WW Kayak in which to Learn

This is a pretty basic question and I’m sure there will be LOTS of opinions. Anyway, here goes.

My wife and I live in Tucson where there are not a lot of local Class II - III whitewater rivers within a short distance. (Yes I know about the Gila, Salt, and Verde. I’m thinking someplace I can go out to for an hour or two to practice skills and be back by the afternoon.)

Anyway, we are experienced canoeists and sea kayakers. We recently took a three day WW kayak class on the Truckee outside Reno and I’d like to keep our skills up and see if we want to pursue it a little more. I also REALLY want to develop a bomb proof roll and better bracing skills. To do so of course I’ll need a boat.

I’m about 6 feet and 190 lbs. Although my lessons were in a planing hulled, play boat, I’d probably get more use out of a creek boat with a little displacement on the hull. Leg and back comfort are really important to me.

I’ve been purusing classified, Ebay etc and seen a few boats, but I really don’t know enough about what will work for me. The Dagger RPM Max looks good and I’ve seen a Jackson Rocker out there but I’d like some opinions on a boat model I can learn in and perhaps use on multi-day trips with raft support. In my experince with other sports, I think it’s better to get a boat I can grow my skills into versus an absolute beginner boat that I’ll out grow in terms of skills, quickly.

I should also mention, I’m looking for a used boat. I don’t want to shell out $1500 for a new boat, skirt and paddle until I really make a committment to kayaking.

Any help is appreciated.



Several Choices
Give this a look. There are always several creekboats for sale here. If you have the columns sort by type of boat it will make the search much easier.


I am 5"10" 250# (all muscle of course :slight_smile: and i paddle a Dagger Mamba 8.5 Creek/River Runner. I love it. This boat covers up a lot of my bad paddling techniques.

Good Luck


Am thinking along the same
lines as the above recommendation including the creek boats. I believe Riot has a creek boat with a hatch for dry goods.

Some others creek boats worth considering include Pyranha, Dagger inculding the Mamba, Wavesport including the Diesel, and Liquid Logic Hoss, Jackson Hero model. Some of those might not be considered “creek” boats but are used for that, or that is what the users seems to be saying. See you downstream.

Did I miss something
"I live in Tucson … (Yes I know about the Gila, Salt, and Verde. I’m thinking someplace I can go out to for an hour or two to practice skills and be back by the afternoon.)"

Are you expecting to be able to regularly drive an hour or two to whitewater from Tucson? I lived in Tucson and the closest spot was the Gila and in two years there were about three or four times it was worth running. I do know some people play in some holes in Sabino Canyon area during run-off, but I’m not sure they were supposed to be doing it, and the stuff disolved in the water is not so nice.

A Little More Detail
I should have been clearer. Beccause I live in Tucson I won’t have much of an oportunity to try abunch of boats under various whitewater conditions or demo them. However, I do have access to some lakes and flat water areas where I could practive rolling etc…

BTW botht he Santa Cruz and Rillito were ripping hard earlier this year to the point where I wouldn’t even think about putting a boat in them,particulalry as 40-ft trees were floating past.


– Last Updated: Aug-22-06 8:54 PM EST –

During a real heavy rainy period I watched a barbed wire fence and dead steer wash past me, don't think I would try boating in that wash.

I don't remember too much about Patagonia lake, it was a nice spot. I did a Canoe merit badge class for my son's Boy Scout Troop at Parker Canyon Resevoir, I'm not sure I would want to roll too much in that, the boys came out green and slimely while we were practicing rescues.

Rillito River Slideshow
If you want to see photos of the recent flows, go to


Then look for the slideshow box on the righthand side of the window. They have one called “Rillito River flood.” BTW, it wasn’t a flood, it was water in a riverbed! Go figure.

Cool Link
thanks for the link, made me homesick in a way.

I used to live on the Ventanna Canyon wash in the foothills, we used to enjoy the monsoon flows .