1. Jackson Kayak Carbon Rock Star
Jackson Kayak gave their uber popular Rock Star playboat the carbon treatment, reinforcing it with Kevlar and dropping the weight to a ridiculous 9.8 kilograms. That’s a bit over 20 pounds for us Americans. It’s super light and built to do one thing: soar on aerials and win freestyle competitions. This ain’t a river-running boat, but if you’re looking for some help to perfect your McNasty, take note.
40. Dagger Nomad 8.1 Kayak
Simply put, it’s the ultimate creek boat. Yet it’s perfectly suited to paddlers of all levels, thanks to its predictability, stability, and speed. It turns smoothly and tucks into small eddies when you need them most. The displacement hull helps absorb impact from bigger boofs. And the boat’s impressive speed and quick resurfacing come in handy for plowing through big holes. As a result, it’s an easy boat to paddle, whether novice or gonzo.
38. Surftech B-1 Bomber
Finally, a solid paddle board that’s actually built to handle the rigors of river surfing. This SUP is wide, stable, and, best of all, durable. Surftech uses a patent-pending composite polymer with a crazy-good strength-to-weight ratio to create what has to be the most durable SUP on the market. It’s a heavy board (32 pounds) but the B1 is going to handle any rocks in the river, so the trade-off is a no-brainer for paddlers who want a board that can handle Southern Appalachian rivers. $1,395; surftechsup.com
Bonus! Puma Laird
This innovative SUP is a 14-foot carbon-fiber board that mimics a boat hull, making it even faster on the water. Surf legend Laird Hamilton teamed up with yacht designer Juan Kouyoumdjian to design this lightweight racing board, which is built for speed. Expected release is spring 2012.