Star Rival Review

Bottom Line:

The Star Rival inflatable kayak is an angler’s kayak – experts agree that this is one of the most stable and portable inflatable kayaks out there for recreational fun on the water. It’s great value for money, too!

However, reviewers warn that you probably shouldn’t depend on this boat too much for speed or straight paddling. However, with a removable fin, it tracks reasonably all the same.



based on 3 reviews

Performance Ratings:

  • Handling
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Onboard Storage
  • Portability
  • Durability


Size (length x width)12'6" x 38"
Weight31 lbs
Capacity300 lbs
Material1000 Denier PVC
WarrantyThree years

Comparison to Similar Kayaks:

Star Rival Advanced Elements Expedition Elite Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Sea Eagle RazorLite 393rl Sea Eagle 380x Explorer
Expert Rating
Size12'6" x 38"13' x 32"11'2" x 37"12'10" x 28"12'6" x 39"
Weight31 lbs42 lbs31.5 lbs35 lbs40 lbs
Onboard Storage7.

Star Rival Review

Reasons to Buy:
  • Highly durable in rough conditions
  • Incredible stability
  • Nice and easy to turn
  • Compacts down well
  • Fishing model has endless gear attachment options
Reasons Not to Buy:
  • Not a fast boat by any stretch
  • Not great on the legs from a seated position

Performance of the Star Rival

The Star Rival is a sit-on-top inflatable kayak for a single paddler. Experts agree that the Star Rival is almost like a floating deck and offers an extremely stable platform – great for kayakers who want to simply take a gentle trip out fishing on still waters. The shape of the boat’s hull and the sheer width of the kayak don’t seem to help it much against the waves.

Beyond these points, reviewers seem to agree that it’s a comfortable boat. It certainly appears comfy to lie down on and let drift and a drain port below the seat eliminates standing water on the kayak’s deck. However, a lack of foot or leg rests means you’re going to experience some fatigue over longer journeys.

Online experts also rate the fact this boat packs down impressively compact – with a carry bag provided for trips in the car or truck. However, there’s no carry handle on the side – meaning you pretty much need to hoist the boat up and carry it to the launch point if you’re heading to the water.

Durability appears to get a firm thumbs-up from experts, too, as this boat features a thick drop stitch deck. The floor inflates to a respectable 8 PSI while the side tubes inflate to 3 PSI with the top-quality Leafield C7 inflation valves.

The package includes a fin, seat, carry bag, pump, and repair kit, and reviewers claim that this is a very customizable boat for fishing enthusiasts in particular. Its stern fin plate allows interchangeable fins and the self-draining deck gives you lots of space and numerous lashing points for your gear.

Expert Reviews of the Star Rival

7.3PaddleTVI used the Rival Fishing variant of the Star Rival inflatable kayak, which essentially means I had access to more mounts than the standard model for extra customization. While I probably wouldn't invest in this boat personally (it just doesn't track very well, honestly), it's a wonderful recreational kayak that I found amazing to lie on and paddle from various angles. It's a user-friendly platform that I think's really worth the money.Read more
7.8In4AdventureThe Star Rival is a super-comfy, extremely stable ride that will suit most recreational trips. What it lacks in tracking and straight runs, it really makes up for in comfort (and how easy it is to lounge in and on). I've used this as a personal dock, and I think it's well worth the money.Read more
7.5Busted OarlockWhile I probably won't be running the Star Rival kayak on any rapids any time soon, this is a great kayak for gentle trips and especially for fishing. I love how versatile it is, and I love the fact that I can easily move from sitting down to standing without it putting me off my trip.Read more

Handling of the Star Rival

Expert Rating: 6.0

5.5PaddleTVThis is by no means a high-performance kayak - it's not the fastest, and its tracking isn't great. However, it paddles reasonably fine - it's just not built for anything more than recreational trips. The removable fin certainly helps with straight tracking, and it's generally easy to turn. The hull just isn't designed to cut through water - it'll slap against the waves.Read more
5.5In4AdventureThe Rival isn't a very fast kayak at all, and I found it tends to bounce rather than slice into the water - it's not great up against waves and has a pretty flat hull. However, where it falls down in tracking, it picks up right away in terms of stability. You probably won't need to use the removable fin, because, beyond the tracking issues, this boat is fairly easy to move around when needed.Read more
7.0Busted OarlockThis is a pretty versatile boat that I found actually works reasonably well as a paddle board. The Rival's wings really help to make it easy to keep on track, and I'd certainly recommend you use the detachable fin for the best tracking experience. It's pretty light and reasonably fast. Changing directions is quick and easy, too.Read more

Stability of the Star Rival

Expert Rating: 8.5

9.0PaddleTVThis kayak is super-stable, and it's thanks to the give I mentioned in the "handling" section. It's like a floating dock! I found it super easy to lounge and drift on, without worrying about tipping. It's so open in design that you don't even have to worry about paddling positions. I'd bring a pillow on this thing for a nap! It's great for a nice, stable, fishing trip.Read more
9.5In4AdventureLie down, stand up, you choose - I found this kayak to be amazingly stable for recreational trips. I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to take this out for a nap; it's almost like having a personal dock!Read more
7.0Busted OarlockThis is an amazingly sturdy and well-balanced kayak that, again, I've used as a paddle board. You can sit down or stand up - your choice.Read more

Comfort of the Star Rival

Expert Rating: 7.2

7.0PaddleTVThe openness of this boat means you can stand up, lie down - position yourself however you wish! It's extremely comfortable; you get a good five inches of elevation with the seat, which while not super wide, is comfy all the same. A word of warning, though - there's no foot brace, which could make trips a little fatiguing after a while (it did for me)Read more
7.0In4AdventureThe Star Rival sit-on-top kayak is pretty comfortable overall, mainly thanks to the wide deck. I found the seat gave me a reasonable lift, more comfortable than a lot of kayak seating I've tried over the years. I find it really easy to move around and reposition on this boat - but be warned, there's no foot or leg support, which will lead to fatigue.Read more
7.5Busted OarlockI found it nice and easy to move from standing up to sat down as and when needed, and it didn't disrupt my flow.Read more

Onboard Storage of the Star Rival

Expert Rating: 7.8

8.5PaddleTVDespite being so wide and open, there is absolutely tons of deck space for gear front and back, with bow and stern bungee rigging. The fishing model makes it even easier to store gear as it comes with extra mounts, too.Read more
7.0Busted OarlockThis is an extremely versatile boat that I feel you can really customize for your own fishing needs without much hassle - meaning you can attach extra gear, storage, etc, without complaint.Read more

Portability of the Star Rival

Expert Rating: 7.0

5.0PaddleTVThe Star Rival kayak comes with a carry bag - but doesn't have a side handle for taking it to and from the water! This could make things a little awkward and cumbersomeRead more
9.0Busted OarlockThis kayak really packs down well. It's got a nice carry case which I found easily compacted at short notice, and it's super-easy to pump up in a few minutes. For the robustness of this boat, the portability's fantastic.Read more

Durability of the Star Rival

Expert Rating: 8.8

8.5PaddleTVThis kayak's drop-stitch construction and 8 PSI make it reach an impressive level of stiffness. I haven't had the chance to try this kayak up against the rocks yet, but my experience with other Star boats tells me this brand builds some reliable, robust products. I'd expect the same level of durability from the Rival.Read more
9.0In4AdventureI love Star kayaks for their durability. I came across no issues during my time with this boat, but if other Stars are anything to go by, this drop-stitch kayak will take a lot of punishment.Read more