Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Really! Who buys a new kayak and doesn't tell anyone? Uh, that was me. In my insane, insecure, infatuated, in love, drive to have the newest, bestest toys I ordered up the new Jackson Rock Star . I didn't tell anyone. Do you realize just how hard that is to do? I almost exploded. I told them any color so I had no idea what it would be. Kind of like having a baby without an ultrasound. It would be a surprise! WhooHoo! Congratulations! It's a green one!
It came on Monday and I had to wait the entire week until Saturday to paddle. Keeping quiet was hard but I was imagining who of my friends would notice first that it wasn't my Super Star. I arrived at the put in and put it on the snow with everyone else's and waited. No one noticed. We all talked as more people arrived and still no one noticed that I had a bright new shiny green Rock Star. Hmmm. I picked up the boat and headed down the cliff to the put in below the falls. Tony, who was my number one guess, was waiting at the falls and took one look and started with the "WHAT the HECK is THAT? I HATE YOU!" I laughed and told him "No you don't cause you know I'll let you paddle it" Finally some one noticed. I think maybe Dan's brand new Esquif L'Edge was stealing a lot of the show that day.
I set it down on the ice ledge and hopped in. Finally I would get it wet. I slid off the ice into the water and went whoa! Jackson had said that the edges were different and once you get used to them the boat rocks. Moving my hips around I felt for the boundaries of the initial stability. The little bit of pressure you feel before transitioning to the secondary stability. It didn't feel like there was any. The boat was "on", ready and very willing to move in any direction. I paddled around the pool below the falls feeling it out. This was one moving boat. The slightest move or angle and it wanted to go much further than I intended at a speed much faster than I intended to go. Ok...this should be fun running the river...especially the narrow ice ledges on Triple Drop. We made it down with only one spin backwards.
I played a little bit in my favorite hole that day. Not too much as there was a big crowd. The boat moved quickly and I had to be precise on my balance at all times. I let young Tony take it out and play. He's not afraid to roll in freezing water like this, ahhh, old lady, and he rocked the boat!
Sunday was pool day and I was teaching a group of ladies my age. The pool was packed and I was anxious to see what the boat could do in (warm) flatwater. When it came time to show the ladies a roll it was going to be my first one in this boat. I prayed to God it would roll easy with the extra height on the seat. It was a piece of cake. Since then I've rolled and flipped it quite a bit and it's just as easy as my older Star's.
Second run down the river I was pretty much getting the hang of the edges and it all went more comfortable. I played the hole and I like the smooth balance of the boat. I've now spent the last 3 nights in the pool and have gotten very used to the edges and it feels comfortable now.
My take on the boat is this. I am a 54 year old woman and I like to play a bit. I'm not going to be throwing huge but will probably have just as much fun as the throwing huge crowd. This boat is a pure pro boat. A (~wet~) dream come true. This boat has more ability than I can probably handle well but that's not gonna stop me from paddling it. If you're not a pro boater this boat will take you farther and faster than you can imagine if you give in and let it have it's lead. You won't have a choice. I haven't had it in a good deep hole yet as winter is still here but I can sure tell that if you even think of throwing a move the boat will be two steps ahead of you. I think David Knight and Eric Jackson have designed a very, very good boat!
The Rock Star is a fun boat but how does it compare to my Jackson All-Star 07 or Superstar 2010. I paddled my All-Star tonight in the pool and it's still a super great boat. Great play and super river running ability. I have many great miles and memories with that boat. My Superstar also is a great boat but just a bit too much volume for me. Still an awesome boat! The Rock Star comes in between those two in volume and I would say it is the perfect volume for me.
As it has become my habit to name my boats now I have christened this one Sneek. It fits...