WaveSport Recon 83 Whitewater Kayak Review

The Recon will get paddlers down the river safely while performing at the highest levels of creeking and class IV-V+ boating, enhancing a paddler’s confidence and skill sets in the process to make boundary pushing safer than ever before.

The continuous rocker profile combined with the unique distribution of volume makes this design very fast and easy to boof. The unique volume in the bow and its pronounced, upswept shape make the Recon resurface and unload water quickly when blasting through holes, while the domed stern deck minimises back-ending in holes and drops.  The location of the full stern chine combined with the generous side wall flare provides superb secondary stability and substantial control when carving, ferrying, or tracking.  The Recon is also equipped with seven points of rescue and strategically placed soft grip handles for greater accessibility. The Recon was designed for intermediate and advanced paddlers who want best-in-class performance and maximum safety features while enjoying both multi-day river trips and tackling class IV & V+ rapids.

RRP: £999
More info:


Length: 251 cm
Width: 67cm
Weight: 23kg
Volume: 314L
Paddler Weight: 64-91kg


  • CORE WhiteOut Outfitting
  • CORE Creek Seat – Roto Moulded Tank Style
  • Safety Step-Out Wall – with Easy-Grip Handle
  • CORE Ratchet Leg Lifter Control
  • Ratchet Adjustable Backband
  • Multi-part Adjustable Thigh Braces – with Removable Outer Thigh Hook
  • Multi-Adjustable WhiteOut Hip Pads
  • Bulkhead Foot Brace System – with Foam Padding
  • Security Grab Points
  • Soft Grip Grab Handles
  • Includes – Optional Seat Booster Pad

Paddler Verdict

The WaveSport Recon is a whitewater kayak designed to do a specific job, and it does that job very well indeed. In the right hands it is a fast steep creek kayaking machine, capable of holding a line through very challenging water, and with the volume and rocker profile to look after you all the way down the river. Generous volume is distributed well to allow for excellent control, so long as the paddler possesses the technical ability required to assert themselves over a kayak of this volume and hull design.

Fully stocked with all of the safety features required for a whitewater kayak intended for this type of activity, the Wave Sport Recon is fully ready to meet the needs of intermediate and advanced paddlers who want a large whitewater kayak to watch their backs while they push their boundaries on higher grades of whitewater and multi-day river adventures.

The Ride

WaveSport has taken no prisoners in their efforts to design an uncompromising big volume creek boat to cater to the grade 4-5 whitewater kayaking demographic. A high profile pronounced rocker keeps this boat punching through holes with no loss of speed, and arms it with a reliably snappy boof. It doesn’t take long paddling the Recon at all to be assured that it has all of the speed and power through turbulent water needed for taking on serious challenges, and the high volume – which keeps you riding high at all times – is certainly confidence inspiring in these environments.

The WaveSport Recon can handle incredibly well. It holds its line impressively and bears down some very meaty-looking stoppers like they’re mere bath bubbles. Like all displacement-hulled boats of serious volume like this one, it needs to be bossed around with some technically precise paddling, cranked up on edge to drive through turns, in order to get the most out of its potential agility in sporty water. If you’re able to paddle in an assertive way required, you will benefit from how well and under control you can carve around and cross substantial flow and jets quickly.

Despite its substantial volume, the Recon is more than just a blunt object for punching holes and boofing drops: all of that volume is nicely distributed so that although the pronounced rocker is always riding high, there always seems to be plenty of boat in the water to retain traction, and there’s enough left in the stern, which is domed to shed water quickly, to mean back looping is an unlikely eventuality. Having volume in a big creek boat like this intelligently distributed always makes the difference between a kayak that is plain unwieldy and one that just requires bossing around; Wave Sport’s Recon falls very firmly into the latter category.

Considerable size is no accident in the Recon: its design speaks of the volume steep creeks and long multi-day adventure potential of the land from which it original hails, namely the US of A. While the Recon’s pedigree for these rivers is no doubt useful over there, there is no lack of equally well-suited water on this side of the Atlantic to give it a proper run at the grade and power for which it is destined by birth. The other side of this coin is that anyone who takes the Recon on water of a substantially lower grade might end up feeling a little like they’ve brought a rocket launcher to a fist fight, and anybody lacking the technical precision possessed by this kayak’s target audience may find that they struggle to keep it under their full control. In short: the Recon performs at its best when paddled on the water it likes best by the paddlers that can show it who’s boss.

Fixtures and Fittings

As you’d be right to expect, the Recon comes fully loaded with all of the safety features required for the white water undertakings it’s designed for. Seven rescue points, in total, include updated handles that are well placed for ease of accessibility. We have no doubts whatsoever that appropriate expert care and attention has been paid to all elements of safety to do with the Recon’s design.

One new development that you’d be pretty hard-pressed to miss in the Recon is the new, incredibly flash Core outfitting. The list of features this outfitting brings with it is extensive, to say the least, and available on the WaveSport website. Suffice it to say, though, we were suitably impressed by the quality and apparent durability of this totally revamped outfitting. Safety, ergonomics and comfort are all addressed as well as look – which speaks for itself – in this new multi-faceted outfitting. Everything is adjustable, and adjustments are easier to make, meaning a new level of snug fit with the boat: a huge bonus for any paddler. Every new Recon is also supplied with a supplementary fitting kit that includes items such as foam pads, a seat booster, foot blocks and the like.

This extensive array of comfort, safety and performance-enhancing outfitting may well be making itself known too on the scales: at 23kg the Recon is not a small object to lug around. Although heavy, it is not unreasonably so for the type of kayak is designed to do, and we’d take robust and safe outfitting over an easy carry in this instance every time.


  1. great kayak ,my wife has. recon 83 I have recon93. the kayaks handles class 3 rapids like a hot knife cutting butter

  2. I have a recon83 by far the best kayak I have ever owned, it is also the most comfortable one to be in when you are on white water grade 4-5 it rolls very well to. I have Owned a few kayaks in my time. but I will never sell my recon83 I will paddle that boat till it fall apart that is how good it is

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