Mother’s Day Q&A Session with Emily Jackson (by Sarah Leith Bahn)

We were lucky to have the Jackson-Troutman clan in the Gorge for a few weeks recently and, after seeing Emily juggle a preschooler, a baby, a moving home, business commitments and still getting time on the water, we couldn’t think of anyone better for a Mother’s Day Q&A. A professional paddler for most of her life, Emily is (literally) traveling a less-traditional road with her family, paddling wherever the water is good and taking her kids along for the adventure.

And who better to interview her than one of our other favorite moms, Sarah Leith Bahn? Sarah is a former US National whitewater slalom team member who still finds time to get out on the water while juggling two boys, starting a business with her husband, vlogging about healthy eating… oh, and writing a book along the way!




How do you get your life jacket on over your engorged milk boobs? This was a problem for me! I got to the put-in the first time to paddle and couldn’t fit in my life jacket!

Did the same thing in my DrySuit after having my Daughter Parker- it was my boobs and hips- I may have cried a little, I loosened all the straps and fed her as much as I could right before paddling!

How do you deal with the fact that you pee a little every time you take a hard stroke?

Haha- I was pretty lucky this only happened when doing jumping jacks- or at least, I didn’t notice it while kayaking… Wear board shorts I guess and try to not wear a drysuit for the first little bit… You can get rid of board shorts pretty easy but once a dry suit smells like pee- there is no going back

I had my babies in my mid-30s. I gained 60 pounds in both pregnancies. And it was really hard for me to trust my shoulders, my back and abs again – I was worried when I first went paddling that I’d get injured. It took a lot longer than I would have thought to trust my body again and know it was strong enough to handle paddling. Do you have any advice for women to learn how to trust their bodies again after growing babies? (My pregnancies were like an injury and it took time to have faith that my injury was healed)

I was younger with both kids, but I don’t feel this changed that feeling of doubt I had with my body. With Tucker I competed 3 weeks before I had him – weighing 198 pounds in a small Star (max weight of that boat is supposed to be 140 lol) and then I actually competed 3 weeks afterwards at US nationals and won. I decided I was happiest if I got my time in the water, and this meant baby was happy, daddy was happy and most importantly I was happy. I felt if I held myself back in fear of my body getting hurt, then I was already hurting myself. I focused on play boating and easier river runs and literally told myself, it’s like riding a bike, you just need to do it, and while paddling, convincing myself that I had all the confidence in the world (even though it was at an all time low). I laughed when stuff didn’t feel right, but my confidence stemmed from the fact that hey- I am a MOM now- things are different and different is totally okay.

I was never a Nicole Mansfield that ran multiple class V rapids daily, but I did love technical class 4. However after I had kids, I really had a hard time with rapids that had consequences. I found myself scared instead of nervously excited. It was like something flipped inside me and honestly it made me turn my back on the sport for a little while. I was bored on class III and too scared on class 4. It took a new slalom boat, and multiple laps down the Lower White Salmon to realize, I do love simply being on the river and feeling my hull react to the water regardless of how small the whitewater is. Do you have any advice for Moms that come back to the sport after having kids that find themselves scared of a sport they once loved?

This is totally normal is so many different ways- Any major change in your life will have you looking at things a little differently. There are so many ways to add spice to kayaking without upping the consequences. For starters- take a playboat down an easier river run, try splatting, squirting, and harder lines on rapids. The combination of trying things plus being in a smaller boat will make the river feel different. Much like taking a SUP on flatwater and all of sudden the flatwater at times can get difficult and exciting. My favorite feeling is when water simply splashes me in the face. So I feel like my day was an accomplishment if I had that one moment of bliss. The absolute hardest part about getting back into kayaking- is choosing to go kayaking over taking care of other responsibilities, as mom we get accustomed to taking care of everyone else and not ourselves, so by simply choosing to put yourself first for that quick kayaking lap, or river run, you should already gain confidence and be proud of yourself regardless of what you are doing on the water.

