How To Choose a Whitewater Kayak

Introduction To a Whitewater Kayak

Whitewater kayaking is a very intriguing sporting activity which basically entails paddling a kayak or canoe on moving water. In order to get the best out of the sporting activity, there is need to select the very best whitewater kayak. The proceeding discourse endeavors to shed some light on the subject matter of how to choose a whitewater kayak by highlighting and explaining the various factors to be looked into while so doing: whitewater kayak

Features and Outfitting

This is the manner in which the various parts and components of the whitewater kayaks are designed to discharge their duties and mandates. The key areas to be looked into under this consideration should be the cockpit, the bulkhead and the foot braces, frame construction and support, and spray skirts. This should ideally be done by comparing the specifications of various kayaks and then settling for the most suitable one.

Kayak Performance Characteristics

This is a measure of how the kayak is more likely to perform in water. It is determined by a number of parameters such as looseness on the wave which measures the ease with which the kayak may spin while surfing a wave; aerial tricks which is the ability of the kayak to leave the water surface; acceleration which is basically the rate of change of the speed of the kayak with time; length of the kayak; and the safety features that are designed to safeguard the occupants from injuries and fatalities including such issues as boat impacts, retrieval of the boat, and quick evacuations of the boat e.t.c.

Paddling Styles

kayak paddle types

This refers to the nature of the water in which the kayak is to be used. There are three main types of whitewater kayaks on the basis of this consideration. These are play boats which are ideal for moderate to high flow rivers and waves; river runners that are generally suited for high volume rivers and shallow runs; and creek boats that are suited for steep, rocky environment, and technical waters.


It is the measure of the curvature of the kayak from the bow to the stern as viewed from one side. The more rocker a kayak has, the more swiftly it is bound to spin and the easier with which it moves through rapids and waves and vice versa.

Hull Shape

kayak hulls

This is the shape of the main component of the kayak in which the riders are seated. There are two types of shapes namely planning hulls that are generally flat and displacement hulls that are generally rounded. Planning hulls are generally stable, easy to tilt, maneuver and steer as compared to displacement hulls.


This is the amount of money for which the kayak is to be bought. The exact amount of money a prospective user is willing to part with is largely determined by the financial endowment at his disposal. It is therefore necessary for every prospective user to conduct a thorough due diligence to ascertain the precise kayak that suits his financial strength.


It is important to note, that the aforementioned tips on how to choose a Whitewater Kayak are by no means conclusive since there are innumerable other parameters which, owing to space constraints, could not be fully enumerated but which are nonetheless equally important.

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Choosing The Perfect Kayak For You

With so many types of kayaks in the market, you may find it a challenge to choose the perfect one for you. Most people do not take time to choose the best kayak for them, hence the reason for lack of success in their water activities. Buy the right peddling equipment and your water ventures will be like a walk in the park. Consider these factors to choose the perfect kayak for you.

Purpose of the Kayak


Kayaks are designed for different purposes. There are those for peddling in creeks, shallow rivers, small lakes or seas. If you are planning to peddle in small water bodies, choose simple equipment like a recreational kayak. This boat is designed for light uses in still waters. On the other hand, if you are planning to hit large water bodies, you will have to choose better-performing equipment like a touring kayak. This equipment is designed to overcome water waves and currents.

Size of Kayak

kayak sizes

Most kayaks are short and wide or long and narrow. Short kayaks are 9-12 feet long while long kayaks are 16-18 feet long. The narrowest boat can measure 21 inches while widest 26 inches. Choose a shorter and wider boat if you want to enjoy a slower and more stable peddling. The smaller boats are easier to turn and thus perfect for beginners. If you are looking for a faster and more efficient kayak, choose a longer and narrower one. There is another category of kayaks called cross-over, which lies in the middle of short and long kayaks. You may consider choosing this boat if you can’t find a perfect fit in the short and long categories.

Kayak Construction

Most kayaks are made of plastic. If you have a tight budget, consider choosing these boats because they are inexpensive. The plastic boats are also durable, require little maintenance and provide good performance. Other kayak materials include airalite and composite. Boats made of composite materials cost more and are vulnerable to damage, but are lighter than plastic and airalite boats. Airalite is fabricated plastic material. Kayaks made of airalite have better qualities than those made of real plastic. Choose a composite or airalite kayak if you are serious with the water activity.

Kayak Features


Some kayaks lack important features. So be carefully to choose a well-equipped boat. Choose the right shape and size of the features and you will always perform better with your boat. A perfect kayak has these features: hull, hull rocker, cockpit, coaming, seats, foot pegs, thigh braces, hatches skeg and rudder. Hull shape is an important thing to consider. Ensure your recreational boat has a flat-bottom hull or your touring boat has a v-shaped hull. There is also a rounded hull, which is found in a day touring kayak. Whitewater kayaks are another option.

Special-application Kayaks

If you are planning to carry out other activities such as diving and fishing while kayaking, you may consider choosing a specialized boat like sit-on-top (SOT). SOT boats are also ideal for warm water applications. Another special-application equipment is the folding kayak. You can store this boat in your large bag. If you are planning to take annual kayaking trips, you may find this boat the best choice.

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