Open main menu

Whitewater Kayaks

Top Picks

How we choose: The best whitewater kayaks highlighted here were selected based on 12 reviews of 10 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a whitewater kayak that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Dagger Katana 10.4

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

The plastic device on the front cockpit coaming is useful to bungie your paddle to the kayak for brief periods of time. Lay your paddle down 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the boat and then hook the bow bungie chord into the plastic device to lock in your paddle.

Reasons to Buy

  • Well made and executed
  • Tracks straight with skeg down
  • Turns well with skeg up
  • Comfortable outfitting

Reasons to Avoid

  • Big boat can get pushed around a bit in class 2 and 3 water paddled by a novice.
  • Has a lot of volume. Buy bow float bags. I wish I had.

The Katana is easy to outfit and the fitting can be dialed-in pretty tight because of all the pads and shims Dagger provides. I have a longer rec/touring 13 footer to use when I want to go fast in the lake or on swift moving water. I bought the Katana to be able to paddle area lakes and local moving water. I paddled a Katana 10.4 on the Tuckasegee and Nantahala rivers in early September (class 1, 2 and 3 water). Had a blast. Had to swim a couple of times too because my roll move did not result in a roll.

Read more: Dagger Katana 10.4 reviews (2)

Dagger Mamba 7.6

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

If you are short heighted, not very muscular, and haven't found the right kayak for you. Your search is over and you can pick this blindfolded. Special recommendation for girls.

Reasons to Buy

  • Rounded stern makes it very easy to roll.
  • Planing hull with a rail. Stern is still rounded out. Forgiving boat with surfing, edging and spinning capability
  • More safety features and more rescue points
  • More volume, means the boat sits higher on the water.
  • Beginners and intermediate paddlers are going to learn quicker because boat has more volume

Reasons to Avoid

  • Mamba is not a play boat
  • It has too much volume to get vertical squirts, cartwheels etc.

I am very excited with my Dagger Mamba 7.6. This new boat looks like the perfect choice for someone who needs one kayak that can do it all. I am a beginner I am 5'2" and 50 kgs and since last 2 years I could not find the perfect fit for me and it wasn't very encouraging. I am even more excited and encouraged to kayak in white water now. I have not yet run class 4 or 5 with this, but my kayaker friends recommend it for those big runs also. The same forgiving design and added volume, that allows you to nail your line in a challenging rapid is also what will help a beginner progress to an intermediate level very quickly.

Read more: Dagger Mamba 7.6 reviews (2)

LiquidLogic Hoss

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Reasons to Buy

  • Stable
  • Great construction
  • Fun boat to paddle

The Liquid Logic Hoss was actually my first whitewater boat, and I still have it.  The Hoss is a great river runner that can also catch a wave along the way to surf, while having plenty of volume and stability to run big water. From the manufacturer, Liquid Logic: Hoss is a river runner for the paddler sized between 130 and 240 lbs. It is easy to paddle downstream and easy to roll. We took the tried and true qualities of our creek boats and joined them with a playful hull design that allows any paddler to surf, spin and carve on waves while also paddling the river confidently.

Read more: LiquidLogic Hoss review (1)

LiquidLogic Remix 69

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

This board is my first whitewater kayak and I've really honed my skills in on this one. It is a little longer than most creekers, but makes for a fast ride. Has some cool color options, and maneuvers well. Stable.

Reasons to Buy

  • Speed
  • Stability
  • Comfort

Reasons to Avoid

  • Some leakage on hardware points
  • Length makes hard to surf

Bought a Remix 69 used at NOC for their GAF sale. Great boat for my first kayak. Taken it down plenty of high class 3s and some 4s. Actually a good flat water paddling kayak considering the length and build. This makes it nice to use for casual paddling. The badass outfitting is great, and adjustment is very easy! Some complain about the lack of storage in the stern, but it doesn't seem too difficult for me. Buying direct from LL now makes the boat cheaper which is an added bonus. This boat has been difficult for me to surf with, but I'm still working on it. Works much better in a longer, flatter, and bigger wave. Good for creaking, river running, and great to learn on! 

Read more: LiquidLogic Remix 69 review (1)

Jackson Kayaks Karma RG

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

Responsive and adaptable kayak that is good at many things, great at fewer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Fast in current
  • Storage space
  • Good outfitting, leg room
  • Tracks well in flats

Reasons to Avoid

  • Some ergonomic awkwardness
  • Tracking is not equal to touring/ocean kayaks
  • Not particularly attractive?

This kayak was purchased to for use on whitewater trips, flatwater exploration, and ocean surf. That already says a lot about the boat. The Karma RG is fast in a current and tracks well in flat water even while allowing much greater maneuverability than non-WW kayaks of similar length. Although the Karma RG could be called a crossover, it lives with the LL Stinger XP in separate tier. Not only does the Karma outpace models like the Dagger Katana, Remix XP, etc., it will outperform those models in more demanding conditions.

Read more: Jackson Kayaks Karma RG review (1)

More Reviews of Whitewater Kayaks

Trailspace reviewers have shared 12 reviews of 10 different whitewater kayaks.

Show All »

or add yours

Other Types of Kayaks

Find more kayaks reviewed in these related categories:

Recreational Kayaks

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

Touring Kayaks

+4 more types

Review Your Outdoor Gear

If you've found this site helpful — or if we've missed something important — please consider paying it forward by some of your favorite outdoor gear.

Why? From professional gearheads to outdoor novices, everyone has an important point of view to contribute. will support the outdoor community and help others find the best gear.

Trailspace reviewers are outdoor enthusiasts like you: hikers, climbers, paddlers, backcountry skiers, and trail runners who share our experiences with the gear and clothing we rely on to get outside. Learn more about Trailspace