One of the things I loved about the sport of kayaking – especially on the Potomac River, I could paddle whenever I wanted and was not dependent on anyone. My boat was always on my car and I could literally in 5 minutes go from eating breakfast to taking a lap down little falls on the Potomac. Then I had a kid and felt trapped! I couldn’t just go paddling whenever I wanted. And it made me sad. How do you deal with feeling trapped?

This day and age I feel like being a Mom alone isn’t enough, we all need to be supermom and take care of everything on our own, asking questions makes us look weak right? I feel trapped when I want everything to be perfect and an exact way. When I am not flexible or allow people to help me, the walls around me get tighter and tighter until I eventually crack. My kids have been watched on the river banks by people who I would never expect to watch them, people have run my shuttle with the kids in the car, by giving up a little control, and taking people up on acts of kindness my freedom has come back! By being flexible and saying yes to the chaos, accepting the challenges, and knowing that when I get home, the house will be messy, the kids might be a touch tired, by my soul is refreshed, makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.

Here is my Ted Talk on Prioritizing to give you a little more insight on how I try to balance my lifestyle:


Thanks again, Emily & Sarah, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms that paddle!

Outdoor Retailer 2015 : Day 1 : Hobie, Gear Aid, NRS, 5.10, Jackson, Confluence & much more!

Another year, another exciting Outdoor Retailer show with a ton of fresh goodies from current and potential vendors! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and let us show you around what’ll be available from your favorite brands in the coming season. Have any questions? Requests? Let us know and we’ll do our best to get the answers and the beta you’re looking for!


First up, Hobie Kayaks! We caught these guys before we’d finished our coffee and weren’t quite awake enough to take notes – so we thought we’d just let them speak for themselves.

Gear Aid
Gear Aid makes repair tattoos which are cut outs of everything from a swatch to a foot print. Designed to replace that roll of duct tape you keep handy for gear repairs and make your kids jackets all fresh and steezy for the new year. They also make reflective tenacious tape for those of you that like to get your workout on at twilight. Safety first, folks!

We love the NRS crew! Not only are they extremely nice Idaho folk, they consistently kick out high quality, award winning gear. This year is no exception! We’re digging the new tri-color shorts (on fleek, son!) but the super star in this year’s line up is the all new Sidewinder Bibs. If you’re a kayak fisherperson, these fishing wader/dry bibs should go on  your Christmas list right now! At $449 you’ll need to stay on Santa’s good side, but these will be worth the effort!

Also targeted towards the kayak fisherperson, the Guide shorts are super versatile, made of 4 way stretch and have 5 pockets with plenty of go-anywhere-do-anything in them.

These folks are determined to become the brand you think of when you want to carry anything. Skis? Check. Bikes? Check. Boats? Check. Tent? Check. Schoolbooks? Check. Cellphones? Check. No, seriously! Cell phones! Thule is coming out with a whole line up of backpacks and cell phone carriers to make sure there are there for anything that needs to be carted/towed/picked up.

The Eddy is a sick river shoe and, at $99, should be competitive in the market. That said, we’re wondering where 5.10 will fit in the mix of brands that have been doing water shoes for years (NRS, Merrell, Columbia, Astral). Your thoughts? Is there room in the market for another shoe brand? Time will tell friends, time will tell.

Immersion Research
Ahhh, our Southeast brethen. The water, so warm. The drawls, so charming. The gear, so awesome. IR has always produced excellent women’s gear. No “shrink it and pink it” when one of your founders is not only female but a whitewater pioneer as well – the new IR Shawty is actually purple. It’s also made of 7 figure drysuit material and includes a front pee zip for $899, making it a bargain for a top of the line drysuit!

If you’re one of the Wells brothers, or you just really wanna be like them (who doesn’t??), the new IR Devil’s Club is for you! Designed for the explorer who is bush whacking into the next First D, the Devil’s Club is ultra durable and ready for anything.

