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?

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Halo Effect – Coming Soon!

Steve Fisher has just release the trailer for his newest film, Halo Effect, and it’s looks like it’s going to be great! Don’t know who Steve Fisher is? Check out his site for a glimpse of who this South African with a penchant for big water is – and what he’s done, for that matter!

We’re happy to announce that we’ll be hosting the local premier of Halo Effect this spring, so stay tuned for details! Without further ado, the trailer for Halo Effect.

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How to Winterize Your Kayak

We just received directions for winterizing your kayak from Hobie Kayaks and thought we would pass it along!

Winter Storage

Winterize – People living in freezing areas or areas prone to high wind damage should use common sense regarding winter or long term storage. Lower the mast, remove trampolines, lines and properly cover your boat to reduce UV, dirt and debris wear / damage to your hull and metal surfaces. All sails, trampolines, lines etc. should be removed and stored in a dry indoor location.

Mast up storage – is never recommended. High winds and constant motion of the rig can and will cause excessive wear and damage to the mast, rigging and hull components.

Freezing – of water trapped inside your boat can be quite damaging. Water expands with considerable force when it freezes. Just as pipes burst when left to freeze, water trapped in confined spaces can burst the structure of your boat. Mast receivers, Rod holder tubes, masts, hulls etc. should all be carefully inspected and drained of any water prior to the first freeze of the winter. Boats should be stored, covered or prepared in such a way as to prohibit water or snow from collecting on or in the boat.

Specific warning about water collection for Hobie Wave masts
The two piece design of the Hobie Wave mast allows for some water collection at the mast to CompTip joint. Water left in this location on masts left upright during freezing conditions has been known to fail the lower mast sealing plug. This allows water to drain into the lower mast over time which when freezing can cause the mast to expand and fail near the bottom of the mast.

Snow – The weight of snow collecting on top of a boat can be considerable. Boats should be stored in such a way as to limit the collection and damaging weight of large amounts of snow. Failure to keep snow weight off can cause damage or deformation of the keels at their contact points on a trailer or storage rack.

Reminder… damage caused by weather conditions is not covered by warranty.

Hobie Cat

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World Class Kayaker Doug Ammons presents Wildwater…A Love Story

Columbia Center for the Arts brings to the Gorge world Class kayaker Doug Ammons for a remarkable presentation of “Wildwater…a Love Story” on Thursday July 15th. The reception begins at 7:00pm and show begins at 8:00pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8.00 for students and are available at Columbia Arts and online at www.columbiaarts.org. Columbia Center for the Arts is located at 215 Cascade Ave. Hood River, OR.

World class kayaker Doug Ammons presents “Wildwater…a Love Story” – an evening of incredible photos, video, and human insights into the beauty and challenge of wild rivers. Doug was recently named by Outside Magazine as “one of the top ten ‘game changers’ in adventure since 1900”, and compared to mountaineer Reinhold Messner for his mind-bending solo runs of the hardest rivers in the world. Doug is equally adept at speaking poetically and insightfully about risk, beauty, danger, and intimacy with the natural world. He will also preview a stunning movie in high definition that he is currently working on. His presentations have been called “spellbinding” and a “must see that will leave a fire in your heart for the outdoors”.

His two books will be for sale, “The Laugh of the Water Nymph” and “Whitewater Philosophy”. “The Laugh of the Water Nymph” was named “One of the best outdoor books of the year!” (National Outdoor Book Awards). For the last 15 years, Doug has donated all proceeds from his books and writing to support two small rural schools in the most remote part of Nepal.

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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!

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Olympic Sized Dedication

There are sure to be inspirational stories throughout the 2010 Winter Olympics, but as we sit here getting ready to watch the opening ceremonies, when I think of dedication to your sport, I think of something I saw on Jackson Kayaks blog the other day.

Ben Stooksberry, Darin McQuoid, Chris Korbulic, and Rush Sturges make up a strong crew of expedition paddlers. Check out the video to see what Olympic sized dedication looks like:

Middle Kings: First October descent from Ben Stookesberry on Vimeo.

Oh – and Go Team USA!

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The Season

If you haven’t already signed up for The Season, be sure to add it to your podcast feed now! Fitz Cahill, of The Dirtbag Diaries fame, and Bryan Smith, of Reel Water Productions, have teamed up to produce 22 webisodes that follow 5 athletes across one season. In addition to a mountain biker, a climber, a boulderer and snowboarder, local guy Paul Kuthe represents the paddle sector. The series kicks off this month, here’s a teaser if you have any doubts:

The Season Trailer from Fitz Cahall on Vimeo.

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Pat Camblin solos the Petite Mecantina

Over on Steve Fisher’s blog, Playback with Steve Fischer, there’s a post about Pat Camblin’s solo this week of the Petite Mecantina. I didn’t find much information about the river – other than it’s general location – online, but according to Steve, the First D of it’s inner gorge was a couple of years ago by a team, including Pat. A missed move during that trip resulted in a close call, so Pat’s heading back there this week to run it solo and excise those demons. The plan was to put in Monday, Sept 14th and take out this Saturday. Send good thoughts Pat’s way this week – I’m sure he’s going to have a great story or two to tell!

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Kayaking for a Cause

A couple of local paddlers and all around good guys, Andy Maser & Daniel Fox, are hitting the water this morning to paddle 130 miles from Willamette Falls in Portland, Or to the confluence of the Columbia river and the Pacific Ocean. While it sounds like it’s going to be a great adventure, these guys aren’t just doing it for fun, they’re doing it to benefit these very worthy organizations:

* Disabled American Veterans
* Team River Runner
* WeLoveCleanRivers.org

Not only great paddlers and philanthropists, Andy and Daniel are all over the communication stream, so you can follow their adventures this week via Twitter (@amaser & @kitsunekeimou), SPOT Adventures and their Facebook group, Century Paddle.

Andy & Daniel haven’t been the only ones busy raising money for great organizations by paddling. We ran across a couple of recent articles that should be inspiring for anyone.

Forest Rose did the first half of an 1800 mile voyage, from Newark to New Orleans, on the Ohio River to raise $8000 for research for children’s cancer. He’ll complete the 2nd half next summer.

Eric Innes completed an 85 day, 1700 mile trip around the British Isles to raise money for Help for Heroes, a British organization dedicated to helping injured soldiers.

Kudos to all of the paddlers out there that are using their skills and talents to further causes that affect so many of us!

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