Whitewater Kayaking: The 8 Best Creek Boats on the Market
Built for speed, stability in rough water, and maneuverability, these high volume whitewater boats will allow you to step up your skills and carve through anything in your way. Whether you are new to the sport or ready to step up your skill level, a solid creek boat that fits your paddling style and body is essential.
When buying a boat, make sure you try it on for size. When you sit in a new boat for the first time, adjust your foot boards, knee position and back support. Any of the boats listed below would be great options, but remember to keep in mind what is most comfortable for you. Here are a few kayaks that the major brands in kayaking have on the market right now:
Mamba, DaggerThis beast of a boat is also great for heavier kayakers. It was named the Best Modern Creekboat by Rapid magazine in 2012, and it covers a wide range of paddling necessities for everyone from beginner to pro. If you see yourself moving on to some harder whitewater, the mamba will allow you to take your skills to the next level.
Hero Series, Jackson KayakIf you have never been in a whitewater kayak before, you might be the most comfortable in the Jackson Hero or Super Hero. The stability of these two makes them great boats to try a roll for the first time and understand the concept of trusting your edges on eddy turns. A little bit shorter than some high volume creek boats, the Hero is a great all around boat and the Super Hero can accommodate paddlers on the larger end of the spectrum- it’s ideal owner weighs 155-290 pounds.
Machno, PyranhaThe hull design of the Machno is what sets this boat apart. The more rigid edges allow for subtle control and maneuverability. This a perfect boat for someone who wants the ability to ferry across currents and surf some waves without losing the stability of a creek boat.
Zen, Jackson KayakThe Zen is a fast and streamlined creek boat loved by beginners and teachers alike. It’s good for T-rescues because the rocker (the arc of the hull that keeps the nose and end out of the water) is actually a little bit closer to the surface, allowing newbies without a roll to flip upright by grabbing on to their buddy’s Zen. It’s a great all around river runner and it will even allow some more advanced boaters to surf some waves.
Nomad, DaggerThe Nomad is another boat that will take care of you as progress as a paddler. It has a lot of the same great features as the Mamba, but it is built for a smaller person to maneuver and handle with ease. It’s a great boat to learn to boof, a stroke that pulls you over a drop to land flat.
Karma, Jackson KayakThe Karma is another great boat by Jackson geared towards the intermediate and advanced kayaker. It features a more intensely upward sloping rocker, making it great to boof. It will charge through almost any whitewater that will get in your way. It has a comfortable, roomy fit for your hips and knees and is incredibly stable and reliable.
Magnum, RiotCalling all petite paddlers—this is the boat for you. It’s a bit smaller than many creek boats but will still let you plug though holes and over waves. The Magnum is suggested for those 70-120 pounds and its counterpart the Mystic is good for 120-200. The edges are moderately defined on this boat, giving you more control in and out of eddies and through currents. Small boaters will be amazed at how much easier it is to maneuver a boat that actually fits!
Ripper Stout, PyranhaThe Ripper Stout has more rounded edges than the Burn, which makes it a little more forgiving and allows you to feel a little more secure as you push your skills. It’s slightly easier to roll and can resurface like a champ because of the high volume in the stern and bow.
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