The boat company that is “for paddlers, by paddlers” keeps churning out the rad boats, complete with some new designs and accessories for the fish folks and those looking for something that’ll do everything.The Karma Traverse replaces the Rogue series. It’s a little more whitewater focus and has a direct line of site on Dagger’s Katana. It’ll be coming in two lenths, 10′ and 11′ and will include a drop skeg.

Also new is this cool small yellow cooler. Significantly smaller than it’s big brother, it’s retains Jackson’s Orions bomber quality and gear tracks. $99 retail should be a much better pricepoint for some folks than the Orion.

Alright all you mini-anglers! You’re finally getting your own boat! No packing around with mom and dad, now you getta go where you wanna go & fish what you wanna fish! The Skipper is Jackson’s new, ultra stable 9′ fishing kayak with a 50-125lb weight range. Leave it to Jackson, one of the pioneers in kid’s boats, to keep all of the bells and whistles in the mini version: fish grippers, 2 rod holders and gear tracks included. They also looked a safety and cut a front hatch that all but renders the boat unsinkable in the event of a flip. Nice work watching out for our little people, guys! At $999 we’re thinking this will be a kid that is definitely on Santa’s good side or maybe working the family past time.

See this? Sure, it looks like a non-descript black thing-a-ma-bob (feel free to whip out your technical term dictionaries on that one) BUT what it really is is a line cutter that will be on all Jackson fishing kayaks and, if you don’t want it, no problem – it comes right off.

And moving on to the adult fishing kayaks (1/2 of you have fast forwarded to this point – that’s cool, we get it):The Kraken 15.5 is actually 15’7″ – as many of you know, that came out this year… Next they are adding a 13.5 (actually 13’3″) to the line up. There will be three different levels of outfitting: standard, elite and pro. The 15.5 will come in all three outfitting options, the 13.5 will lose the pro option and will be available in standard and elite only.


The 14′ 6″ Tandem Kilroy is a solid tandem kayak with some serious outfitting potential. The metal cross bars are removable and the gear tracks that are end to end on this thing make it easy to add whatever rod holder floats you & your partner’s boat (get it! hah!).

Just a few quick shots of the Cuda LT. Sure, it came out last year, but it still looks gooooood!

The Kilroy LT is now available in real tree camo.
The Coosa HD Pro outfitting version is no lightweight, weighing in at a solid 92lbs, but you get a lot of bling for the weight: pads, power pole wireless anchoring system, Nocqua battery power system, Buck knife splizzors (oh yeah, that’s spelled right – we checked) and a low j krate.

Check out the NEW Nomad! So, so pretty. Pictured is a large and medium – a small will be added to the line up. It looks to us like the excellent designers at Dagger took some notes from the stern of Pyranha’s 9R and mixed it up with the tried and true Nomad, threw in a dose and love and BOOM! New classic creeker! Thank you much, Confluence, for holding on to Dagger.

How has it taken this long for a kayak manufacturer to come out with a fishing boat called Pescador?? These fish, at 10′ and 12′, are going to be the perfect sit-on-top solution for the aspiring kayak angler who is looking at getting their feet wet. No gear tracks but with a nice seat and attractive price point, we this this boat will be a big hit.

And let us not forget the SUPs! Ya’ gotta have ’em and these beauts look good!
Anchor Wizard 

Kanu Lock
Seriously? Can’t they repackage it or rename it for the us. Kan-they? A webbing strap with cables inside you can lock so now you can lose your keys to your kayak, sup, and what ever else you can call a Kanu. Seriously Kanu?

Why do we keep thinking of Cross Fitters when we see this rubber wedding ring? We have now tested it for 4 hrs and can safely say that, while a bit daunting in black, it is certainly comfy. Fellas get a camo alternative and ladies get the more uplifting color choices of white and pink. It certainly HAS to be the best profit margin any manufacturer is getting anywhere at $19.95 but may be the solution for some folks who really want put a ring on it on while playing.

