The Best Beginner Kayaks: Whitewater

I'm ready to start paddling more seriously. What boat should I buy?

Mamba 8.1     Photo: Courtesy of Dagger

A:This is a fun boat: the Dagger’s Mamba 8.1 ($1,050). It’s designed to be stable and easy to drive for newbies, but with the performance that will let you use your increasing experience to tackle tougher water. At just over eight feet long it’s short enough for great maneuverability, and its chine (the shape of the bottom hull) aids stability.

Features include easy-to-grab handles at the bow and cockpit, molded-in foam that adds rigidity, and an adjustable foot brace.

Another solid boat is the Wave Sport Diesel 70 ($1,000). It’s another all-purpose boat, good for learning but also good for showing off new skills, on fast water or spinning green waves. Lots of adjustments for comfort, rugged construction, easy rolling.

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