Last weekend I went out with a group of boaters to a surf hole near Bend. There were a number of Jackson Funs and Jackson Stars in the mix, both new and old models, and so I thought it would be a cool opportunity to ask the kayakers about how the new designs compared with the old, and to take some footage of all their crazy tricks.
Here are some of their observations below and be sure to check out the video to see the boats in action. Special thanks to the boaters: Dan Pilver (All Star), Kevin Carolan (All Star), Cricket (2 Fun 2007), Derrick (4 Fun 2007), Sarah (Star), Angus Eastwood (Pyranha).
After three years, Jackson made some serious improvements to the Fun Series.
What we like about it:
Great boat for those who want the best of both river running and playing. This boat has both a fast learning curve and is still the right choice for experts who want to run big rivers, but play on the way down.
The new Jackson Funs are noticeably lighter than the 2007, making them a lot easier to carry around for those of us on the smaller side. They are more comfortable for longer stretches on the water and have new features such as added footroom, new knee positioning and a lower cockpit, allowing for an easier roll. You are less likely to flip upside down in this boat however, as the edges have been rounded off, making it less “catchy” than the previous model. The bow and stern are higher out of the water, which makes for easier peel outs and ferries as well as carrying speed through harder moves.
Borrowing the same design ideas as that has made the Star a favorite among playboaters, the Fun series allows for faster wave surfing and easier squirting and cartwheeling. There is great “pop” for launching loops and getting air, and if you are new to playboating, the shorter bow and stern makes learning a lot easier.
What we like:
This boat is super short and is designed specifically for spinning, cartwheeling and many other moves including launching into the air. The plastic is stronger on the hull, stern, and bow, and will last longer; the Star is specifically designed for low water playpark conditions. There is lots of directional control and edging even without using a paddle. One of the most amazing parts of this boat is that it is great for running rivers too, because the increased volume and decreased surface area gives it more speed.
Words, words, words… a video tells the story much better: