When looking to buy a new kayak, you need to know the kind of paddling that you intend to do beforehand. Now, if you want to paddle in all types of weather conditions and waters, then you want to look for a boat that can withstand them all. So, why not consider buying a crossover kayak?
Crossover kayaks are distinctive and can handle all types of waters; they bear different designs as compared to standard kayak hulls.
Though, choosing the right kayak among the available options is a daunting task. And you must consider several aspects beforehand – to make a judicious investment, of course.
Best 3 Crossover Kayaks
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Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak for Smaller Paddlers is an extremely rugged and strong crossover kayak that can offer spectacular performance. No matter whether you are taking them with you on choppy water or flatwater, you can always except a decent performance from Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak. You will definitely be going to relish its near-perfect manoeuvrability in the rapids and it can speed very fast on flatwater.
Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak is ideal for those paddlers who love to paddle in choppy water. Its deck has got rounded shape and this is what helps it keep the water away.
Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak has got a spacious cockpit area which is very uncommon. You hardly feel confined in it while paddling for hours. Included is drop skeg that adds to its already impressive stability, speed and performance.
Dagger Katana 9.7 Crossover Kayak weighs just around 50lbs and is perfect for small paddlers.
Dagger Mamba 8.6 Creeker Kayak is ideal for bigger guys. Ideal for both beginners and advanced paddlers, Dagger Mamba 8.6 Creeker Kayak is a pure beast when it comes to performance. Considered to be one of the finest crossover kayaks available in the market, Dagger Mamba 8.6 Creeker Kayak is specifically designed for those who seek thrill and excitement in their lives.
Dagger Mamba 8.6 Creeker Kayak comes equipped with thigh braces and adjustable hip pads and this is what makes it super comfy for most paddlers, especially for those who are on the heavier side. Dagger Mamba 8.6 Creeker Kayak is known for exceptional stability. Roto molded seat is definitely a nice addition. Overall, this is a nice crossover kayak that you can take with you on both flatwater and rapids.
Dagger Mamba Sit Inside Whitewater Kayak is best suited for those who want to take their paddling skill to the next level. Known for its forgiving rolling, Dagger Mamba Sit Inside Whitewater Kayak is also beginner’s friendly and has got all the safety features included in it. Men’s Journal (2012) named this crossover kayak as one of the best kayaks in the whitewater category.
It is ideal for those paddlers who want to head to rapids or creeks. Dagger Mamba Sit Inside Whitewater Kayak offers more volume and allows the paddlers to have full control over its movements. The weight of the paddler gets evenly distributed and it comes equipped with thigh braces and hip pads.
What is a Crossover Kayak?
Each kayak is designed to serve a specific purpose. For example, a river kayak is designed for stay stable against all odds whereas Whitewater kayaks are specifically designed to allow paddlers to change the course of the kayak in the blink of an eye. So, as you have already guessed, you simply can’t take a touring kayak on a Whitewater expedition because that would lead to a disaster. The same goes with a Whitewater kayak; you simply can’t take it with you on a lake, because it is designed for speed and agility and not for staying stable.
So, what does this mean? Well, does that mean, you will have to purchase multiple kayaks to suit your needs? Nope rather you can just opt for a crossover kayak. Crossover kayaks are known for their versatility. Crossover kayaks offers best of the both worlds. With it, you will be able to move like a Jagger in Whitewater and you will also be able to stay stable and nimble on flatwater.
Crossover Kayaks Buying Guide
Here are some important factors to ponder upon before making your choices in crossover kayaks.
1. Skeg or Rudder
One of the cons of crossover kayaks is difficulty with straight tracking. Crossover hulls are shorter and flatter as compared to sea or touring kayaks.
Though shorter hulls of crossover kayaks offer more manoeuvrability when riding in Whitewater, such boats do not run smoothly on flat waters. To override this problem, many crossover boats are mounted either with a fixated skeg or a peddle steering rudder. You can set up the rudder or skeg when wading in flatwater for better tracking and more speed; in Whitewater, you can remove them.
The waterline of boats refers to how much of the hull of kayaks comes in contact with water. Through the waterline measurement, you get an indication of how speedily the kayak will cruise over the waters.
During your purchases of crossover kayaks, you must also consider the water types you’ll be paddling on.
In cases where you paddle on flat waters often and Whitewater occasionally, then a boat that has greater waterline should be your pick for efficient tracking and faster speed.
Conversely, if you paddle in Whitewater regularly and sometimes on lakes, then your best bet is a boat having more rocker for greater manoeuvrability.
3. Comfort levels
The degree of comfort in kayaks is an important consideration. Look for a kayak that is stable and offers a strong grip while traversing through Whitewater. More so, you will need sufficient storage space to be comfortable when spending the day in flat waters while paddling your kayak.
Now, to be comfortable in your kayak, the key aspect to look for is adjustability. When shopping around for crossover kayaks, check whether the boat has adjustable thigh braces, footplates, and seating options. Moreover, check whether you can make the necessary adjustments to the grip and fit of your cockpits depending on the types of water that you’re travelling on.
To measure the rocker of kayaks, you should check how much the hull bends from bow to stern. Boats having more rockers rate higher in manoeuvrability; also, more of the hull of such boats is hauled out of the water.
Shorter kayaks offer better manoeuvrability benefits while boats having more waterline can run speedily in flat waters.
6. Hull Shape
Study the shape of the hull of kayaks to know whether the boats are more suited for Whitewater paddling of flatwater paddling. Crossover kayaks have several features due to which the hulls are suitable for riding through Whitewater and flatwater.
Also, the amount of rocker is an indication of what the vessel is more suited for. In cases of boats having more rocker, you can assume that they are suitable for sailing on Whitewater. And if the boat has less rocker, they are suitable for gliding over flatwater.
Crossover kayaks, in most cases, have some amount of rocker. Albeit, if you’re planning to go paddling on flatwater rather than on Whitewater, boats with less rocker can be easier to paddle on lakes.
Wider kayaks are more stable. If planning on long kayak camping tours where you need to carry gear, crossover kayaks having large-sized bulkheads and hatches can carry your gear more comfortably.
8. Material used
Plastic-based crossover kayaks that are composed of rotomolded polyethylene are strong and durable. You can use them in rocky terrain without causing any damage. If you weigh on the heavier side, consider the weight capacity of the boat and size of the cockpit to make sure you’ll be comfortable during your boat rides.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.