Dagger Mamba 8.1 Creeker

BEST FOR RUNNING WHITEWATER

When you're whitewater kayaking for the first time, you want a boat that's both stable and predictable. At 8 feet 1 inch, with a gently rounded bow and stern, the Mamba is easy to roll and lacks the edges that tend to catch currents and flip paddlers. Though the boat's planing-style hull makes it ripe for spins and surfing standing river waves, it isn't well suited to advanced playboating tricks. But you won't soon outgrow the Mamba: The same characteristics that make it beginner-friendly make it a smart choice for advanced paddlers interested in pushing their limits on more demanding rapids. Just ask pro kayakers Tyler Bradt and Rush Sturges, who recently chose the Mamba to run the treacherous whitewater of Africa's Congo River. [$1,050; dagger.com]