Best Whitewater Kayak for Beginners [Top 10 Picks]

Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to which whitewater kayaks are best for beginners. There are various types of kayaks designed for different purposes. Some are meant for flat-water activities such as surfing and paddle boarding. Others are intended for river trips where you’re required to negotiate rapids, whirlpools, and other obstacles.

I've researched many kayaks over the past few weeks and found some really good ones. In fact, I recommend ten high-end whitewater kayaks that are dependable for beginners. Learn how to get start!

Top 3 Picks for Easy Compare

Preview
Best Overall
Perception Joyride 10 | Sit Inside Kayak for Adults and Kids | Recreational and Multi-Water Kayak with Selfie Slot | 10' | Dapper
Best Value
Pelican - Sprint XR - Sit-in Kayak - Lightweight one Person Kayak - 10.75 ft
Editor Choice
Lifetime 90321 Glide 98 Sit-In Kayak, Paddle Included
Title
Perception Joyride 10
Pelican - Sprint XR
Lifetime 90321 Glide 98
Price
$729.00
$599.99
$479.00
Best Overall
Preview
Perception Joyride 10 | Sit Inside Kayak for Adults and Kids | Recreational and Multi-Water Kayak with Selfie Slot | 10' | Dapper
Title
Perception Joyride 10
Price
$729.00
Where to get
Best Value
Preview
Pelican - Sprint XR - Sit-in Kayak - Lightweight one Person Kayak - 10.75 ft
Title
Pelican - Sprint XR
Price
$599.99
Where to get
Editor Choice
Preview
Lifetime 90321 Glide 98 Sit-In Kayak, Paddle Included
Title
Lifetime 90321 Glide 98
Price
$479.00
Where to get

The 10 Best Whitewater Kayaks for Beginners

1. Perception Joyride 10 Multi-Water Kayak for beginners

The Perception Joyride 10 is a great whitewater kayak for beginners that is comfortable and has ventilated padding, an adjustable seat, and thick wall.

It has a weight capacity of 275 lbs and comes with adjustable footrests that accommodate paddlers of multiple sizes. The self-draining hull design makes it easy to clean after use. While the adjustable seat also features thick, ventilated padding for added comfort.

The kayak's convenient drink holder makes it easy to stay hydrated on long outings or in rough conditions. And its patent-pending Selfie Slot allows you to take selfies without getting wet! Made from polyethylene plastic. This recreational kayak offers plenty of space for gear storage as well as carrying comfort during transport. More key features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Width: 29.5 inches
  • Type: Sit-Inside
  • Hold capacity: 275 lbs

2. Intex Excursion Pro Whitewater Kayak for newbies

The Intex Excursion Pro kayak is a great choice for beginners because its made of laminate PVC with polyester core. It's lightweight and highly resistant to damage from abrasion, making it one of the best whitewater kayaks on the market today.

The high pressure inflation system provides quick inflation and deflation, while its high pressure spring loaded valves make inflating your boat easy as well as fast when you need to deflate it quickly in case of an emergency. This makes this kayak perfect for beginners who want something they can use while learning how to paddle or just hanging out on their own time.

Additionally, this kayak has a rigid and stable design that makes it perfect for new paddlers who want something stable enough yet still maneuverable enough. So they don't get frustrated with their movements while trying out different strokes or styles of paddling. Key features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Width: 3 feet
  • Weight: 7.4 Kilograms

3. Pelican - Sprint XR Whitewater Kayak for newcomer

The Pelican Sprint XR is a high quality whitewater kayak for newbies that is designed with a deep V-chine hull and 12-foot-long design, so you can experience the thrill of whitewater kayaking without worrying about sacrificing your safety. The adjustable ERGOFLEX G2 seating system provides extra back support to help keep you comfortable on long treks through rapids or open water alike; its breathable cushion will also keep you feeling fresh as you paddle along.

