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December 20, 2004

The excitement and butterflies I get when I put a new
design on the water for the first time is unreal. This is the first time
David Knight and I have had the opportunity to design a creekboat with
no strings attached ever. We pulled as much information from Clay Wright
as possible, along with input from anybody with an opinion. The end result
is right here, right now in the Rocker.

Rocker hull

Rocker with EJ at lip of falls

The entire Jackson Kayak staff was on hand on Friday
to help get the boat outfitted from a raw hull that was molded out of
a fiberglass mold. We had to cut a cockpit from the Super Star and attach
it to the hull. We used a white Super Star and a Red Rocker hull made
from linear plastic so we could tack it together with a welding gun called
a “Drader”. We didn’t have our CNC machined out foam
pillars or sidewalls yet, so we did it the old fashioned way (great for
making ice cream, but technology in designing is way better than the old
fashioned way!) and measured, cut, and trimmed.

Stephen Wright admiring his work

By 10 pm on Friday the Rocker was ready to paddle.
Stephen Wright was my main guy. He is awesome. Not only does he do a great
job on the assembly line, but he is also perfect for a project like putting
a boat together for the first time. I didn’t ever have to ask, his
excitement about the project seemed to match mine as we put two boats
together, one on Friday, one on Saturday for him.

Rocker Testing Grounds

We have some class V in our backyard, as well as a
20 foot waterfall to try the boat on and wasted no time on Saturday morning
getting our first testing session in.


















Goals for the Rocker: Fast, responsive, friendly, stable,
safe, ease of rolling, ease of holding a line, resurfaces from drops straight
and controlled, balanced, easy to boof, ample room in it, lightweight,
comfortable, durable and dry, of course.


  1. At 8’ long- the Rocker is about as fast as
    an 8 footer could be, it is fast!
  2. Responsive- The boat tracks really well in terms
    of not being bullied by the water, but it still turn smoothly and quickly
    when flat. Put it on edge and the waterline shortens making it snap
    a turn, while not sliding, perfect for nailing little eddies.
  3. Friendly- I can’t tell you how happy I am
    about this one- An unfriendly creekboat is like having your best friend
    turn on you in a time of need. The Rocker doesn’t have a bad bone
    in its body. It is friendly on every curve in every way. There is a
    little special one that is unbelievable and you will have to try it
    to believe it. On one of my tests, I paddle across and eddy line quickly
    and drop the wrong edge (lean upstream), doing this until I know just
    how forgiving or edgy it is. Well, the Rocker literally says “NO”
    and the suction on the downstream side tries to pull you downstream
    edge in keeping you from flipping. Unbelievable. This is a “thank
    you lucky stars” type of a deal because I know that I didn’t
    discuss this performance feature with David. If you put your weight
    off to the side a lot you will still flip, so I recommend still peeling
    out the best way you know how before a big drop!
  4. Stable- The Rocker is 100% displacement hull. It
    is very nimble from edge to edge, but unlike may current creekers, it
    has great final stability and the initial stability is big enough to
    give you a sense of confidence that you need in hard rapids. Many creekers
    have you on your toes, always ready to brace, the Rocker will allow
    you to focus on maneuvering the boat to where you want it to go next.
  5. Safe- High volume, well outfitted, strongest plastic
    available, ample attachment points, easy access in and out of the boat,
    high floatation in the boat, and a design that will allow you to stay
    on line better than ever before come together to make this boat a safe
    choice for your creeking action. “CreekFeet” will change
    the creeking world when it comes to a foot system that is safe, comfortable,
    adjustable, and adds floatation. This is in the development stage, but
    is far enough along that I can tell you that people will soon be ripping
    their old outfitting from their creekboats and adding a CreekFeet Bulkhead.
    That is enough for now on that.
  6. Like the way the Fun rolls? Try the Rocker, it is
    the best rolling creekboat I have ever tried! (There a number of creekers
    I haven’t paddled, so I can’t say that it is the easiest
    rolling creekboat in the world, but I will bet on it and won’t
    be betting blind, (more like having “pocket aces” )
  7. Holding a line- This is the great challenge. A boat
    that is super maneuverable and turns on a dime, but goes straight when
    you want and holds a line. Good thing there is a way to do this! We
    have a long water line making the boat fast, while having a huge amount
    of flair and no flat surfaces for the water to push on the sides. This
    means that the hole and waves don’t have any part of the boat
    to get a good purchase on and force you off line. It also means that
    when you want to turn fast the boat slices through the waves and holes
    much easier, instead of being slowed down by them. The Rocker also turns
    much faster on edge which his how you are much of the time you are making
    a really sharp maneuver. The length and volume of the Rocker keeps the
    stern following the bow nicely through all kinds of crazy water.
  8. Resurfacing- Most boats have some kind of weirdness
    when the whole boat goes underwater and starts to rise up. Many shoot
    up to the side more often than not, many come up bow first so much that
    you lose your speed, and worse, some want to come up upside down (that
    really sucks). The goal for the Rocker is to come up reasonably bow
    first, allowing you to carry your speed up and away from holes. Also,
    the goal was a straight, predictable resurfacing character that inspires
    confidence when it is time to plug, or when a boof was blown. The Rocker
    does just that. Take it to your favorite drop and plug it. The bow is
    slightly longer than the stern, while the volume is balanced in a way
    to lift evenly, even when the water would normally try to push down
    on the stern. The bow is bulbous but narrow enough to allow it to penetrate
    deep enough to allow your entire boat to go in before it levels out,
    softening the landings and improving safety on bigger drops.
  9. Easy to boof- Shorter stern, stern rocker in the
    right place, boof, boof, boof.
  10. Ergonomics- Take the comfort of a Jackson Kayak
    to a creekboat- great idea! The leg area is awesome- the “CreekFeet”
    will blow you away. The overall outfitting package will make a long
    day on the water much more enjoyable.
  11. Lightweight- Not light like the Fun or All-Star,
    but molded to be super strong, and still way lighter than the competitors
    creekers. A carry up a valley to your favorite run will be much more
    enjoyable than ever before, also the responsiveness and acceleration
    you get from dropping 10 pounds will make you a Rocker fan in a hurry.
  12. Durable and Dry- Cross-linked creekboats are
    the only way to go and you will see in a hurry what a difference it
    makes. Add to that- a COMPOSITE SEAT!!! The first time in plastic boat
    history, composites are being used for structure in your kayak. This
    is simply a cost prohibitive way to build a kayak by any kayak companies
    standards, it seems, except Jackson Kayak. We are currently building
    molds for and will be making all of our creekboats and river running/creekboats
    with composite seat pans and seats. This will GREATLY add to the structure
    of your kayak, while keeping weight down. The cost of it will be absorbed
    by Jackson Kayak and your dealer, while still keeping MSRP at $995.
    There are no holes in your Rocker- so it will remain dry all day!

Clay will be back tomorrow from Belize and will be
doing more testing with me soon. Look for a March release!

🙂 EJ