8 Popular Whitewater Kayak Brands


Since about the middle of the 20th century, whitewater kayaking has been an activity that has increased in popularity with each passing decade. The growth of the sport is, in large part, due to the invention of new materials and manufacturing processes. With the advent of plastic, mass-produced boats now on the scene, many whitewater kayak brands also sprang up.

Plastic whitewater kayaks now account for over 95% of the kayaks being paddled in rapids on rivers. Each year, the major companies come out with new designs and features that affect both boat performance and boater comfort while on the river. When choosing a kayak, it should be noted that the difference between the brands of kayaks is mainly one of preference. Here are the most popular whitewater kayak brands to choose from.

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In 2003 Eric Jackson–known as “EJ” in kayaking circles–left Wave Sport kayaks to start his own company with friend Tony Lunt. Together they created the Jackson Kayak company. Located in Sparta, TN, Jackson Kayak has a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility and employs 120 workers in this town of 8000. Jackson Kayak boasts that the vast majority of the components are manufactured on site, in Sparta, and every year they increase their ability in that regard.

Stefan Schmitz / flickr 

Bliss Stick Designs are made in New Zealand and are known all over the world. Bliss-Stick U.S. is owned by John Gordon and Sam Fulbright and located in Clover, South Carolina. Still, sort of a niche brand of whitewater kayaks, Bliss-Stick prides itself on growing their kayak business in the U.S. through grassroots efforts, whitewater festivals, and word of mouth.

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