Thursday, December 8, 2022
HomeKayakJackson Rockstar V on Low Water Class 3

Jackson Rockstar V on Low Water Class 3

A couple of weeks again, Jackson introduced the Rockstar V, their latest whitewater playboat. We took this kayak down Waterton Canyon of the South Platte, one of many solely rivers in Colorado with sufficient water to paddle within the late fall.

Learn under for CKS Worker Nick Gilbert’s first impression and assessment of the Jackson Rockstar V kayak. 

CKS’s Take

The Rockstar V is a welcome improve from earlier variations with a balanced, intuitive really feel that makes it not solely a competition-focused software, however a enjoyable means to boost the yard run.

In regards to the Tester

  • Peak: 5’9
  • Weight: 155 lbs
  • Shoe Measurement: 9
  • Measurement Examined: Medium
  • Playboating Talent Degree: Mediocre

So far as my playboating expertise goes, nobody moreover my mother is impressed watching me surf a wave, and I am not significantly better in a gap. I’m completely happy if I can get sideways on a blunt or catch good air on a loop. An excellent experience for me would possibly contain 1-2 strikes earlier than I flush off the wave or out of the opening.

If you’re curious how straightforward it’s to provoke a pirouette as you phonics monkey, I am not the fitting man to inform you. But when your playboating model is about messing round and having enjoyable, then you’re studying the fitting assessment.

Take a look at Location

When we first obtained a Rockstar in November, all of us thought we must wait until Spring 2022 to put up something about it. However after a couple of laps down Waterton Canyon, one of many few runs within the state with any water left this time of yr, I made a decision it was price it to place my first impressions down on paper.

Why write a assessment of probably the most cutting-edge high-performance competitors playboat on a Class 3 downriver run? Properly – that is precisely how most of us will find yourself utilizing a ship just like the Rockstar V.

Whereas we might daydream about browsing the most important waves on this planet at Stakeout in Quebec throughout Spring snow-melt, on the finish of the day – many people are paddling a playboat to boost a run just like the Ocoee, Brown’s Canyon, or Waterton.

For a lot of kayakers, our playboats are most frequently used for that early or late season run when the water is low and we don’t need to take kayaking too severely. Competing at World Championships just isn’t on the radar for most individuals, and whether it is, you in all probability aren’t studying my assessment.

Outfitting, Consolation, and Sizing

Proper off the bat, you’ll discover the Rockstar V is extraordinarily snug for a playboat.

There may be a variety of area within the knees, which in flip meant that my ft weren’t pressured to be crammed into the entrance of the boat. The 2 main updates to the outfitting are Jackson’s new Bee’s Knees thigh braces, and a Linear Foam Foot Block as a substitute of the Jackson Glad Ft Bag.

Jackson’s Bee’s Knees and Linear
Foot Block within the Rockstar V

The distinction between the Glad Ft and the froth block is a matter of private desire and I want the froth. Foam is extra simple and straightforward to get proper, I feel most individuals who haven’t spent a while experimenting with the Glad Ft will want the froth. Glad Ft take observe to get proper and generally is a little finicky and unstable if you’re not used to it, however as soon as you work it out the completely happy ft enable for extra customization.

The froth foot block comes as one strong piece, and could be minimize all the way down to measurement for individuals who require extra foot area.

Jackson saved the traditional backband
and Candy Cheeks within the cockpit.

The Bee’s Knees are a strong improve – they provide some adjustability and their exaggerated hook form actually cups your thigh, making the boat extra responsive.

With the Bee’s Knees, I felt like I had extra management of the boat as any motion of my legs brought on the boat to maneuver in response. Usually I jam two foam shims into every hip pad and threat dropping circulation in my legs to get the boat management I would like, however with the Bee’s Knees I solely wanted one hip shim on all sides because of the added responsiveness.

Except for the Bee’s Knees and the Linear Foam Foot Block, the remainder of the outfitting within the Rockstar V is much like earlier generations. The backband is safe and straightforward to regulate, and the Candy Cheeks seat pad is extraordinarily cozy. To regulate the seat, fill the seat pouch with air, sit down, and launch the air to mildew the seat pad to your form.

Overall, it’s onerous to think about a solution to make a playboat extra snug. All in all, Jackson’s outfitting is on the prime of the business throughout their complete vary. It’s faster and simpler to dial in your good slot in a Jackson than in different manufacturers and the Rockstar V is not any exception.

