Whitewater kayaking is one of the most exhilarating sports out there. Kayaking through the tricky rapids, boulders, and rivers push your adrenaline to the extreme. It is dangerously fun, but with proper preparation and safety measures, you can have a great time in the waters.
But is it possible to whitewater kayak on a sit-on-top? You might wonder. Sure, white water kayaking is not necessarily associated with sit-on-tops. But, the kayak manufacturing industry has grown and the market has exploded in recent times producing hundreds of sit-in-top models that are specially designed for whitewaters.
The sit on top kayaks are quite popular because of their secure handling and storage capabilities. Sit-on-top kayaks are user-friendly on many aspects, including stability and easier access of entry and exit. These kayaks are best for fishing as an angler needs to look for the fishing holes and requires movement while casting and retrieving their catch.
Don’t get worried about water entering your kayak as there are scupper holes for the drainage system. The shapes and the stability of the kayak differ significantly from the marine kayaks. After much research, I have listed the five best sit-on-top whitewater kayaks. Read further for the detailed review of each product and the final verdict.
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Sit on Top Whitewater Kayak – [Top 5 Reviews]
The Perception Pescador Sit-On-Top Kayak is another popular kayak from the reputed brand of Perception Kayaks. It has an Adjustable seat back positioning for personalized fit and comfort.
The unique Quick-adjust footrests is suitable for kayakers of all sizes. The front storage compartment comes with a large hinged hatch for easy access. There is an ample rear open storage that gives you easy access to fishing gears and coolers.
Moreover, the two molded-in rod holders provide hands-free storage while paddling the kayak. You can keep your drink in the Convenient drink holder that keeps it from spilling. Paddle attachment point provides a hands-free fishing opportunity. For adding accessories, you can find gear tracks without the need to drill holes.
Furthermore, the kayak has a Leak-proof one-piece construction with built-in buoyancy. The seat is comfortable with thick, ergonomic padding. The kayak is perfect for freshwaters, including Lakes, Ponds, and Flat-water rivers. Overall, the Perception Pescador Sit-On-Top Kayak is another stunning kayak with outstanding features.
- Ample storage features & fishing features
- Comfortable seat with thick, ergonomic padding
- Increase in speed, storage, and stability with increase in volume
- Unique Quick-adjust footrests for all sizes
- Front storage compartment with a hinged hatch
- A large rear open storage
- A Leak-proof one-piece construction with built-in buoyancy
- Comfortable seat with thick, ergonomic padding.
- Some users complained about the lack of accessories
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-on-top Recreational Kayak has three three seating positions, namely solo, tandem, and tandem paddling with a child or pet.
There is a pair of Comfort Plus seats that provide four-way adjustability. These seats generate a custom fit and excellent slip prevention over-molded seats. You can find patented overlapping footwells that allow centre-seated paddlers to stretch their legs comfortably.
Moreover, the open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak. It also includes a pair of molded-in handles and skid plate. The Maximum capacity of the kayak is at 425 pounds, and it is 12 feet long and 34 inches wide. The users can also find a Lifetime warranty on the hull.
Furthermore, the large open cockpit is for two paddlers and one small child or pet. The Side carrying handles and bow/stern toggle handles help to carry the kayak easily in and out of water. The Gear straps provide storage, and there are skid plate and screw-in drain plug. The 425-pound capacity kayak measures 12 feet long and weighs 57 pounds.
Overall, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Sit-on-top Recreational Kayak is one of the best sit on top kayak for whitewater.
- Three seating positions
- Comfort Plus seats with four-way adjustability.
- Overlapping footwells
- Easy to get on and off the kayak
- Molded-in handles and skid plate
- Lifetime warranty on the hull
- Side carrying handles and bow/stern toggle handles
- Some users complained about the leakage in the kayak
The Perception Tribe Sit On Top Kayak is a versatile kayak with great features. The kayak can accommodate large paddlers with the Comfort Seating System with thick padding.
The Adjustable seatback positioning gives a comfortable fit. There are Multiple footrest options suitable for paddlers of all sizes. The Large front and rear open storage is enough for fishing gears and coolers. Bungee cord lashes help to secure fishing equipment from large and small.
Moreover, the Convenient drink holder helps you to enjoy your drink without spilling it in the kayak. The 11′ 5″ kayak weighs 52 lbs. The Perception Tribe 11.5 comes with a funky design and is quite durable. Molded-in seats and increased speed set this kayak apart. This kayak is one of the fastest in the list.
Furthermore, a longer hull gives it extra speed. There is a replaceable, skid plate that prolongs the life of the hull. The kayak is 11.5 feet long and is durable and portable. Overall, the Perception Tribe Sit On Top Kayak is a versatile kayak with great control and comfort.
- Comfort Seating System with thick padding
- Adjustable seat back positioning
- Multiple footrest options suitable paddlers of all sizes
- Large front and rear open storage is enough
- Bungee cord lashes
- Stylish and durable design
- Molded-in seats and a longer hull
- Replaceable, skid plate that prolongs the life of the hull
- Some users complained about poor packaging and shipping
The Emotion Spitfire Sit-on-top 8-foot Kayak is a compact whitewater kayak from the reputed brand of Lifetime. It has a High-Density Polyethylene construction for superior strength and durability.
