Recommendations for River Runner?

Looking for a used River Runner to try WW kayaking for paddler 5’11", 205. To be used primarily for river running, and occasional ocean surfing. Must be easy to roll.

I’m aware of Dagger RPM Max, what about Prijon or another manufacturer that fits the bill? I’m not interested in 1 of those hybrids that states it can river run and play. I’d like a river runner to start with. Open to any and all feedback.



How much kayak surfing in the ocean
have you done, and what are your expectations?

I say that because a lot of river running kayaks are sort-of-ok ocean surfers, but few can be expected to be good at it. It might be better to focus on the river running task, unless good ocean surfing is a must. (Notice I did not say “excellent” or even “very good” ocean surfing.)

River Runner 1st Ocean 2nd
Agreed I probably should have said that I’m 15 minutes from the Delaware and an hour from the shore. River running is the primary reason, occasionally surfing at the shore is a secondary concern.

Having said that, any suggestions/recommendations?



Well, I’m taller and heavier than you,
and somewhat more of an OC-1 and C-1 person, but if I bought a kayak today, some I would look at include the Dragorossi Pintail XL, the Liquid Logic Remix 79, the largest size New Wave diesel, and the Dagger Mamba 8.5. I think the Pintail would be the best ocean surfer.

Also watch for the new, revised, Jackson SuperHero which will appear any time now.

All of the boats I’ve mentioned would be considered semi-planers… That is, they have flattish undersides and relatively sharp chines. If, for some reason, you were determined to have an old-school river, then the still available Dagger RPM Max is a possibility, and there are also the Prijon Chopper and Hercules.

Wavesport Diesel 75, Dagger Mamba, Riot Thunder. These are all on the larger volume size with direction towards river running and not playing that come to mind. Check out Pyrnaha and Bliss Stick models. As someone else said here there is a bit of a trade off to obtaining a boat that you want for both the surf and river. One boat is generally not the best at both.

If you are thinking older models that are river runners with good surf qualities maybe consider Necky Jive 8’10" and Necky Bliss or Gliss and/or Rip depending on which is the best one for your size.

See you downstream.

In addition to the above suggestions
consider the Booster 60. I am 5’10", 195 and have a Booster 55. But they are almost impossible to find now and for starting out the extra volume of the 60 is good. My regular WW boat now is the Pintail regular. But again, the XL as suggested by G2D might be better. The RPM Max is a dog of a boat compared to the Boosters, Diesels, and Pintails. The Liquid Logic series, now discontinued but available used, is a good choice (Trigger, Little Joe, Hoss). Many people like the Dagger Mamba. I don’t happen to, but YMMV. If possible, try out as many of these boats as you can. But take into account that what seems like a great boat to you now is likely to to diminish as your skills increase. So don’t get a boat that you cannot easily sell. Also consider lessons.

Since you asked about Prijon
I love my Prijon Chopper because it’s small enough to handle technical river running but big enough to carry a weekend camping kit.

I traded up from the Wavesport Diesel 75, which is an excellent river runner but lacks the volume for serious river camping.

I paddled a Remix 79 for a few trips and it has plenty of volume but the deck is too high, I kept hitting it with my paddle shaft, and it’s a good bit slower downriver than the Chopper.

As a recovering OC1’er I’d try to steer you away from the Remix, because of it’s high deck, and away from the RPM because of it’s squirrley tail and away from the Mamba because it’s small seating area is uncomfortable. That’s just my opinion, of course, I could be wrong about all of them.


near Bucks County PA ?
Just a guess from 15 minutes to the Delaware and a hour to the shore. I used to live on the edge of Yardley/Morrisville area.

If you are looking for a starter boat to do whitewater, surfing, and a boat that is easy to roll, I was recommended to buy a Necky Jive, I am quite happy with it. I’m your weight but a little shorter. The regular jive has plenty of volume for anything you are going to do like Tohicon Creek or on the Delaware. It surfs pretty well for a whitewater boat, very easy to roll. You can buy a Jive or similar boat for $300 -400.

I:3 223.

I’m the same size as you and I love this boat. It is no longer in production but it can be found used reasonably easily. I am fairly new to whitewater but not a total noob. I’ve tried a bunch of different boats and this one stands out to me.


I think “river runner” is pretty vague.

There is nothing
vague about the term river runner. It is a well defined type of white water boat, like playboat and creeker (or creek boat).

Some excellent advice
has been given so far…

Some folks have made excellent suggestions. Personally I have to whitewater experience yet, but want to start learning how to paddle it and expand my horizons just like you. I recently purchased a Wavesport Diesel 65 as my first boat, mainly because it has been reviewed as an excellent first boat for someone learning whitewater, and as a very versatile boat that will grow with a new whitewater paddler. The other main reason I got it is because I got a killer deal for a brand new as an old model year closeout, paid less then many pay for good used boats.

No one else has said it yet, but consider a used boat as your first purchase, but make sure it is no more then a few years old and has obvious cracks, dents, or other damage. Also stay away from used ww boats more then a few years old because the older plastics tend to get brittle and will crack rather then bend or dent when hitting an obstacle (see here ROCK).

Not sure where you live near the Delaware, but I live in South NJ near Philly, and plan on going up to Jim Thorpe this spring to take a whitewater class to get the learning process and understanding of proper safety underway.

Check out Boatertalk…they are a primarily ww community and have a good gearswap page that often has great used boats for sale on it.

Good luck!!

Seconding the I3 223
I am 6’ 180 pounds and really enjoy my I3.

I also think the Inazones are very nice boats. A bit more forgiving and slightly better hull speed (for a planing hull boat).

I only really got going in ww this past season and would recommend without reservation a used Inazone for a newbie and an I3 to a novice with the caveat that while being more responsive (easier to place laterally where you want it) than the Inazone it has little hull speed and easier to flip.

But definitely buy used until you have enough time in boats in ww to really know what you want. Good ww boats can be had used for $150-450. I paid $300 for my Inazone and the same for my I3.

I know you said no hybrids, but…

– Last Updated: Jan-04-08 11:10 AM EST –

The Jackson Fun is not just a playboat... It was the river runner of choice for EJ, Nick and ? when they ran Niagara Gorge.... Class VI is a great test! And, it surfs! The "classic", IMO, is a better river runner than the new version which is slicier and more of a playboat.

Oops - that would probably be a 4-Fun or Super Fun for you!

The new Hero series is more of a river runner than the old, which was higher volume. I know a lot of people who consider it a creeker.

Dagger Mamba
A well-respected school gives their opinion:

Rumor has it that the new Hero has a
Fun bottom. But I don’t know how we’ll know if it is a better river runner until it’s out and reviewed. Some of us look for cruising speed and point-to-point competence in a river runner, not play ability.

River runner and river/play

– Last Updated: Jan-04-08 12:40 PM EST –

Just a comment on going for a river/river runner rather than a river/play boat - it appears somewhere higher.

Even in what are now older boats, many of the ones used primarily as river runners have a smidge of playability. Many that are pure river runners, like the Hero, are creekers that may or may not be best for surfing. You may want the more technical performance of the river/play hulls to ride the waves in. (Though getting out would be easier in a creeker I guess.)

I am not someone who should offer deep advice in this area - don't know enough - but you are getting recommendations that include creekers, old and newer style river runners and some newer river/play boats. It might help sort that out if you could explain why you want to stay away from any playability.