During the Good Ol’ Days of Kayaking, one very appealing thing about kayaking was that you can either kayak on calm sea waters or on the turbulent whitewater that would get your adrenaline pumping.
However, until recently, there has been no kayaks that could efficiently navigate either water conditions. Then, you couldn’t eat your cake and have it; you had to either own a kayak designed for seawater or whitewater before you could go kayaking on either water body.
If you ever suffered this water body dilemma, be of good cheer because the crossover kayak can float smoothly on calm waters without compromising on the easy maneuverability needed for whitewater. So, if you are looking to get yourself a crossover kayak, I have compiled for you my best crossover kayaks in 2020, along with a guide for choosing crossover kayaks generally.
How to choose the best crossover kayak
Before going ahead to recommend any product, I would like to first show you how to choose the best kayaks for yourself because there are some things that you have to be on the lookout for when choosing a crossover kayak.
The most important of them are the material of the Kayak, length, width, comfort, Rudder, skeg, rocker and waterline.
The advantages of crossover kayaks
Of the many advantages in using crossover kayaks, here are a few to get your mouth watery:
- It houses the best attributes of both whitewater kayaks and sea kayaks, making it perfect for both water bodies.
- They often come with enough storage capacity to conveniently fit in kayakers.
Things to look for in crossover kayaks
There are some things that you have to be on the lookout for when choosing a crossover kayak.
- Rocker and Waterline: The rocker measurement of a kayak is the amount of the kayak’s hull that is above water, while the Waterline measurement is the amount of the hull that touches the water. Whitewater kayaks have a higher rocking measurement than sea kayaking, while the reverse is the case for sea kayaks.
Thus, if you know that you’d be kayaking mostly on whitewater then you should probably pick a Crossover kayak with a higher rocker measurement.
- Skeg or Rudder: Crossover kayaks, because of their designs, often need some extra attachments to help them track easily on calm waters. It is for this reason that most crossover kayaks come with skegs or rudders.
- Hull Material: For most crossover kayaks, their hulls are made of polyethylene. And polyethylene is chosen for its relatively light weight, and ability to withstand hits on whitewater.
- Length: Crossover kayaks have lengths that fall in between those of whitewater kayaks (which are always short) and sea kayaks (which can be as long as 12feet). This length is chosen so that the kayaks can do relatively well on the different water levels.
- Comfort: Needless to say, you don’t want to come back after a long time kayaking only to be complaining about leg cramps. So, crossover kayaks often have larger enough cockpit space while still have some more for your luggage.
Best way to use a crossover kayak
Because of the spectacular design of this kayak, it can actually be used quite ruggedly without many limitations. However, if you are buying a kayak that has a higher rocker measurement, you should stick more to whitewater and if yours has a higher waterline measurement, do more sea kayaking.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the best of both water bodies whenever you want.
Even though I have said most of the things you need to know when choosing a crossover kayak, you can go ahead to watch this YouTube video for more clarification.
The best kayaks
# 1 Dagger Katana 10.4
This 10’4” long kayak is a perfect example of a crossover kayak that best merges the best attributes of both whitewater and seawater kayaks. The hull itself is not only built with polyethylene, making it strong enough to resist assaults from rock obstructions, it is also designed in such a way that makes it perfectly stable, irrespective of any water condition.
Another thing that makes this kayak stand out is its width. With a width of 27.25″, it provides a more stable experience, especially for those new to kayaking. Also, the width is great because of its large storage space, where other gears could be kept. Furthermore, adjustable seats and restraining straps can help to make your ride much more comfortable.
The hull of the Dagger Katana 10.4 is rounded for one reason: easy maneuvering. With this, you will not only be able to easily navigate the whitewater but will ensure that you don’t suffer any tracking and stability issues on the sea waters, as this kayak comes with a skeg that keeps the kayak stable.
- Large storage space.
- Its skeg allows for a perfect tracking.
- Designed to be stable in all water bodies.
- Adjustable seats and thigh straps for comfort.
- Not the fastest kayak
- Tall paddlers may find it a little uncomfortable.
#2 Pyranha Fusion II kayak
Built with polyethylene and weighing just 50 pounds, the Pyranha Fusion II kayak easily makes it into my list of best three crossover kayaks for some reasons. The first being that the kayak has a rocker profile that gives it an advantage of maneuverability and speed on the whitewater. And simply because the manufacturers also considered its stability and trackability on flat water, they equipped it with a proper waterline profile and skeg that is easily deployed on flat water.
Another reason why this kayak makes a good crossover kayak is its versatile storage space. Apart from the spacious compartment in the rear of the kayak, it has some bungee rigging in front that secures other items while kayaking on flat water.
- Versatile storage space which includes a rear storage compartment and a form of bungee rigging.
- Adjustable seats and straps for safety and comfort.
- Perfectly stable on any water body.
- Not the best for speed
- The opening of the rear storage compartment is quite small.
#3 Jackson Karma RG kayak
The Jackson Karma RG kayak is another kayak that should not be overlooked when it comes to the category of the best crossover kayaks. A number of features make it very nice for sea kayaking, and one of them is in its length. The 11 feet long kayak gives it an enhanced speed when kayaking on flat water.
And the deployed skeg also makes the kayak stable and trackable on flat waters. However, this kayak mostly stays firm while on whitewater. Its rounding hull makes maneuvering with this kayak an easy job. And even if you hit an obstacle, the polyethylene made hull takes the brunt of the collision.
When it comes to storing items, the Jackson Karma RG is not to be beaten as it has a total carrying capacity of more than 300 pounds. The rear storage compartment is wide enough to hold as many gears as possible while the bungee rigging in front would hold whatever is left of the items. There is also enough room for you to stretch your legs without the slightest bit of discomfort.
- Very spacious and has a large carrying capacity.
- Adjustable seats and straps for comfort.
- Fast for flat water kayaking.
- Its skeg allows for ways tracking and stability.
- Two handles on the rear in case of a water rescue.
- Its length makes it a little less maneuverable on whitewater.
All these kayaks are really good crossover kayaks but I would go for the Dagger Katana 10.4 if I had to pick one of the three. The Dagger Katana works perfectly on various water bodies and is very comfortable. It may not be as fast as the Jackson Karma RG but it is definitely not slow.
Its rocker and waterline profiles makes it good for navigation on any water body, unlike the other kayaks that have slight learnings towards either flat water or white water kayaking.
Its storage space makes can hold almost anything. In my personal opinion, all these features combined, makes the Dagger Katana 10.4 my pick.