How could we resist showing you guys this? How cool are these custom shoes Olukai had a Hawaiian artist doing for the show.

Robot Grill Cleaner
We know you’ve been wondering ‘when oh WHEN will there be a roomba for my grill??’ Well folks, that time is NOW.  Set it and forget it – we just highly suggest keeping it out of your kids reach!


Kayak Shed . .

Kayak Fishing Trip 3 Day, 2 Night Kayak Fishing Trip on the John Day – Only 3 spots left!

Join us for a guided 3 day, 2 night kayak fishing trip down the John Day River in beautiful Eastern Oregon – fully supported so you can focus on fishing! Our guide will provide and prepare all meals, set up and break down camp as well as carry all provisions. Your only responsibilities will be setting up your tent (available from our guide if you don’t have your own), stocking your personal cooler with any beverages you might want to have on hand and FISHING! Summertime and the livin’ (and fishin’) is easy!

Our journey begins on the morning of Friday June 12th from the Clarno access where we will meet our guide’s support raft(s). We will float and fish an average of approximately 15 miles per day as we meander through the gorgeous John Day Wilderness Area. It’s not uncommon for fishermen to catch over a 100 bass in a day on this river. The trip will conclude when we reach the thirtymile access on Sunday the 14th.

This will be a great adventure for both the experienced and novice kayak fisherman alike. If you’re looking for a unique and fun Father’s Day present or you’re wanting to spend some quality time with the fisherperson in your life, this trip would make an excellent gift! Or give yourself the gift of a low stress, outfitted weekend of kayak fishing on one of Oregon’s most beautiful rivers!

Register for one of the final 3 slots online or call the shop with any questions!


Kayak Shed . .

Outdoor Retailer 2014 : Day 2 : Dagger, Wilderness Systems, NRS, Jackson Kayak, Pyranha

Starting Day 2 off with the good folks at Confluence! Have any questions about what you see here? Contact us anytime!


What happens when you take years of performance driven R&D and put it into a sit-on-top? Check out the Roam (Rivers Ocean And Mountains – get it?)! The backbag comes off and the thigh straps attach to form a backpack for off-water adventure, the hull design is high performance and has edges that make this a great paddling sit-on-top. If you had any experience with the Torrent, think of the Roam as a high performance Torrent! With two sizes and sit-on-top flexibility, there will be a Roam to fit almost every body.

Here are some close ups but Dagger also put together a nice little “in action” video you can see below:

Wilderness Systems

The new Wildy fishing kayak, the Thresher, looks like a great boat, but is sold as a very base model. Want all of the bells and whistles that come standard on a lot of the other new boats? They’re there, but you’re going to have to pay for them. See the base model in the first couple of pictures and the “pimp my ride” version in the bottom couple.


We are digging the Velocity Shoe! Super rugged and ready for scrambling and tough portages, sticky rubber outsole for a sure grip. And check out this sweet NRS packaging!



Jackson Kayak

The Coosa HD
Need a more stability out of your Coosa? Jackson answered the call! Introducing the Coosa HD, the longer, more stable version of the ever popular Coosa. With an open footwell for ease of movement, a padded floor, stand up paddle holder and other great details, the Coosa HD is definitely going to be worth a look!

The Cuda LT
With the same deck features as the Cuda 12, the Cuda LT adds YakAttack tracks fore & aft of the seat. The LT is also lighter, more stable & is higher performance than the Cuda 12… not to mention, does a boat get much prettier?

The Kilroy
Duck hunters rejoice! All the function of the Kilroy with all the stealth of camo. They’ll never see or hear ya’ coming.

The Kraken
Want it all and want it now? The Kraken might be your boat! All of the goodies you see below? It comes with those stock! Designed by Jim Sammonds with top notch detail and quality (ex: all accessories are attached so a roll won’t leave you floundering, reaching for all your gear), if off shore fishing is your thing, you’re going to have a hard time topping the Kraken as the best boat for the job.

Designer and angler Jim Sammonds 
shows off his latest creation.


