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AXIOM 6.9 BY DAGGER $629, DAGGER.COM At just under 7 feet in length and with a weight limit of 120 pounds, this whitewater boat was built for kids, teens and smaller adults. But the Axiom is no toy: The boat’s materials and design are made to handle whitewater up to Class V.


HYDRUS 3L MYTHIC SHORTY


DRY TOP BY KOKATAT $220, KOKATAT.COM Keep warm up top with this waterproof piece. Latex neck and arm gaskets seal water out, and the fabric has a breathable membrane to minimize sweat while paddling hard on a river.


PADDLING HELMET


BY WRSI $80, WRSISAFETY.COM A basic-but-bomber whitewater helmet, the WRSI meets industry safety standards and has a no-fuss design with a short bill. A three-layer impact system with foam and a hard shell helps keep noggins safe.


EXPRESSION 11.5 BY PERCEPTION $829, PERCEPTIONKAYAKS.COM A crossover model, the Expression is billed as fast, stable and versatile in varying aquatic terrain. Easily maneuver its 11.5-foot hull through gentle rapids. Or explore flat-water environs thanks to a skeg that keeps the boat tracking straight on lakes or ocean bays. The shorter length makes it easy for newbies to master a touring-style kayak.


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