2010 Jackson Kayak Reviews & Paddle This Tuesday!

We’re really excited to have one of Jackson Kayak’s factory pros in town with us this Tuesday (3/23/10) to fill us in on their line-up for this year! Stephen Wright will be around the shop all day if you have questions, but better yet – he’s taking us out for an after-work paddle so we can use his boats and get a good on-water feel for the new designs. Want to join us? Please do! We’re going to head out from the shop around 5pm and would love to have you give us your thoughts on the new boats too (give us a call if you need to meet us elsewhere so we’re sure not to miss you).

If you want to use your coffee breaks (it IS a Friday after all) for a little “research”, here are some reviews to keep ya’ busy!

The 2010 Stars

We have yet to meet a playboater out there who doesn’t love the Star family. They’re a fantastic playboat and it sounds like Jackson is just raising the bar with the updated 2010 line up. Here’s a quick review courtesy of Phil Boyer:

The shorter bow and stern along with the increased volume around the cockpit allow the boat to spin faster, rotate from bow to stern more quickly and maximize retentiveness – on holes and waves. These enhancements offer many benefits:

-an increase in energy reserves
-longer surfs
-faster boat response from edge to edge
-stable while front, back and side surfing
-secondary stability while surfing
-spins on a dime
-bigger bounce and pop for bigger moves
-ease of dropping the bow or stern for arial moves
-easy to roll from all positions

The 2010 Allstar is a play boat like no other. It will help every paddler become a better play boater.


Need some more “from the water” reviews? Here ya’ go!

The 2010 Funs

This boat is hands down one of our most popular boats: it runs rivers, it plays, it’s (pardon the pun) FUN! Here’s a quick review of the 2010 from Scott Dougherty, owner/teacher of World Class Kayak Academy:

The new Fun series is a terrific improvement on what has been a staple choice for paddlers who prefer a more classic design over the more freestyle specific 2010 Star series. It feels much more balanced in volume distribution between the bow and stern in comparison to the previous model, making it easy to maintain balance when linking ends.

This seemed to contribute to the boat’s stability in the more challenging whitewater, as well, as it felt very comfortable in the rapids on the Upper Gauley. At the same time, the new Fun retains the narrower width and longer length in the tail retaining the design’s ability to initiate stern squirts and stalls easily. Finally, one of the biggest improvements over the previous design in my opinion was the hull. On a wave and in a hole it had the release I seek in a playboat, spinning easily on smaller green waves. This is a quality I enjoy in the Star series, which combined with the length of the Fun series made it easy to catch every variety of play feature all the way down the river. I can see a lot of potential in this boat and look forward to paddling it downriver in big water.


Also check out JK’s announcement of the redesigned Fun series for official specs.

The All New Villian

This is Jackson’s latest creek boat offering and so far all the feedback we’ve heard is nothing but gold! I thought I’d post a review from Stephen Wright, since we’re getting to paddle with him, and his post has a video along with it – and who doesn’t love a good video, right?

The new Villain S rocks my world! This video is of the 49 to Bridgeport section of the South Yuba near Nevada City in California. This is my first attempt at a video with my new GoPro Hero HD helmet cam-I learned the hard way that Transcend SD cards don’t get along with GoPro-it stopped recording after about 1/3 of the run.

The Villain S is SWEET! It’s FAST, nimble, boofs EVERYTHING, stable, forgiving, holds a line at speed yet easy to spin at low speeds, carries TONS of speed through foam and away from drops. This is a great run to highlight how well the Villain S paddles: plenty of rocks and boofs, but lots of boils and pushy curlers as well. Keep an eye out for how easily this boat goes where I want it to-love that. You’ll also get to see my creeking style: boof every rock I can see-I just can’t stay away from them.I have a real problem.


More proof required? Here’s a ladies take on the Villian from Kat Levitt as well as a fairly extensive review from Darin McQuoid.

One more thing

Playak.com posted an article the other day on color customization for Jackson Kayaks. If you have the perfect color scheme in mind, here are the details on how to make it happen. Give us a call and we can get you set up with the prettiest (or coolest, or toughest) boat you’ve ever laid your eyes on!

