Airhead Performance Kayaks

The Airhead Performance inflatable kayaks (not their recreational models) have some appeal because they look like they are built out of materials comparable with a higher end Sevylor or higher end Sea Eagle, but are substainally less expensive than something like an Innova or even the Sevylor or Sea Eagles. But have not had much luck with getting feedback from anyone that has actually used them. Has anyone here had experience with them?

The one comment I have heard is that the floor is sewn in and can let water in at the floor seams. But if this is the only problem I would think that could be corrected with seam sealer or seam tape.

Any help evaluating these kayaks would be appreciated.


I’ve considered the solo version …
for mellower whitewater/flatwater use (not self-bailing). It sounds like the materials must be tougher than a Tahiti and maybe the Orange Orange Topedo, but those have a long track record as being pretty reliable for the cheap price. I lucked out and got a great deal on some slightly ued Sevylor River X/ XK1’s – for non-whitewater use, the XK2 would be a little more versatile and a bit faster (but it’s also quite a bit heavier and even bulkier). They’re supposed to come with plugs for the self-bailing holes for when you wan them. The River X/ XK1/ XK2 are built very tough, far superior to probably anything in the sub-$500 market. 1000 denier polyester-reinforced PVC with separate PVC bladders zipped inside. Cheap valves, but they’re very easy to replace if needed.

Best price on new ones I found:

Was this what you were thinking? Might be somewhere between Sevylor Tahiti and a River X series, but closer to the former – but I’ve never seen one in person:

Have you seen the video at lower left on:

Performance series clarification
Thanks for the reply. Airhead makes two series of inflatable kayaks: a recreational series that is much like the Sevylor Tahiti (, and a more expensive, performance series, one (

The rec. series is made out of a vinyl of about the same thickness as Tahiti. The per. series is suposed to be made out of more durable fabric. Their web site states:

  • All 3 air chambers are completely enclosed by rugged 840-denier nylon with UV and water-resistant coatings
  • Durable tri-laminate reinforcements on the bottom for a lifetime of use

    So it sounds to me like it might be more comparable to the river x series from Sevylor.

    I was hoping to find someone that had tried them that could give some first hand input as to how well they worked compared to some of the other more expensive inflatables.

i own two of them
and for what i use them for would buy them again…what i have is what you would refer to as the performance models…30 mil inners wrapped with 840 nylon…these ARE NOT a class 5 whitewater boat…i have used them in class 4 which is pushing it…however i allow my daughters to run up to class 3 (the reason i bought them) they are almost bomb proof in water to this level…i have used more expensive ik’s and if you need a class 5 self bailer these will not fill the bill…if you are looking for something to get the kids started on whitewater don’t think dollar for dollar you can beat them

Flat water comparison?
Thanks for your imput.

Actually I wasn’t interested in them so much for white water except very occainsionally and probably no more than class 2 rapids. But I was thinking of them more for general purpose use and flat water paddling most of the time.

I’m wondering how they compare for open water paddling vs. some of the more expensive inflatables.

Do they track reasonably well?

How much comparable effort does it take to paddle them at the same speed as some of the more expensive inflatables?

Are as dry, drier, or wetter on flat water?

the tracking is
reasonable for an ik but unless your paddling very casual expect to get a little wet…I don’t know your reason behind chosing an inflatable for still water but I have owned or paddled stearns,seyvlor,nrs and aire to name off the top of my head…I have never paddled an ik that i was pleased with in stillwater…i’m in south central ky if your close and want to try one let me know…

Inflatable = transportable
My reason for wanting an inflatable is ease of storage and transportation. I used to have a skin over frame kayak that performed pretty well, but it just took too long to assemble and disassemble. I know inflatables are going to paddle more poorly. I’m just interested in getting reasonable performance from an inflatable, and I want to be able to sometimes paddle on Puget Sound which is quite cold so drier is better.

What I’m really looking for is a comparison between the Airhead performance series and other inflatables by someone who has actually used one so I will know if it is a reasonable choice.

my 2 cents
of the ik’s i’ve paddled airhead will track as well as any on still water…they are a little bit wider than some of the other ik’s i’ve had so if your a smaller person this could make a difference…you might want to go with less width…i hit about 6-3 so it’s not a problem for me…my younger daughter 13yrs. has more trouble in flatwater in the airheads than in the sevlyor…i think it’s a colorado anyhow i think it’s called an inflatable canoe instead of kayak…it’s not quite as wide so her form is better and she handles it better…

portability ??? my older daughter puts both (two) of the airheads (9ft solo models) plus paddles and pfd’s and gear into the trunk of her chevy cavalier…thats portable “grin”

Other factors
Ok, sounds like the Airheads track about as well, but are wider so harder to paddle for smaller individuals.

How do they compare for dryness (Airhead vs. Colorado for example)?

Which one is easier to paddle (paddling effort for distance travelled)?

Other factors like how long it takes them to dry before they can be put away, realistic load capacity, stability, and other issues of one vs. the other.

Thanks for your feedback