The new 9R is Pyranha’s entry into the sub-9 ft race category. Built with some very aggressive features designed specifically for racing, this boat won’t be for everyone… but if bombing down the river at top speeds is your goal, the 9R will be a top contender.

And others…

Because who doesn’t want a water bottle that looks like a mini-growler…? The Little Buddy!

Did you miss Day 1 of the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Show?

Don’t miss our final day of the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Show!
Kayak Shed . .

Jackson Kayak Illuminati Color

One of the most fun/interesting/”does it work?” innovations to the hit the industry of kayak fishing in the last year, and something we got a lot of questions on at the Pacific Northwest Sportman’s Show, is the new Jackson Kayak Illuminati color. For an added $200, your Coosa, Cuda 14, Cuda 12 or Big Tuna kayak can glow in the dark! Gimmicky,  you ask? Sure, it may seem like that on the surface, but have you ever stayed out for “just one more” (fish that is, fish!)? We sure have. And then, all of the sudden, you get that knot in your stomach that comes from being on the water a little later than you should be – we’re talking about a different knot than the one you get from having to explain why you’re an hour late for dinner. However, if your kayak glows in the dark, at least one of those knots can go away. You’re on the water and you’re visible. Safety first, friends! And this is really just icing on the cake, because it looks great during the day too and performs just how you would expect one of Jackson’s world class kayaks to perform!

Here’s Drew Gregory showing off an Illuminati boat during the day:


A close up of it’s day time look:
And now (drumroll) at night:


Want to know more about the Illuminati color and see how others are liking it? Check out Jackson Kayak’s Illuminati “Glow” page.

Kayak Shed . .

Introducing the Jackson Kayak Cuda 12!

Even though the snow is still falling here, we are all very excited about the Jackson Kayak Cuda 12 and can’t wait to get out on the water! Since no one explains a Jackson Fishing kayak quite like designer and team pro, Drew Gregory, we’ll let him tell you why the Cuda 12 might just be the boat for you!

And if that’s not enough for you, check out this interview from last summer’s iCast:


And one more piece of fishing candy to get you as excited to get out on the water in your own Cuda as we are: How to Rig Your Cuda for Fishing.

So what are you waiting for?? Get a Cuda, get out there and get your fish on!

Have a specific question on the Cuda 12 or wonder how to rig one for your neck of the woods? Just drop us a link in the comments or at customerservice [at] and we’ll be happy to help!

Kayak Shed . .

Outdoor Retailer 2012 Day 1 On-Water Demo

The 2012 Summer Outdoor Retailer show officially opened today with the on-water demo and we, along with a few of our friends, were there to see the latest and greatest in the water sports category.

The SUP for you and your nearest and dearest. We decided that if this ever makes it to market, it’ll be a huge hit with the fraternity set. Or maybe those corporate team building activities? Family reunions?

Only Ashville, NC could be responsible for something that looks this zany (and fun). Bellyak lets you enjoy your whitewater up close and personal while keeping all of those soft spots protected. Check out their demo vid:


Wavesport’s new creeker, the Recon, looks like a steep creek specialist – short & high! Looking forward to putting it through its paces out on some of our local water. We might pick a color that looks a little less like a rock though. Remember kids, visibility is good.


Has that playboat started feeling a little too large? The new Dagger Jitsu might just be the answer to that. This boat is tiny and should be as easy to throw in your stylie Mini Cooper as in a hole. Another one we’re looking forward to testing on something with a little current.

What’s more fun than SUPin’ and fishin’? Doing it at the same time! Grab your cooler, rods, SUP paddle and maybe the kitchen sink – the new Jackson “Super Fish Al” is ready to roll. Or float.

And finally, raise your hand if you’re that guy who just can’t put your iWhatever down (guilty!!). They have a case for that.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more fun and toys from the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Show in good ol’ SLC!

Kayak Shed . .


Kayak Shed . .

