Suggestions for Playboat/River for 6'2"

I will start by saying I am 6’2" 190lbs with size 13 shoes. I have been kayaking before, but I am definitely not advanced. I do learn quick and I plan to take lessons and get into this sport as a hobby. I am from Northwest Georgia and we have many rivers to run, but I also want the option to go down waterfalls and more advanced trails. I am completely new to the thought of buying a kayak and could use some help.

Do you need a play boat to go down waterfalls and do flips? if not what is the absolute best kayak for doing that, that will also allow me grow to an advanced level of kayaking?

Thank you,


You’re in WW heaven…

– Last Updated: May-18-15 11:01 AM EST –

Living where you do, you're within easy day trip distance of Nantahala Outdoor Center. Since you already plan to do lessons, they have an excellent instructional program, and you'll be able to actually TRY different boats instead of just reading armchair quarterback recommendations on the Internet :). In all seriousness, if you go with someone like NOC, beginner lessons normally include gear rental as part of the cost. So don't buy your own stuff until you've done a lesson or two, so you know if you like what you're looking at.

BTW, dropping waterfalls and doing flippy tricks, for mere mortals anyway, require two very different styles of boat: creekboat vs playboat.

Don’t worry now about
the boat you might want several years down the road. Your lack of experience and the fact that your interests very well may change once you start paddling makes it pretty much a useless exercise in speculation at this point.

Lessons are a great place to start precisely because, as Smalley notes, they’ll almost certainly have beginner-appropriate gear for you to use. Even if you don’t do formal lessons, try to hook up with a local club or a group of experienced paddlers.

But for the sake of conversation, no, you generally don’t want a playboat for running big drops and the like. Playboats are very small kayaks intended primarily for surfing/playing on river features like waves and holes. Here’s a good resource (see page 8) that breaks down the different types of kayaks:

Kayak list
Like people have said, a playboat would be for doing flips but only in waves, not off waterfalls. You’ll have to decide what exactly you plan to do. Could easily pick up both though.

I have similar dimensions to you, I am 6ft size 13 feet though I only weigh 115 lbs. I haven’t been able to try many of these yet but I really liked the Jackson Hero. If you decide on a creeker/river runner this might be a good list to look at.

Jackson Hero, Karma, Zen. Dagger Mamba, Axiom, Nomad. Wavesport Diesel and Recon. Pyranha Burn and Shiva. You can also ask on Boatertalk which is more WW oriented.

I would say you wouldn’t want any type of crossover just fyi.