Kayak Styles

Kayak Styles
As the sport of white-water kayaking has advanced, kayaks made for white water have become more specialized. Saying you own a white-water kayak no longer completely describes your boat. Kayaks have become specialized and made for specific purposes, as paddlers specialize in certain areas and styles of paddling.

Creek Boats

Creeking kayaks are made for running big drops on tight, technical steep creeks. These boats have a high volume to resurface quickly after large drops and maintain high float over river features. High rocker aids in turning and sliding over rocks and other obstacles common in creeks, and a displacement hull makes for softer landings off drops.

River Runners

River runners are the all-around boats of the white-water family. Smaller than creek boats, they are still long as white-water boats go and have substantial volume. As a result, these kayaks are fast and stable, making them effective for beginners or anyone who just likes paddling the river safely and comfortably without stopping to play. Planing hulls add to the speed and make the boats carve easily through features and across eddy lines.

Free Runners

Free Runners, more commonly known as River Playboats or River Running Playboats, are a smart choice for those who want to get into freestyle playing while in a boat with enough length and volume to easily explore all that the river has to offer. With lower volumes in the bow and stern, planing hulls and slicey edges, these boats open play potential, while remaining stable enough for even beginners to feel comfortable paddling downstream.


The smallest white-water boats, freestyle kayaks are made for those who get into throwing serious tricks. Almost all the volume is concentrated in the center cockpit area, and those not used to these boats will find them considerably less stable when paddling downriver. However, the volume placement, along with slicey edges and hard chines, make possible flips, cartwheels, loops and other freestyle moves.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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