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Team Pyranha Paddlin in Uganda

Yep you’re sitting at work and wishing you were paddling… say maybe in Uganda? Uganda is considered by many to be the holy grail of kayak locations. Cheap livin, perfect weather, minimal health risks, warm – big – perfect surf waves, and easy shuttles. Heck Steve Fisher bought an island there! If you needed any … here’s some inspiration for your next 2 week kayak vacation. John

Revin it up in Uganda…
The cold winter days get to you here in the UK, so winter sun is where its at.

Armed with the new Pyranha Rev kayak and a pair of boardies we left the below freezing weather conditions of Europe and headed out to the equatial country of Uganda and the bath water temperature of the Nile…
Blunting on 50 / 50

It was only going to be a flying visit, two weeks of big volume river running and river play, oh and of course the legendary Ugandan hospitality 😉
Entertaining the kids on the way home from school – Kalagala
The Rev proved to be an awesome big river / big wave machine going big at every opportunity. Setting up easily, ollies very well and lands as if on auto pilot!

For a quick photo montage follow the link
Go have your own adventure!
Posted by Ben White
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Pyranha Rev M Long

Pyranha Rev M Long :
We just got this flier from Pyranha on the new REV M Long. Looks like they’ve come out with a REV for long legged paddlers in a Medium size. Cool.

If you cant read the above photo…. here’s what it says:

1) Sized for the Tall Guys.

  • This ones for tall mid sized paddlers who struggle to find a comfortable fitting playboat.
  • If you’re between 65-95 kgs and 6′ plus, try this size!

2) Pyranha Vortex Rails.

  • Let you rip up waves, then surf like a god.

3) Cockpit and Volume.

  • A Larger cockpit than the S and M sizes for easy access and better thigh grip positioning.
  • The raised knee area gives you a better position for freestyle control.

4) Modified Planing Surface.

  • Lets you spin with ease.

5) Modified Bow and Stern.

  • The Rev M-Long has a narrow bow with plenty of rocker and a narrow stern to let paddlers engage the edges with ease.

6) Latest HDPE metallocene.

  • Stiff and lightweight

Width: 24.5″
Volume: 56.8 gal
Weight range: 165-253 (Pyranha includes your gear for weight range So, I’d guess top paddler weight to be 220?)
Interested in one? Let us know at kayakshed.com

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Pyranha Rev

This one comes from the boys at Pyranha on their new Kayak.
You could say that the design process for the Rev started the day the 4-Twenty hit the water. From that day, Pyranha head honcho Graham Mackereth has been collecting feedback from the team from all over the world, what we liked about the boat, and more importantly, what we didn’t like and wanted changed. Now that might sound like a good plan, but keep in mind if you ask 10 team paddlers what they think about the boat, you’ll get 12 different opinions. Somehow he managed to distill all the conflicting information down and shape a prototype. Graham flew over for Gauleyfest with two prototype boats, gave them to the team and said “paddle it tell me what you don’t like about it, we want to finalize the design next week.” Cool, that’s like someone giving you a new boat to play with and saying “you can paddle it, but you’re not allowed to have fun, you have to spend the whole time thinking about what you don’t like.” Somehow I managed to have fun with it. Then over the next week or so there was a flurry of e-mails from across the globe to Pyranha headquarters in the UK, Tweaks on everything from where it needed more volume, rocker profiles, length, width, and edges to things like drainplug placement and the location of the hand grips behind the cockpit, and pictures of the plug under development going back out to the team. A few weeks later, the first pictures of production boat came out, and it looked like the process had paid off. I don’t know how Graham manages to pull together everything the team tells him, but somehow he manages to do it, and make a better boat than any one of us could make ourselves. I guess when you’ve been doing it for over three decades, you figure things out.So this week, I got my hands on the first of the finished boats, the Medium size. So what’s different from the 4-Twenty?The Yellow boat is a M/L 4-Twenty, the Orange boat is the M Rev. The Rev is a bit shorter, has a less volume in the ends and more volume around the knees and center section. The idea being to make the boat slicier for cartwheels and blunts, while keeping it retentive an poppy for loops. Lifting the knees up also makes the boat more comfortable.In this shot the, you can see the differences in volume distribution, and also that the stern has been lifted up slightly from the 4-Twenty to make it more friendly backwards, and that the stern rocker break has been moved slightly forward for better take-off from a wave. Even though the Rev looks slightly bigger, the volume distribution makes it easier to throw around.Here’s where you can see another of the big differences between the two. The planing surface on the Rev has been narrowed down considerably from the 4-Twenty, making the boat much easier to edge. This was one of the biggest problems I had with the M/L 4-twenty (and the reason I primarily paddled the S/M)- I felt like it was just a little bit too wide. Also notice the rails on the Rev are longer to help with the speed and are lifted up to make them more forgiving. The sidewall of the boat is more flared it, again to make it more forgiving.The rails on the stern have been changed, sharpened up, and extended back to make the boat track better on a wave and to make the stern release better for spins and blunts. The stern is also slightly narrower, which should help the boat take off on edge better.The other big change from the 4-Twenty is the number of sizes. I’m hearing 4 sizes now, Small, Medium (pictured), Large, and a “medium long”- a slightly stretched verison that will be optimized for tall skinny paddlers, so you guys won’t have to take out all the foot foam, thighbraces, move the seat back, drill new holes, etc and paddle a boat that doesn’t really fit you and/or is so stern heavy you can’t do anything in it.So the next thing to do was to take it out and get it on the water. I headed over to Scudders on the Delaware to meet up with Jared and get the boat wet. I’d been to Scudders once before a few years ago, and swore I’d never go back, but Jared told me things had changed there recently, and what had been a flushy green wave was now a good deep hole. Wow, this place is good now! It’s probably the best hole in New Jersey- though that’s not saying much, but it’s certainly quality. A bit like a narrower, slightly flushier Salida hole, but with a green shoulder on the surfer’s right.Jared CartwheelingJared LoopingJeremy LoopingJeremy Looping again.We figured out that since the water was cold, the best thing to do was just do really big loops to keep our heads dry. The Rev really delivered for us. The boat really came out the way I hoped it would, balanced for cartwheels, big pop for loops, snappy for blunts, loose, and above all, forgiving and easy to paddle. I slid in and felt like “ok, I know what this boat is all about.” It’s going to be a good season.