Jackson Rock Star Review

A couple of our local paddlers, Patrick and Jeffery Steehler, headed to the Reno Whitewater Festival with the Jackson Rock Star. Here’s what Patrick had to say about it.

So, I was getting off work at midnight thinking, “what was I thinking?” In four and a half short hours I was going to be heading to the airport to board a flight for Reno. By the time I arrived and saw what was waiting for me I knew exactly what I was thinking. There were tens of thousands of people there for the festivities. If you have never been to Reno for the whitewater, then make your plans today. You have been missing one of the best whitewater parks around. Imagine taking a fork in the river, one way goes to a nice challenging slalom course and the other follows the river through a stretch dotted with several waves and holes for paddlers of all skill levels.

I could not wait for a chance to try out this park, but I had one problem………no boat. So we went off to a meet and greet. We started walking toward an area where there were several motorhomes and boats scattered all over. As we approached the end of the vehicles, It was hard to not notice the Mini Cooper with Jackson Kayak plastered all over it with their signature yellow, black and white. Parked just beyond that was the Jackson motorhome with its trailer of goodies (and by goodies, I mean all the newest Jackson boats like the Rogue, Rock Star, Villain, etc. As we approached the motorhome we saw E.J. sitting down chatting with some other paddlers. Our good friend Jana introduced me to Eric and we had a great conversation about World Kayak and what bought us down to the festival. After learning about my boat dilemma, he offered to let me use one of his.

I opted for the Rock Star since Jeffery has been using the boat for about a month thanks to a generous extended demo from John Hart at the Kayak Shed. John even allowed us to take the boat to Reno for Jeffery to compete with. Getting in the Rock Star looked like it might be a challenge for me with my long legs and big build, but it had a lot of room inside. I opted for the large size even though I could have fit in a medium. E.J. said I would be a better fit in the large. Jeffery and I started on the first rapid just off the put in in the left channel. We stayed for several minutes entering and exiting the rapid and attempted to surf side to side and pull off some 180’s. The surprising thing for me in this boat was the ability for me not to get flipped while I was attempting to initiate my spins. The boat stays on edge very well and carves nicely on the face of the wave. After a few more minutes playing around, we inched downstream to try our hand at some of the harder waves. We floated down past where they held the freestyle competition and found a river wide wave that had a nice trough. After entering the wave I was easily able to ride the wave to the other side almost effortlessly. For those of you who know me, you are probably reading this thinking, “Patrick finally learned how to kayak.”

This boat is THAT amazing.

For the final test we took out and headed back to the put in for a run on the slalom course. After doing some more surfing, we took a stab at slalom in the Rock Star. Now if you are a competitor, I am not suggesting you use this in a competition, I merely wanted to see about the maneuverability and stability. After running the troughs and making the gates, I found the boat to be very maneuverable and stable for a playboat.

Now for those of you who are thinking about a playboat for river running, this may not be your boat. For those who are looking for a boat that is going to dominate freestyle competition, you have found your boat. Eight out of the ten boats that moved to the finals at the Reno Whitewater Festival were Rock Stars. There was no question that Steven Wright and Eric Jackson absolutely dominated in their carbon Rock Stars. The air they were able to catch was unbelievable.

So what’s in your quiver?

Kayak Shed . .

Heather Herbeck Falls For A Villain!

We asked Heather Herbeck, local pro Jackson Kayak paddler, to give us her thoughts after her first paddle (or two) in the Villain, Jackson’s new creekboat, and here’s what she had to say!

The new Jackson Creek boat, the Villain, is sure to get your ‘stamp of approval’, all you gotta do is take it on the water.

For the last year, there has been ‘buzz’ about a new Jackson Creek boat. Word has it, that it’s a cross between the Hero and the Rocker. However, I think they put a little bit more thought into this series then just mating the two boats.

