5 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2018

Kayaking is a sport that is easy to fall in love with. A great upper body workout combined with the joy of being able to escape into the open water is incredibly appealing. Using your kayak for leisure can be incredibly rewarding and take you to places you have never been before. Kayaking allows you to go on day trips through still lakes but can also take you through rough waves on the ocean. Some kayaks even have capabilities to take you down intimidating river rapids. These little boats offer up endless opportunity.

The best recreational kayak will be one that allows you to use it in multiple different ways. All around great boats will have features that allow you to take them through rough rivers and still lakes. We have found the top five kayaks on the market that do just that

Best Recreational Kayaks

Editor's Choice


Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
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Recreational Kayaks Reviews

1. Riot Kayaks Boogie 50 Whitewater Surf Kayak

Riot Kayaks Boogie 50 Whitewater Surf Kayak Check Price Now

If you are looking for a maximum performance kayak for the ocean or white water surfing, look no further. This impressive kayak has a unique shape which helps propel it through the water with speed. Sharp rails and a flat back combined with a spacious front end allows the kayak to bring all of your gear with you no matter the water conditions. The comfortable power seat provides a wide range of motion which helps you stay in control. With a drain plug built in, getting wet while navigating your way down a choppy river bed is no longer a concern. A gracious cockpit and easy to shape foam foot blocks allow this kayak to be loved by any size paddler. Carrying this boat becomes easy with its two rubber grab loops for easy transportation. This is a well equipped recreational kayak.

Length: 7’9”

Weight: 35 lbs

Material: Polyethylene

Maximum Capacity: 200 lbs

Best use: Ocean or white water

What makes this kayak stand out:

  • Comfortable power seat
  • Easy to shape foam foot blocks
  • Sharp rails allow maximum speed

2. Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

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The Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 can be used for a number of different activities. The thoughtful design allows the hull to respond well in rough ocean surf conditions while the sleek design helps it to track well in calm flat water. Pack your fishing gear for a day on the lake knowing you have a paddle holder on board to free your hands. A great all around kayak, it features a double foam padded seat back which provides additional comfort making it a great choice for fishing or longer paddles. The sit on top design along with the overlapping foot wells allows you to ride in comfort no matter your size. With a fully replaceable rear skid plate you no longer have to baby your boat knowing that it can take a healthy beating and easily be replaced. This extends the life of your boat tremendously. Storage is no problem in this kayak, with front and back deep wells with bungee straps simply toss your gear in dry bags and pack it aboard. It even has an additional locked hatch that provides additional dry storage. With a molded in side handle for easy transportation and an easy to access cup holder this kayak becomes even more user friendly. Allow this kayak to take you anywhere you want to go for your next adventure.

Length: 11’6.5”

Weight: 47 lbs

Material: Rotomolded polyethylene

Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs

Best use: Ocean surfing to still lake fishing

What makes this kayak stand out:

  • Replaceable rear skid
  • Tons of storage
  • Comfortable 4 way seat back

3. WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Aspire 105 Kayak


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This kayak is multi functional performing at the top of its class in both comfort and design. Cockpit seating is designed for maximum comfort with a spacious feel. A user friendly quick and easy SlideLock foot brace helps adjust for your height. An ultra comfortable seat provides back stability for longer more comfortable paddles which extend to the bottom of the boat lifting your legs which combats leg fatigue. A thick plastic outer shell made from polyethylene is incredibly forgiving for paddlers who encounter an unexpected rock. The slightly arched hull allows even novice paddlers to be able to maneuver as though they were an expert. A skid plate helps to ensure that this boat remains durable and stays with you for longer while the low profile design will provide stability and control in the surf. Great for still lakes, this kayak can even perform in rougher water with a drop skeg that provides better tracking. There is no shortage of storage on board this kayak. A bungee deck storage as well as a rear covered storage nook ensures you will be able to pack all you need for even extended journeys. This kayak is even equipped with a water bottle holder ensuring you have everything you need within arms reach.

Length: 10’6”

Weight: 48 lbs

Material: Polyethylene

Maximum Capacity: 400 lbs

Best use: Flat water and rivers

What makes this kayak stand out:

  • Skid plate
  • Drop skeg
  • Adjustable seating

4. Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, EnvyOcean Kayak Scrambler 11 Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Envy

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This attractive kayak boasts a sporty sit on top look. Great for paddlers of all sizes the Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 boasts a spacious design with overlapping foot wells to give you the leg space you need. A durable foam padded comfort seat back is 4-way adjustable which provides cushioning and support for long paddles. Tracking smoothly through flat water this kayak is great for long paddles and fishing. The hull shape even allows this kayak to respond well in surf making it an all around good choice. This boat has lots of on deck storage including front and rear deep channels with bungee systems. A 6 inch Cam Lock Hatch even provides dry storage for things like phones or cameras. Never be far from your drink with the on board molded in cup holder. A paddle holder allows your hands to be free for a mid lake lunch or for a day fishing. Maximizing performance this boat will take you where you need to go in style.