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Halloween at Skookumchuck

Halloween at Skookumchuck

Last Tuesday I headed up north for a late season Halloween surf trip.  I checked the levels the night before I and was happy to see the tides were maxing out at 14 to 15 knots for four days. Yay!  I get cold pretty easily and was a not so stoked to see it was running super early in the morning.  Even so, I couldn't pass up one last Skook trip before winter sets in.

All was rolling smoothly on my way up to Vancouver until 30 miles from the Canadian border I realized that I left my passport in Hood River. I stressed for a few minutes but decided I was already 6 hours into the drive and it would be worth trying to make it through the border with my driver's license. Luckily enough I was sent right on through with plenty of time to meet up with the rest of my group and catch the ferry to Langsdale. (Getting back into the U.S. was not so easy but I figured there are worse places to be stranded than British Columbia. I was asked a million questions, had my truck searched and was warned that by January 2008 passports will be mandatory.)

It seemed like I had just fallen to sleep in Egmont when my alarm rang. It is pretty dark and cold at 5:00 am on the 31st of October, even on the Sunshine Coast, but we were so excited to surf the Skook we geared up and rallied out for dawn patrol. As we paddled out of the Egmont Harbor I couldn't see much besides my frozen breath but it began to get light just as we started to hear the rumble of Skookumchuck rapid.

Skook was just as good as always, a big, bouncy, glassy wave. The coolest thing about it is that it is so dynamic. Every ride you get a different wave. On the way up it will have a huge trashy pile but as it peaks it becomes steep and green. The six of us surfed straight through the sunrise and all through the morning. Finally, as early afternoon came around, our arms were aching and the wave was flattening out so we decided to call it a day. I've decided that the fun factor of winter dawn patrol is definitely based on having good cold water gear.

Key gear for winter paddling:

Breathable DrySuit with Gortex socks (I don't know how I ever survived without one)
1 piece fleece insulation suit with relief zipper
Wool Socks
Pogies (Some people prefer glove but I find they let my grip slip off the paddle)
Neoprene Skull Cap
Down Jacket at the Take out

That night all the Egmont locals came out in costume with bags full of candy, home made fireworks and strobe lights. They invited us to come party around the town bonfire and enjoy their firework display which was one of the coolest I've ever seen. Thanks to everyone in Egmont for such a memorable Halloween celebration and thanks for putting up with all of us kayakers all the time. See you next time!
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