It’s price noting that the Rockstar V is 2 inches shorter than the Rockstar 4.0, which leaves rather less size to suit your legs and ft. Paddlers on the sting between sizes ought to really feel assured sizing up as a result of this boat is comparatively straightforward to throw round.

Flatwater Efficiency

Waterton Canyon begins with a couple of minutes of slow-moving flat water, giving me the right likelihood to cartwheel, bow stall, double pump, and get a really feel for the boat.

The Rockstar V instantly felt extra balanced than the earlier model. It felt extra steady entrance to again, and I seen a bit extra secondary stability in comparison with the earlier model. I’d attribute this to the second edge, which is a brand new characteristic for the V.

Attempting a couple of cartwheels, the boat was very balanced and extra steady on its ends than the earlier model. I felt that cartwheels have been very straightforward to provoke regardless of being on the decrease finish of the load vary. I additionally thought that it had a easy rotation and was noticeably simpler to stability on the strict and bow than the earlier generations of Rockstar.

The V additionally has a extra slicy bow, which makes flatwater methods simpler than within the 4.0.

Downriver Play

As I made my means downstream, the Rockstar V was intuitive and balanced by way of Class 3 rapids.

Intuitive is my favourite phrase to explain this boat – it simply felt straightforward to paddle, for a playboat. There wasn’t a lot of a studying curve, it simply labored as I hoped and didn’t give me any surprises.

Methods I already knew in my Jed or Rockstar 4.0 have been straightforward to carry to the V, and as a downriver playboat I used to be impressed. Strikes which can be usually 50/50 for me have been figuring out as a rule.

The V additionally paddled downriver significantly better than earlier generations. I feel that the quantity distribution was improved for river working, making this boat a lot much less more likely to backender than the earlier model.

I had enjoyable stern squirting in shallow eddies, pulled round a pair wave wheels, splatted a rock or two, and surfed some small inexperienced waves. The improved stability on edge and easy, balanced rotation when throwing ends have been confidence inspiring and inspired me to deal with each tiny characteristic as a play spot.

General, the Jackson design staff introduced collectively scores of small enhancements and tweaks to make a totally new and enhanced boat.

I am actually excited to get the Rockstar V out this Spring and discover the hull’s means to surf inexperienced waves. Jackson instructed us that the “new double-railed drop chine system provides the V the best planing efficiency of any boat but.” Whereas Waterton wasn’t the most effective check venue for inexperienced wave browsing, the few small waves I did discover left me very impressed and excited for extra. The hull felt very fast, unfastened, and maneuverable – letting me flat spin surprisingly properly even on small waves.

Double Chine on the RSV Hull

Preliminary Impressions

Many paddlers consider playboating as rodeo competitions or bouncing down a inexperienced wave. For many of us although, our playboat is a means to boost the native Class 3 run when different issues aren’t working or we solely have time for a fast after-work lap.

The Rockstar V excels at such a paddling with its well-balanced stability and intuitive dealing with. The consolation of the outfitting provides you with extra vitality to paddle all day or attempt yet another trick because the solar units in your post-work surf session. Initiating methods within the V is about as straightforward as it may be and can make you need to surf, squirt, cartwheel, wave wheel, and customarily simply mess on runs that may in any other case develop outdated.

I am particularly excited to carry this boat out to some bigger waves this spring when the flows are proper. Jackson nailed the quantity distribution and hull design on this boat and I’m going to be day dreaming about taking it down a excessive water Browns Canyon lap all winter.


If you’re on the higher fringe of the load vary or have lengthy legs, I’d advocate sizing up.

For many who worth flatwater efficiency or need to dial of their approach on a ship that’s straightforward to throw round, take into account sizing down.

Nearly all of paddlers will discover that being on the center to low finish of the load vary improves downriver efficiency and massive air together with consolation, whereas the bow and stern design will nonetheless allow them to throw the boat round a bit in calmer waters

Ought to I improve from the Rockstar 4.0?

The typical paddler will benefit from the Rockstar V greater than the 4.0.

The V looks like will probably be simpler to progress in and is extra intuitive when initiating methods and paddling downriver. Don’t anticipate one week within the Rockstar V to take you out of your first loop to profitable the native Friday evening rodeo, however you possibly can anticipate for many strikes to really feel higher within the V. The brand new hull and slicey, low-volume ends of the RSV will make most kayakers excited to paddle, and I can’t wait to see what this boat will do with extra water.

What else do you need to know in regards to the new Rockstar? Tell us within the feedback and we are going to reply your questions in full assessment in Spring 22. 



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