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You may ask yourself, “what is a 2008 Jackson Kayak?”. If you have been paying attention to our company and product over the past 4 years, you would know that we improve as much as we can on our boats each year, and every three years we replace the design entirely.

Well, we have new Funs, Stars, and Rockers that are in their first season, so only the outfitting and molding will change on them. We have the new 2008 Heroes coming out, which is our newest design that is causing quite a stir already. This article is to make sure you know EVERYTHING we have done for the 2008 lineup!

1. Hulls

  • In 2008 we are curing our cross-linked boats longer, creating stiffer, stronger, more abrasion resistant hulls than ever before.
    • The cook time window for a cross-linked kayak is like the Cumberland Plateau, while the cook time window for a linear kayak (all other brands) is more like the smoky mountains if you were to look at a graph. What that means is that the material gets stronger as you cook it longer until it reaches full cure, and then cross-link HDPE maintains that strength for about 5-8 minutes longer in the oven without losing anything, before the qualities start to deteriorate again after 7-8 minutes. Linear gets stronger and then starts deteriorating very quickly after it reaches the peak, making it counter-productive to risk going for full peak.
    • In 2007 our boats were molded going for the peak, since our molders are used to linear, and the end result was that not all of the boats reached peak. Those boats that didn’t reach peak came back to us as warranty boats this year.
    • In 2008 (already started) we are molding until the boats are well into the plateau, and the results are incredible! Just check them out!!! Stiff, and incredibly strong, like only cross-link can provide!
  • We are now producing shiny, great looking boats! We re-polished the molds and are using better molding techniques, mold release, etc. to create incredible looking hulls.
  • The INSIDE of the hulls may be a darker color than the outside. Green, for example turns darker green when cooked into the plateau. Some of the boats will be darker than others. Anyone who says they are OVER cooked are mistaken. A linear boat that is dark on the inside is like glass and will shatter because it is overcooked. A cross-linked boat is like a perfectly cooked cake, browned on the top.

2. Outfitting Changes

  • Double soft Sweet Cheeks, with much stronger connector tubes!
    • Look for a velvet type of covering, verses the plastic before.
    • Look for thicker connector valves that will take much more abuse.
  • Wider seat bracket for tougher seat connection and better hip pad support.
    • Seat now moves further forwards.
      • Rocker seats are usually best neutral or back slightly- don’t move them forward!
    • Boat Armor system is even stronger than before.
    • Hip pads are much better supported.
  • Hose clamp to lock down seat once you like the position.
    • Simple easy to adjust seat, like before, but now you can tighten the hose clamp to lock it down for good!
  • New rope that won’t slip over time.
    • Look for black rope with Teal tracer- this rope was used in 2006 and was our best option. 2007 rope was more expensive, and I liked the look better, but it would collapse over time and slip (75 hard days by team members) It was easy to just put the backband in a different position, but the new rope is super solid.
  • Extra Large Happy Feet in 4 Fun and Super Fun
    • Really provides the largest boats with a full sized foot pad, much improved system.
    • Rocker and Hero double floor support
      This years’ Rockers and Heroes will have a vacuum formed track that goes under thecomposite beam to spread the load of impact and wear over a wider area.
    • The track will also improve overall stiffness and longevity of the hull.
      The track will protect the composite beam from direct impact of sharp rocks as well.
    • Total strength and durability, and safety will be improved yet again, (hull improvements are a huge part of this too)
  • Grab handle strength takes another huge leap forward.
    • 1/8” steel cables are now inside the high strength webbing tubing.
    • Same soft comfortable feel for handling boats, pulling in swimmers, etc. without hurting your hands.
    • Double structure with both the webbing, and the cable.

We have been busy in R+D here at Jackson Kayak, whew! When I personally commit that we will do everything we can to make the best boats, I take that very seriously. We are not perfect and we make mistakes. We also are constantly learning and improving. Each year our boats have improved in many ways. This year is no different. We only hope that 2009 will also see major improvements again. The challenge is to identify areas that we can improve and then try to get those improvements past the concept phase and into reality before it is time to make next years’ boats.