Equipped with an extra back support called the Rear Bulkhead System (RBS), which can hold up to 300 lbs of weight capacity and give even heavier people even more stability when they're using it in rivers or lakes where there may be heavy currents present during their trip. Also included is an adjustable stern bulkhead made out of three layers: one layer acts as padding between two layers underneath, while another layer helps hold everything in place firmly without damaging any sensitive areas underneath them like our backs do when we sit on top all day long. Features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 10.75 feet
  • Width: 28 inches
  • Weight: 41 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs

4. Driftsun Rover 220 Whitewater Kayak for beginners

The Driftsun Rover 220 is an inflatable tandem whitewater kayak, and it features an in-flatable design that allows you to store your gear inside of it when not in use. It measures 12 feet long, so it will fit most people comfortably, but if you have longer legs or prefer a more spacious cockpit. Then this might not be the best choice for you. and weighs about 50 pounds and has a weight capacity of 600 pounds (if loaded with everything), which means that even though this is definitely not one of those flimsy inflatable models where it could pop at any moment (although accidents can still happen), there won't be much weight pulling down on your back during your trip downriver!

This model comes with some great features like: High back supports so there's no need for pillows! Action cams mount underneath seats so they can capture video footage from above while paddling through rapids safely without diverting attention away from what matters most: getting through them safely without falling overboard first - like having enough space left over after filling up all four seats because we recommend using two per person unless otherwise instructed by sales staff.

  • Seating Capacity: 2
  • Length: 12.6 feet
  • Width: 38 inches
  • Weight: 28 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 600 lbs

5. Lifetime 90321 Glide 98 Whitewater Kayak

This kayak is made of high density polyethylene, which makes it resistant to damage from rocks and other debris. It's also a great choice for beginners because it's easy to paddle and has ample storage space for gear.

The Lifetime 90321 Glide 98 comes with a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty that covers all parts except for the deck, which does not have any warranties attached to it. The seat is constructed out of foam padding and adjustable so you can get comfortable as your skills improve over time. And the bow rigging allows easy access to secured gear while at sea or on shore if needed (like fishing poles). The stern rigging offers just as much security in addition to being easy on/off access points whenever they're needed most! More features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 144 inches
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Weight: 17 Kilograms
  • Type: Sit-in kayak

6. Pelican - Maxim 100X Whitewater Kayak

This kayak is made for the recreational paddler looking for better performance. This kayak has extra-large cockpit for easy entry and exit, plus added floating blocks on each side of the kayak. It holds a maximum capacity of 275 lbs, so if you are looking to buy one that can carry your whole family on an outing then this is definitely worth checking out!

The Pelican Maxum 100x comes with paddle in comfort with an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with ERGOBASE seat cushion which allows you to stay comfortable while paddling through rapids or lakes. This kayak is affordable too. Additional key features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Weight: 36 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs
  • Type: Sit-in kayak

7. Intex Challenger Whitewater kayak for newbies

The Intex Challenger is a great option for newbies because of its high-quality construction and price. This inflatable kayak set comes with everything you need to get started, including an air pump, oars and paddle. It has a weight capacity of up to 220 lbs., making it perfect for beginners who may be overweight or carrying more gear than they should on their first outing in the water!

The 9 feet length makes this kayak ideal for young children looking to take their first steps into the sport without getting too close to larger boats or other people around them. The lightweight design makes transporting easy—you can easily store it in your trunk when not using it! And because this model features aluminum oars (which are included), inflating/deflating takes only 10 minutes at most: no more struggling with heavy plastic bags. More are below:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 9 feet
  • Weight: 25 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs
  • Type: Sit-in kayak

8. Driftsun Rover 120 Whitewater kayak

The Driftsun Rover 120 folding kayak will deliver unmatched stability. This kayak is constructed with reinforced double layered PVC that ensures a sturdy and durable construction, making it one of the most comfortable whitewater kayaks for beginners in this category. The Rover 120 features a front & rear rocker profile which provides excellent tracking for easy paddling through rapids or rivers.

