kayak review

Testing out the Loki with a classic seal launch.
Photo: Dave Costello

Some boat designs never get broken. Sure, the sport can evolve, the tricks can get bigger and more dynamic. That progression, especially in the case of playboating, has in turn pushed form to drive even higher function. But at a certain point however, function for the cutting edge surpasses the average levels of skill (and interest) of regular joe paddlers. Manufacturers are finally heeding this demand of the pendulum swinging back a degree in favor of the intermediate-levels of awesome: the wave-catching, flat-spinning, rock-splatting, stern-squirting simpler days of old. This last season, we took stock of a few models that breathe new life back into classic kayak design concepts—ones placing a premium on downriver play. And since bringing back classic concepts is such a common tune played in the world of canoe design, no retro-boat rundown would be complete without one. So after testing this crop of boats for our latest kayak review from Washington state’s favorite downriver run to extended wilderness stretches in Ontario and Idaho, we found one thing true: the best (designs) never rest. —DS


Jackson Fun
Runner 70
RPM 9.0 Limited
Nova Craft
Jackson Fun Runner 700 Dagger RPM 9.0 Limited Nova Craft Moisie Pyranha Loki