Advice on kayak purchases

While we have a dozen kayaks hanging in garages around the country they are all relics of the past (Big Foot, Corsica, etc). We have only done limited whitewater boating the last ten years waiting for my son to get older. The technology has clearly improved. We are interested in purchasing three kayaks this season and would appreciate your advice. Here are the details.

Eric: 6’3", 210 lbs, 36" inseam, size 12 foot, class V river runner, desire for a high performance playboat so that I can maximize fun on every hole and wave while kayaking with my family. Performance more important than comfort.

Mary: 5’8", 120 lbs, 32" inseam, size 10 foot. Class IV river runner, all around boat for running river and playing on waves and small holes. Comfort is important.

Connor: 13 years, 5’2", 105 lbs. Beginner, Good athelete, hopes to progress quickly, all around boat with ability to play, a boat that he can grow into physically and performance.

try boatertalk

– Last Updated: Mar-30-06 12:21 PM EST –

Lots of folks over there will have ideas for you. Not as many folks here do whitewater, so I think you'll get a lot more input over there.

I think you'll find folks there to ask you the right questions too about what you really are looking for, because a class IV/V river runner is usually not the same as a high performance playboat (although there are probably a handful of paddlers who can take a dedicated playboat down class V). It may be that you're looking for two boats - one to run big water (but maybe has some play, so not a pure creeker), and then a dedicated playboat. Just something to keep in mind.

Happy shopping!


High Performance Playboats
are definitely not good river runners,and many are not suited to tall or heavy people (say over 6’2" or 200lbs) especially if there is any paddling to be done between play spots. WW boats today are highly specialized critters that are more and more being designed for the 'park and play ’ crowd. Best bet is to find a well informed and stocked WW boat dealer so you can try out some different models and get some good guidance.

If you’re running class V…
You’re probably a much better whitewater paddler than most of the people here including myself. There are hundreds of great playboats out there and it’s tough to recommend any unless you give us your price range, goals, etc. Are you looking for stalls and cartwheels mostly (long and slicey playboats) or loops and aerial tricks (short and volumous playboat)? At your size, among the newer models, a Jackson Superstar or a Wavesport Project 60 might work. Of course there are tons of older playboats which would also work well such as the Wavesport Big EZ, Dagger G-force 6.3, etc.

Your wife might do well in a river runner such as a Riot Booster 50, Liquid Logic Lil Joe, Dagger GT, etc.

For your son, the Jackson Fun series might be the best fit for him. The Wavesport EZG 42 would be nice as well for a river running playboat.

Ditto on what everyone
said regarding Class 5 and i hesitate to comment because it is not an river class I dare consider travelling in. For that type of water i would recommend some sort of creek boat and ditto the referreal to Boatertalk. Even class 4 is something i am very wary of mentionning for your middle person. Lots of boats out there for river running in class 4 but am thinking of higher volume boats which includes creek boats again. Some manufactures to check include Wavesport, Liquid logic, Jackson, Pyranha and Dagger and Bliss Stick, there are others. Dagger Mamba is popular as is Wavesport Diesel. See you downstream; actually if you are constantly doing class 4 and 5 - probably not.

My recommendations
From your post I assume you are interested in new boats and are not on a tight budget. For Mary, I recommend the Dragorossi Pintail. It is probably the best river runner out there now with significant play capacity. And NRS has them on sale for $1150 plus shipping. They also have one in pink! For Connor I agree with the recommendation of a Jackson Fun in the appropriate size. When he outgrows it you can easily sell it and either get a bigger Fun or something else. It is a great boat to learn in. For Eric, it is hard to make a recommendation since there are few playboats of the appropriate size and it is hard to predict what will work of the few that are available. I have a friend your size who regularly does class IV and has a Jackson Superstar. If you are really mostly interested in playing you should at least try one out. If you are more interested in big water or creeking then look at the Jackson Superhero or the Wave Sport Diesel. If you really intend to do class V, then you need a modern creek boat. I would never make a boat recommendation to someone else for that. Class V is serious enough that you should try out every boat out there.

my 2 cents as someone that has never done whitewater but very successfully took a course taught by hardcore whitewater guys, I think a wavesport Diesel 75 would fit Eric pretty good and would be an excellent creeker/river runner. high volume very boyant boat, i’m 6’1 and 180 lbs and it fit me well and still had 2-3 holes left on the foot adjustment.The instructor said he is impressed with the boat.Though my guess is its probably not suitable for most serious play moves a classV kayaker may want to do.

Dr disco if that is your real name.
I am betting you are corran addison, cause the real doctor was saying only awhile ago that the Booster was the best. And hows about the gdg2 or whom ever says the Jackson Something is the best. Who am i to believe.

I am the real Dr_Disco
The Booster is a great boat and I recommend it for someone starting out who also intends to buy a used boat. It is an older design and readily available on the used market. But for someone with more experience and class IV paddling goals I think the Pintail is a better choice if you can afford new. As to who to believe between g2d and me, the answer is obvious. G2d is an old fart stuck in the past. :slight_smile:

Tom Conner

(also an old fart but mired in the future)