ww, river running kayak for woman

Hi, Im looking for opinions concerning a beginners whitewater kayak for my wife who is 5’2". about 11Olbs. Im intested primarily in used equipment, not the latest trick boat as we are beginners. I bought a used Necky Jive 810 but it looks awful large. We are taking some rolling classes next week and hopefully she can handle but if not, what should I be looking for. Thanks in advance.

See your point about trick boats, but
actually some of the newest boats are the best all-around boats for a small spouse ever produced. If you have to go used, consider a small Diesel. If you can go new, see if the small Burn fits her.

Jackson 2Fun
You might want to look at a Jackson 2Fun. The Fun designed was tweaked in 2007, but the older style “classic” can probably be found used, or you can even buy a brand new “classic” one for I think $695. This is sized for smaller paddlers, and the right sized kayak will make a huge difference especially in learning to roll. The Funs are also very easy to roll, IMO as well.

Also, don’t let the playful shape fool you - this is a very forgiving river runner.

You might also look for a used Dagger Mamba 7.5, but I think this will still feel too big at your wife’s size and weight.

Good luck!

second the Fun
I’m 5ft and 110lbs and have a Jackson Fun 1.5. I love it. It’s quite stable, very comfortable, and very easy to roll. I tried the 2Fun. It felt too big for me but I’m used to smaller kayaks and for someone a little taller the 2Fun would be great and there quite easy to find used. You might want to check www.boatertalk.com for some used kayaks.

Used Riot Booster 50
can be found between $300-400 and is a pretty forgiving river runner for someone her size. Nice adjustable outfitting.


Used Riot Booster 50
can be found between $300-400 and is a pretty forgiving river runner for someone her size. Nice adjustable outfitting.


Mamba probably too big
I feel like I’m in a truck in my Mamba and I’m 150 lbs. I lend it to a friend who’s over 6’ and 180 lbs and he doesn’t sink it!

Stick with the 2Fun - it’s a great boat!


– Last Updated: Sep-10-07 2:58 PM EST –

The Jive 810(8'10") was the large version of the Jive. I had the standard(8'4") version, and at 160 lbs it sometimes felt too big for me. The 810 will be much too big for your wife. The Jives were also built like tanks and are heavy.

An old Dagger Blast would fit your wife well. My 5'0" wife got one several years ago for pool use because she was tired of falling out of bigger boats when she was learning to roll. It's one of the last of the displacement hulls and is very fast on flatwater by modern standards, and is easy to roll. Downsides are that it was made when stern squirts were all the rage, and the flat-decked stern can be grabby. It's also less stable than the current planing hulls.

The Wavesport Siren is another older small-paddlers boat, but may be too edgey for a beginner.

Most WW boat manufacturers now make a variety of sizes of each model, so be sure you know which size you're demoing/borrowing/buying. Jackson seems to have done the best job of making boats for small folks.

One school's opinion:

thanks for the help
Hi, thanks for all the info. I figured out right away that the jive is too large but it was given to me so thats ok. I have found a used Jackson 2fun and will probably get that boat unless something better turns up shortly. Please keep the advice coming. Thanks, Ron

Fun 2 or Dagger GT 7.1 (or whatever
number is the little one.)

never tried out a Jackson
but i certainly like their outfitting and low weight.

WW kayak for 5’2 rwoman
I’m 5’2 and weigh a bit more than your wife (135)and I have tried a few WW boats for smaller paddlers. I started out with a Liquid Logic Trigger which was a great stable boat for paddlers under 150 pounds. The sides are low and it’s a little narrower than some of the other boats. It has a flat plainning hull, so it was a good compromise between a straight on river runner and a play boat. After a year or two paddling the Trigger, I just bought a 2Fun and I love this boat! It rolls easily, although it’s a bit more playful than the Trigger. I have also tried a 7.5 Mamba - it fit me well and I liked it a whole lot. It rolled easily and was very stable. I don’t think you can go too wrong with any of these boats for a short woman paddler - but the 2Fun is more aggressive than the Trigger or the Mamba. If your wife wants to take things slower, and there’s a risk that she might get scared off of paddling if the boat is not totally predictable, she might want to start out with the Mamba or TRigger. If she wants to start playing a bit (squirting) she might go for the 2Fun. The 2Fun is a great boat. All 3 are great boats for us short women.

If you can find one…

– Last Updated: Sep-12-07 9:25 AM EST –

Jackson 2Fun would work, but it won't be the cheapest choice around even used.

For an older boat, if you can find one grab a Pyrhanna Inazone 220 (only available used). Maybe a 222 for her too, slightly more volume but still likely within range if I recall correctly. Both of these boats are a bear to find though - they usually sell within 48 hours used. If you see one call the moment that you see the ad.

I am recommending these because I have a 220, just started messing around with lower class WW this last season and have found it to be as perfect a starter boat as everyone said. It won't play as well as the Jackson 2Fun's, but would also be cheaper because they are older. And it is surprisingly forgiving.

One note re rolling - the planing hull boats are harder to roll than the older displacement hull boats. If I were just starting someone your wife's size on rolling and could find an old Dagger Piedra or Perception Whippit or Pirouette S around, I'd put them in those boats to start then move them to the planing hull boat once they had gotten one and/or had gained some comfort and confidence. Both these boats practically roll themselves, really encouraging for newbies. Both were designed for kids, so they can't be too big.

Your wife is quite small, and a diff in even 30 or so pounds of weight to the intended boat paddler range can make the boat sigtnificantly harder to roll.