The foldable kayak inflates fully in 9 mins and can accommodate up to 300 lbs of weight capacity, making it suitable for both adults and children. It comes with an adjustable EVA padded seat, aluminum paddle & tracking fin (removable), removable tracking fin & spacious travel backpack enabling the 1person kayak to handle obsticles in rough waterways without puncturing easily. Additional are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 8.5 feet
  • Weight: 22 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type: Sit-in kayak

9. Emotion Guster Sit-Inside Kayak

The Emotion Guster is one of the best whitewater kayaks that comes with an adjustable padded seat back and seat pad, which gives you a comfortable ride on your first run.

As with most sit-inside kayaks, this one has a performance hull for tracking and stability that will help you navigate through rapids without worrying about capsizing or getting stuck in rocks.

The front and rear shock cord straps secure loose items such as clothes. Or fishing poles to keep them from floating away while you're paddling through waves.

You also have an oval hatch underneath the deck that can be used to store additional items such as camera bags or snacks during long trips out on the water. However, there isn't much room inside because it's small enough only fit a few books at best (for example).

You'll find front handles on each side of this boat so they're easy enough access while underway. Just don't forget about them when packing up camp after sunset! Made out of polyethylene plastic materials--which means they won't break easily.

The Emotion Guster weighs only 48 pounds total so carrying around won't feel heavy even if carrying multiple pieces back home later tonight. Impressive key features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Weight: 48 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs
  • Type: Sit-in kayak

10. Aquaglide McKenzie 105 Inflatable Kayak

This inflatable kayak is perfect for beginners who are looking to learn the ropes of whitewater kayaking. It features Duratex construction, EVOBeam technology, and 4 mesh drains for rapid water evacuation. The McKenzie 105 Inflatable Kayak is lightweight and built to last—created for rapid waters and touring use in lakes, rivers or oceans.

The length is 122 inches with a width of 33.5 inches making it ideal for paddling on smaller lakes as well as larger rivers or oceans where you might need more room than traditional kayaks provide.

The kayak has a weight capacity of 500 pounds and comes with an adjustable seat, foot pegs, and oarlocks. It also features Duratex construction, EVOBeam technology for increased strength and support, as well as 4 mesh drains for rapid water evacuation. More features are:

  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Length: 10.2 feet
  • Weight: 16.76 Kilograms
  • Weight capacity: 300 Pounds
  • Type: Sit-in kayak

How to choose a whitewater kayak

Choosing the right whitewater kayak is a big investment and you want to choose one that will last for years.

Chines

Chines are the edges of a kayak. They can be hard or soft, depending on what you want for your whitewater experience. Chines help keep your boat straight and stable as it cuts through waves, so they're essential for any serious kayaker who wants to master this sport.

Chines are usually found on whitewater style kayaks (i.e., those with flat bottoms). The average person who buys their first kayak doesn't really think about these things at all; however, if you're looking for something more recreational than just “hanging out in the water” then maybe consider buying one without them if that's what works best for your needs!

Chines are also great for whitewater kayaking because they help you keep your boat straight in rough water. If a kayak has no chines, it will be very hard to control how it moves through rapids.

Rocker

Rocker is the angle of the hull from side to side. Kayak with more rocker will be easier to roll over than a flat-hulled kayak. A high amount of rocker also makes for a faster ride, as it allows you to turn your boat more easily.

A very low amount of rocker in a kayak means that you'll have trouble rolling over, even if it's tipped on its side and pointed straight down river because there's so little buoyancy (weight) underfoot. If you're looking for stability at all costs, this isn't what we'd recommend! It's best to find out how much flexibility (or 'float') is needed before buying anything else—you might find that two different types of boats suit different purposes better than each other!