I’ve been looking forward to paddling the Villain since I had the opportunity to sit in one at Canoecopia in Madison, WI. The first thing you notice about the boat is the volume in the knee area. With the new creekboat, you have lower volume in the knees. Your knees are set in a more ‘user-friendly’ position, allowing more manueverability with your knees and an easier time rolling with your knees in this position.
Within the first 5 minutes on the water in the Villain, I was in love. The first boof I pulled, launched me soaring into the air. I felt like I was flying. The second thing I noticed right away was the speed of the boat. After each boof, the boat kept it’s speed in the direction I wanted it to go.

One of the best qualities of this boat is the edges and the way it tracks on the water. I have found myself in the past exhausted after paddling, from using tons and tons of correctional strokes and wasted energy. With the speed and tracking of the Villain, I only needed a few strokes to accelerate me in the direction I wanted to go and it kept on track . . . crashing waves, boily current, holes . . . nothing stopped this boat or turned it off course. As funny as it sounds, I felt like a stronger, more efficient paddler in the Villain . . . and, that’s a ‘thumbs up’ confidence boost right there.

The next day, a friend (who doesn’t paddle Jackson) tried the boat out. And, both him and I agree that the Jackson Villain is in the top 5 boats on the market right now.
You better go get yourself one! I’m excited for a whole new level of paddling and confidence in the Jackson Villain 🙂

To keep on top of Heather’s adventures (not an easy thing to do, trust us!), be sure to follow her at:

Liquid Kayak
River Angels

And her great sponsors:
Jackson Kayak
Level Six

Kayak Shed . .

What’s New at Jackson Kayak for 2010!

Stephen Wright, Jackson Kayak Factory Team Member, swung by the shop Tuesday morning to let us know what’s new in the world of JK. Most of us have had the opportunity to meet Stephen before, but for those who hadn’t, it was a great chance to talk about boats with a guy who knows about them inside and out. Stephen’s not only a proud member of Team USA, he’s a world class boater and instructor – and just a really great guy in general!

Without further introduction, here’s what 2010 has in store for Jackson Kayaks!

* The biggest news is Jackson’s new creek boat, the Villain! Coming in two sizes (S/M – the Villain S – and M/L – the Villain) this promises to a boat everyone will want to check out. The Villain S is in molding now, so we should be able to get our hands on these soon, with the Villain coming later in April. Both sizes have removable bulkheads that will allow front loading of the boat, but the design will ensure that any unfortunate pitons don’t result in a complete failure – upwards of 8″ of flex is built into the system! The Villain series will be available in both super linear plastic and Jackson’s famous cross-link plastic… which brings us to…

* All whitewater boats will be available in super-linear or cross-link plastics this year. What’s the difference? Glad you asked! Cross-link is, hands down, the burliest plastic in the industry. It stretches twice as far as super-linear, has a reduced friction coefficient (which helps it slide over those rocks you’re splatting), it’s more rigid than super-linear, longer lasting and it boasts a 2 year manufacturer warranty! That said, super-linear is the industry standard, so it’s as strong as any other non-Jackson boat on the market and Jackson backs it with a 1 year warranty. Oh yeah – and it’s $150 less than the cross-linked versions. Win-win, right? One more differentiator with these two flavors of the same boat: the super-linear versions come with standard outfitting and the cross-link versions come complete with Sweet Cheeks & Happy Feet (Jackson’s high performance, highly adjustable) outfitting.

* Speaking of plastics, another fun thing for the 2010 line up is that for $70 you can choose whatever color of Jackson Kayak whitewater boat your heart desires. Simply let us know which boat you want, what colors you want (and where – in general – front, back, side?) and we’ll put your order in. We’ll hear back from Jackson then on when your boat can be custom made, we’ll confirm with you and wah-lah! The purple/pink/yellow burst boat you’ve been dreaming of can be yours!

* A couple of non-whitewater “coming soon” boats: the Journey rec is being molded now and will set the bar for solid, all around rec boats. For all of you kayak fishing maniacs, a new bass fishing boat is being developed in conjuction with Drew Gregory. And a Riviera sit-inside is on the horizon!

Kayak Shed . .