Length: 11’6.5”

Weight: 47 lbs

Material: Rotomolded polyethylene

Maximum Capacity: 350 lbs

Best use: Kayak surfing to still water fishing

What makes this kayak stand out:

  • 4 way adjustable comfort seat
  • Small 6 inch locked hatch for dry storage
  • Overlapping foot wells

5. Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set

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This is a great option for beginners looking for an easy to transport and compact kayak. This tandem recreational kayak carries a spacious design with lots of room for movement. Coming equipped with two paddles and an air pump, this set has everything you need to get on your way. With a heavy duty puncture resistant vinyl it is even tough enough to bring your pup along for the ride. The double sided grab lines make docking and transporting this kayak a breeze which can relieve nerves of novice paddlers. A front spacious cargo net will allow you to pack gear with you in an easy to reach convenient location. Simply grab some dry bags for your luggage and stow them close to you. An inflatable backrest provides a comfortable seat that molds to your body providing even more support and cushion. This one of a kind kayak is able to brave the surf navigating you down rivers and across still lakes.

Length: 10’3”

Weight: 31.3 lbs

Material: Heavy duty puncture resistant vinyl

Maximum Capacity: 400 lbs

Accessories: Aluminum oar, Air pump, Repair kit

Best use: Rivers

What makes this kayak stand out:

  • Lightweight design
  • Puncture resistant design
  • Full packaged set

What makes the best recreational kayak?


We have created a recreational kayak buying guide that will help you to determine key features in your next kayak. Being prepared for your day includes being able to bring all of your luggage and gear with you.

When using the top rated kayaks recreationally, getting a kayak with top of the line features will ensure a perfect day on the water. They are famous for their stability and maneuverability making them the best boats to use if you are looking for a fun day on the water or are new to the sport. Their unmatched stability will quickly instill confidence in your rig and make you never want to get out of the water.


Having a skid to line the bottom of your boat will give your kayak added durability. This will act as a barrier between the bottom of your boat and some unexpected rocky terrain. Great for beginners or those going in unconquered areas that may have some unexpected surprises a skid plate will ensure you stay afloat. Some kayaks even have a replaceable skid which means that once it sees some wear and tear you can simply replace the skid rather than buy an entirely new kayak.


A skeg is essentially a fin that is often retractable on the bottom of your kayak. This is important when navigating through rough water. A skeg can be lowered into water when in turbulent water to allow you to formulate a straight path in the water. This is a great feature when looking to do distance paddles.


A recreational cockpit should be large enough for you to get in and out without bumping your knees or body. It will be a long oval shape that makes you feel comfortable. You should be able to put a blanket around you for the colder days and have enough room to move your feet around. Your legs should be able to stretch out and have wiggle room. Keep in mind that if you do roll your rig you should be able to quickly escape if emergency maneuvers fail.


This is an important factor when considering a rec kayak. A comfortable seat will make your trip more enjoyable and comfortable. Look for a fully adjustable seat with lots of padding. You can add a pillow or even a yoga mat for added comfort, but having a base that makes you feel comfortable and confident is vastly important.


The whole idea behind a recreational kayak is to be able to take the sport with you wherever you go. To be able to get the most use out of it, we recommend getting a lightweight boat with carrying handles that allow easy transportation. Portaging your boat between lakes or even just transporting between your car and the river will be made easier with a lightweight and easy to carry design.


You get what you pay for with a recreational kayak. A lightweight, comfortable rig can range from $500 to $1500. When looking for a boat for you there are many things you should consider that will affect the price. Weight is a key factor. The lighter the kayak is the more money it will cost. The trick here is to get a boat that you feel comfortable handling. If you can’t lift the boat onto your car or trailer chances are you won’t get on the water as much as if you like.

Globo Surf Overview

Recreational kayak reviews agree that having a boat that can seamlessly perform in both still lake and open water conditions is key. One with a comfortable seat that is adjustable to fit your height will allow you the freedom to stay on the water for longer periods of time. Regardless of whether you are buying a kayak for long paddles or just weekend fun, we recommend a kayak that can handle being in surf so that you can safely go into lakes and rivers with unexpected conditions.

Love kayaking? Have one on our list? Tell us how you like it in the comment section below.

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Last Update on the 15th of February 2017

New to kayaking or have a kayak on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.

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