The kayak has a weight capacity of 240 lb. The ST Performance Hull tracks well and is quite stable. There are front, rear, and side carry handles for portability of the kayak. The rear tankwell comes with Bungee Lacing for fishing gear Storage.
Moreover, the molded-in freedom footwells give maximum comfort and secure foot bracing. The hull of the kayak has a 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. There is an ultra durable UV Protected High-Density Polyethylene Plastic Rear. This shorter kayak’s ST Performance Hull gives it a greater speed.
Furthermore, the kayak has a CRS padded backrest plus a molded-in seat for comfortable paddling. The kayak has an extra volume and high capacity. Overall, the Emotion Spitfire Sit-on-top 8-foot Kayak provides a balance of stability, performance, and affordability.
- High-Density Polyethylene construction
- Superior strength and durability
- The hull tracks well and is quite stable
- Rear tank well comes with Bungee Lacing
- Molded-in freedom footwells
- 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty on the hull
- UV Protected High-Density Polyethylene Plastic Rear
- A CRS padded backrest with molded-in seat
- Some users complained about the tracking of the kayak
The Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak is compact and easy to manoeuvre. This kayak is a unique whitewater kayak manufactured by the popular company of Ocean Kayak which is mostly known for their marine kayaks.
The Tetra 10 kayak has a unique Comfort Hybrid seat back with lumbar support which helps you paddle all day. There is a Support Track foot brace system that comes with contoured rubber and extra padding. This system provides a secure grip and additional control. The Click Seal bow hatch and large tank well with bungee is easy to open.
Furthermore, you can store fishing gear and other equipment in the storage systems. The Molded-in side carrying handles and bow-stern toggle handles make the kayak portable. There is a molded-in cup holder that measures 10 feet 8 inches and weighs 47 pounds. Overall, the Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak is one of the best whitewater sit on top kayak.
- A unique Comfort Hybrid seat back with lumbar support
- A Support Track foot brace system with extra padding
- A secure grip and additional control
- The Click Seal bow hatch and large tank well with bungee
- The Molded-in side carrying handles and bow-stern toggle handle
- A molded-in cup holder
- Price slightly on the higher side
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Sit On Top Freshwater Kayak
Purpose of the kayak
Are you going to use the kayak for family trips or use it for extreme sports? Maybe you are an avid angler and would like to kayak fishing. Fishing in a whitewater kayak is tricky as you don’t have all the functionality of the multi-functional kayak so buying the right kayak is your best option.
There is no point of buying a lengthy kayak if you only use it in the local lake and buying an inflatable if you plan on shooting rapids is a waste. There are fluid sit on top whitewater kayaks that provide hybrid functionality of sit on top and sit in kayaks.
A kid’s kayak has a weight limit of around 130 lbs, whereas the solo adult kayaks weight limit is around 250 lbs.
Family-sized kayaks have a capacity of 375 to 475 lbs which are perfect for two adults and a kid or more. If you are a solo kayaker but carry a lot of gears, then an extra weight capacity kayak is best for you.
Usability of the kayak
If you only wish to kayak for recreation on weekends and family trips, then a medium budget kayak is best for you. But if you are into competitive whitewater kayak fishing than a hard shell kayak is the best option. The main point is that you should only buy a premium kayak if you plan to use it more frequently.
Portability of the Kayak
The portability of the kayak is another essential factor to consider. The kayak can get stored in a garage and transported on the back of the car.
However, if you do not have a decent sized vehicle or a garage space, then you should look into the inflatable kayak options. These inflatable kayaks can get folded into the size of a suitcase and are incredibly portable.
Ease of access and handling
The sit-on-top kayaks have an open cockpit design which makes it easier to get in and out of the kayak. Furthermore, the paddle must be durable easy to maneuver. This functionality is more important for beginners, as handling the kayak is an essential factor for them.
High-density Polyethylene is one of the most used materials in the construction of the kayak. Polyethene built kayaks are sturdy and robust and come with and UV protection.
You can find the best sit on top kayak based on your budget. If you are an amateur kayaker then a polyethene kayak is the best option for you, they are cheap and sturdy. If you are an expert, more premium options are best suited for you.
The padded and adjustable seats provide more comfort as you may kayak fish for the whole day. As riders come in various sizes and heights, the footrest must be flexible as well. Do not overlook this factor, as you will spend long hours in the kayak without a break.
Safety and stability
The sit on top kayak has a unique design that makes them safer than other kayaks. On top of that, these kayaks also provide extra safety features like UV resistance, puncture resistance, drainage systems etc.
The stability of the kayak depends upon the product itself. The kayaks made for experts come with less stability and more speed while the kayaks for beginners or kids have balance as the main focus point. You can choose the best kayak based on your desires and requirements.
The Final Verdict
All the kayaks listed above come with great features and to choose the best among them is a tough exercise. However, if I had to choose one, I would choose the Perception Pescador Sit-On-Top Kayak.
The Perception Pescador Sit-On-Top Kayak is built with leak-proof one piece construction. The kayak has ample storage capacity along with fishing features and sturdy enough to take multiple abuse in strong current waters. The ergonomic seat comes with extra padding for comfortable kayaking for long hours.
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