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October 14, 2007

The Rocker has been given a true test over the past 10 months. Expeditions in Mexico on steep technical, and huge drops, as well as numerous petons to test the Uni-shock bulkhead system. I was present for much of it, and just got the beta on some. Costa Rica big drops, China and India Big water, California, Colorado, British Columbia, Quebec, the Green, the now in Newfoundland the Rockers are getting used and abused to the highest levels. Most of expedition team members had paddled other brands boats before. Just look at what Darin, Ben, Jesse, Eric Seymore, etc. were paddling before. What made them switch to the Rockers, and what makes me trust my life to the Rocker are these things.

1. The Rocker is dependable- A durable cross-linked hull, designed with no holes in it to crack and break, with plenty of plastic, and a design that doesn’t oil can, or have weak points. With a warranty in case Jackson Kayak screws up the manufacturing of the boat, which we did do this year with about 75 boats of which about 50 of them broke, and all were replaced. That is what the warranty is for. Clearly boats can break ultimately, as can anything, and sometimes it is just bad luck, like rebar. The key is that if you are going to bring a boat on a trip you need to trust it, and you can trust some more than others, period. I know I can trust the Rockers with my family, my team, and myself. I make them, I paddle them, and I believe in them.

2. The Rocker performs incredibly well- High volume, by design. They stay on the surface like no other. They get you through holes like no other, and keep you out of trouble like no other. The surfaces of the sidewall, hull, and deck are roundy and don’t allow the water to grab and flip easily. Does this mean you can’t flip? Of course not, does it mean you can’t trip on a rock? Of course not, but the designs goes as far as it can to prevent these things from happening.

3. The Rocker Rolls Very easy- simple- an easy to roll boat is safer and more fun, and on a creek missing a roll is much more of an issue than on a deep playboating river. The Rocker keeps true to the Jackson brand in ease of rolling.

4. The Rocker is Safe- There are many factors that determine safety in a boat. It includes, first and foremost, allowing the paddler to safely negotiate rapids without incident. A design should go as far in that direction as it can in a creeker and we discussed that in #2. Also, it should be safe in a crash or when a paddler gets out of control. The Rocker first off is the only boat in the world with a bulkhead like it. The uni-shock bulkhead turns a nasty peton into a much safer, more comfortable crash. Dane just petoned from 25 feet and the worry of his legs or ankles being broken wasn’t even a consideration. I have seen Nick, Eric Seymore, and many more take huge peton hits and all were amazed and immediately 100% believers and fans of the Rocker for that reason alone. Some have told me that they are now afraid to paddle anything different for that reason. Another type of crash is going upside down in a bad place. The Rockers higher volume design (93 gallon mega rocker, 80 Gallon Rocker (medium boat), and 68 gallon Punk Rocker, small boat.) this extra volume keeps you on the surface much higher when upside down and prevents the boat from going into a sieve as easily. Another area of safety is in the integrity of the boat in a pinning situation. The Boat Armor outfitting is designed to keep the deck and hull separated to prevent getting trapped by a wrapped boat. Like anything, it has its limits. We combined full length non-compromised vertical pillars, a composite beam, vertical u-channels, a rigid seat and incredibly strong triangulated seat brackets to make it a beefy boat ready for action. 5 attachment points for safety, easy pick up for swimmers, etc.

5. The Rocker is well outfitted- Comfortable, sweet cheeks to keep you saddled and absorb hard bounces, and thigh pads that are oversized in a knee area that is designed to hold you snuggly in the cockpit for any ride. The backband is not only super strong, but quick and easy to adjust, in the right height. The uni-shock bulkhead is hinged to allow access for putting gear in the front. (I kept my extra clothes, and first aid kit, and food in the front in Newfoundland, and had immediate, easy access to it. The backband has two quick clips to drop it for access to the stern without hinderance. The seat has two thumbscrews to loosen to slide it forward without tools to make more room for the stow floats or other gear in the back. Rope attachment points, four of them along the stern cockpit for attaching ropes, your bags, etc..

6. The Rocker is made by Jackson Kayak, a family owned company that husband, wife, both kids are all involved to the hilt. My partner, Tony is a paddler, as are his kids. Our staff are paddlers, and care about your Rocker, before it goes out and after it is in your hands.

As I said before, this is a biased review. It is what I believe it to be. I recommend that you try one.

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about this Creeker, the Rocker.