Gear Review: Jackson Rockstar Large
For a long time I assumed the Jackson Rockstar was only for throwing big tricks on perfect holes and waves. Boy was I wrong. This is a fun and remarkably stable kayak for downriver play!
This past week I was able paddle this boat down a variety of Class III rapids on California's South Fork of the American River and Pennsylvania’s Lower Youghiogheny River. My overall impressions are that it's great for downriver play, incredibly comfortable for it's small size, and remarkably stable in whitewater!
I like to play but have no idea how to do a loop or any of the fancy tricks this boat is known for. For those of you who like to surf, spin, stern squirt, rockspin, and splat this boat makes all of those “normal” play moves easy and fun. The only downside (compared to my Jackson 4Fun) is that it's sluggish making it hard to catching surf waves on the fly.
I'm 6'2" and 220 lbs so getting in a boat 5’11” long is a bit intimidating. After letting all the air out of the happy feet (air filled foot bags) and a few other adjustments the boat fit like a glove. My feet were a bit tight but comfortable.
Paddling in Whitewater
My first day in this boat I assumed that I'd be bracing my way down the river and flipping in rapids. Nope. I’m not sure how they made such a small, playful boat so stable but they did. It’s really remarkable how fun and stable this boat is through rapids.
Usually the large versions of freestyle kayaks are really wide at the knees and hard to roll but I found this boat quite easy to roll. The Jackson web site says that the 2016 Rockstar is narrower so that’s most likely why.
I am by no means an expert kayak reviewer but really loved paddling this boat and wanted to share my enthusiasm for it. If you have any thoughts to add please do so in the comments below.