IV. The kayak itself has a weight of 28 lbs, and the maximum capacity of this kayak is 350 lbs.

There are three chambers in this inflatable whitewater kayak. The chambers are in port, starboard, and floor. It uses three recessed one-way air valve to protect air from leaking.

Sea Eagle S300X is undoubtedly one of the best Inflatable Whitewater kayaks in the market.

There are also 16 drain valves for a super-fast-self-bailing in white water. The SE300X Explorer kayak comes with great portability. You can store this in the trunk of your car. It even comes with a removable slide skeg for better tracking on open water.

SE300X is very durable, thanks to the light yet super strong 1000 Denier polyester-supported high-pressure fabric. You can take advantage of the stern storage bag for a longer trip.


  • High-durability with 1,000 Denier polyester-supported high-pressure fabric
  • Three chambers [ Port, Starboard, and floor]
  • Quick inflation time: takes 5 minutes to inflate
  • 16 drain valves
  • 3 one way air valves
  • Whitewater rating Class IV
  • Tall back seat
  • Stern storage bag


  • Carrying bag is awkward

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best lightweight inflatable kayak Innova Helios EX

Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak

One of the best inflatable white water kayak. Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak is a top-notch kayak for class III river rating. Innova Safari is made of 1200-denier Nitrylon for high durability.

Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak comes with a highly visible red color. So it is very easy to spot Innova Safari kayak for safety. Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak offers a lot of features. Innova Safari has a Class III river rating.

This inflatable whitewater kayak comes with a removable fin. It weighs 24 lbs, and the maximum capacity is 220 lbs.

It’s comfortable, comes with wide capabilities, portability, thigh straps, drybag backpacks and technical paddling for whitewater.


  • High-durability with 1200-denier nitrylon
  • A wide range of capabilities
  • Whitewater Class III rating
  • Drybag Backpack
  • Removable fin
  • God portability
  • High visibility


  • Slightly expensive

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What is White Water Kayaking?

The name is self-explanatory. It means kayaking in white water (Whitewater is fast moving water). In this kayaking format, you will use a specialized kayak for kayaking in fast white water. There are several classes of white water which defines how fast the water is. There are several classes of white water which varies from class 1 to class 6. Class 1 being the easiest while the Class 6 is most difficult.

How To Choose The Best Whitewater kayak?

As we have told, white water kayaks are different than typical kayaks. Even though you can use these white water kayaks on normal water, you can’s take a regular kayak on the white water. That will be a very dangerous thing to do, and you might get hurt while doing so. We will point out some points on choosing a right white water kayak for you.


The toughness of whitewater is classified into six classes. Class I being the easiest, and the class VI being the toughest.


While choosing a whitewater kayak, you need to grab one which offers high durability. It also depends on the class rating of the river you are planning to kayak


Creek boating, playboating, down river, freestyler or other. You need to know what types of whitewater kayaking you are referring. For example, Creek Boating will require a different kayak and so will for freestyle kayaking.

Hardshell or Inflatable

Both inflatable and hardshell kayaks are available for white water. It is you who will decide the material of the whitewater kayak. Note that hard shell kayak is better regarding benefits and efficiencies on the water. Hardshells are usually more durable than inflatable kayaks. However, inflatable kayaks have an upper hand when manageability is a crucial issue. You can easily store and transport an inflatable kayak.

Final Verdict

Kayaking on whitewater is challenging, enjoying and risky. If you are already kayaking for a while, and now want to start exploring the white water, you need to be careful when choosing your kayak. You need to realize that life is more valuable than few bucks and act like that. Choose the one which fulfills your need, and makes you able to thrive in the rapid. If you love playboating, I would suggest the Riot Kayaks Astro 58. Check Dagger Axiom for river running and Nomad by Dagger for creek.

We will continue to add more whitewater kayaks on this list. Meanwhile, you can share your favorite whitewater kayaks with us in the comments section below. Safety is the most important issue when you are going for whitewater kayaking, and one of the essential gear to take is your kayaking helmet.

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Afsar is an avid kayak blogger born near the coast. He has a passion for kayaking and started as a child. He has paddled in various conditions and locations and promotes responsible kayaking. Afsar's blog is widely read, and they are a respected voice in the kayaking community, offering valuable content on kayaking trips, gear, tips, and tricks. Afsar collaborates with other bloggers and brands and continues to inspire others through their writing and social media.

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