Hull Type

The hulls of kayaks are either round or flat. Round hulls are more stable than flat ones, but less maneuverable. Flat hulls are agile and responsive, allowing them to turn quickly in the water and maneuver well over rocks and logs. Both types have their advantages depending on your skill level and the type of whitewater you want to run:

  • If you're new to whitewater kayaking, it might be best to choose a more stable boat with less maneuverability so that you can learn how it handles without breaking anything along the way! That said.
  • If there's one thing we've learned over our years paddling down rivers everywhere from California Bay Area streams up through Alaska's Copper River Basin (yes those exist!). it's that even experienced paddlers need time practicing before they can really trust themselves around dangerous rapids like Class V+ rapids where waves large enough to flip you are common. So unless you're a pro, it's probably best to start out with something that's more stable and less prone to flipping over on its side in fast-moving water.

If you're still not sure what kind of kayak is right for you, check out our guide to choosing a kayak and don't forget to read our reviews on the "best kayaks for seniors" before making your decision.

Edges

Edges are the part of the kayak that sits on top of your boat, and they're what make it sit at an angle. The two most common types of edges are flat (or hard) and upturned (or soft).

A hard edge is a straight piece that tapers off in both directions, while a soft edge has a gentle curve along its length. While both can be useful for different purposes, you should choose one over another based on personal preference and how you intend to use your kayak.

When choosing between these options, consider whether or not you want more stability from your kayak by adding more weight at its front end; if so then go with a hard edge instead of a soft one because this will help keep things balanced as well as making maneuvering easier when paddling through rough waters such as rapids or waves generated by windy days out on open water!

Creekers

Creekers (Creek Boats) are the most common type of whitewater kayak. They have a high volume bow and stern, but are narrow in the middle. Creekers are designed to be paddled on small rivers, creeks and streams. They're easy to turn and can be used for playboating as well as fishing or exploring on flatwater lakes.

The river kayak has similar design features as a canoe but is narrower than its cousin. Its low center of gravity makes it easier to maneuver around rocks while keeping your balance upright when you're moving forward at speed.

The advantage over a canoe is that these boats are faster because you don't need such large amount of space between each other when paddling them; however this comes at the cost of stability due to lack of peripheral support from frame members like wooden pillars which would otherwise stabilize them against waves created by heavy objects like boulders floating downstream towards shoreline during flooding periods.

Playboats

Playboats are for experienced kayakers who want to race and perform tricks on rapids. These boats are not meant to be used in flat water or lakes, but they can be used in rivers with waves and current. If you're looking for a boat that's going to take you into the wild blue yonder—and maybe even hit some waves—playboating is probably not your best bet. It's an activity best suited for experienced paddlers who have solid paddling skills under their belts, including knowledge of basic whitewater techniques such as eddy turns and rollovers.

Sizing

When choosing a kayak, it’s important to consider your size. There are many things to consider when determining the correct fit for you:

  • Length: What length is best for your body? We recommend that you use the manufacturer's measurements as guides but also make sure that there are no gaps between the seat and backrest. If there is too much space between these two points, it can cause discomfort or injury when paddling.
  • Width: What width of kayak is best for you? It may seem like it would be easier just to get a wider boat because then at least one person could fit in it comfortably if they were alone (or had another person share their spot). However, this isn't always true because sometimes having more room makes paddling harder due to having less control over our movement while we're wearing heavy clothing or gear on our backs/shoulders which slows us down significantly!

Also, if you’re a beginner or just starting out, we recommend getting a narrower kayak so that it's easier to control while you’re paddling. If you get a wider kayak with more room and don't have much experience yet, it may be harder for you to stay balanced in the water because there is more of an area in which things can go wrong (like tipping over).

Final thoughts

There are many types of kayaks available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. With all of these options, it can be difficult to know which type is right for you. The best advice we have for you is to do some research before making a purchase decision. By doing this research, you will be better prepared when it comes time get into the water!

So, there you have it! If you’re looking for a whitewater kayak that fits perfectly in your budget and can handle the demands of whitewater surfing, then look no further than our recommendation. These models will allow you to get started on your journey as soon as possible and let you enjoy less expensive exciting adventures while they last.

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