Select Page

It is about time for me to send in my Hero Review! When David
Knight and I set out to design this kayak, it had several key elements that
it had to accomplish like no other boat.

1. Super easy to paddle downriver, across the river, in and out of
eddies, and through or across all features (waves, holes, rocks, eddlines,
and boils)

2. Super easy to roll.

3. Super Stable

4. Comfortable, very comfortable

5. Fun to surf and easy to surf

6. Handle Class 5 like a creeker.

The length of the boat is quite important for many of these factors. The
shorter the boat the easier to maneuver in the whitewater and the less
likely to get knocked off line. We also looked at the volume of the boat
seriously. We decided that you can either play it or not (vertically).
Boats that are "kind of slicey" are the worst of both worlds. They lose
foot-room, you can’t cartwheel or squirt them anyhow (unless you are a pro
and want to punish yourself trying) so why take beneficial volume out? We
decided to put in as much "reserve" volume as possible. The bow deck has a
ton of room for your feet and stays on the surface like a champ. The stern
deck is peaked and the water has little to grab or push on, keeping you
horizontal on top of the water instead of backendering.

When dropping into holes (waterfalls, vertical drops that you want to plug
in) the Hero re-surfaces quickly and in control and flat.

The Hull of the Hero is essentially the Fun Hull stretched out and the
rocker profile changed. This creates the most stable platform of any river
runner on the market. Just sit in a Hero on the water and rock around and
you’ll be amazed at the initial stability. The sidewalls are flared out
dramatically providing an even more stable boat on edge than any other.
This follows the "easy to paddle" goal as a boat that stays upright, is
quite confidence inspiring and most people feel they can run an extra class
of river just by paddling the Hero. The other benefit of the hull is that
is surfs like a dream! The Hero Hull make surfing easy as it is easy to
turn, easy to keep on the wave, fast, and forgiving.

The Hero locks into eddies and fires out of them like a sports car. While
you may find that some river runners are more like trucks that are slow to
respond making them less fun to paddle, you’ll love the way the Hero zips
around with its sporty package. The margin for error is very large also
as the planing hull allows you to peel out with too much angle and still
correct yourself. A displacement hulled kayak, or "semi-displacment" hull
won’t be so forgiving.

My experience actually paddling the Hero has been a dream for me. Whether
creeking in TN, Colorado, or CA, or running down the Arkansas River in
Colorado I have been having a ball.

I have been using the Hero to teach rolling and so far the verdict is the
"easiest to roll" kayak out there. While we go out of our way to make any
boat that says "Jackson" on the side be easy to roll, we were very pleased
with the Hero’s rolling.

Having a Side Kick, the smallest version of the Hero, made for kids, has
given a bunch of kids a real confidence inspiring introduction to kayaking.
When kids are involved, it is critical to do what you can to assure that
they have a fun, safe experience. When mom or dad is paddling a Hero, or
Super Hero the kids are best in a Side Kick.

My final review of the Hero is that is sure is selling well! Even the Side
Kick is selling well for a kids boat. Team JK has been taking to the boat
and they all have them now and provide incredible feedback on them. I
am very happy with the results of this boat in its first season, which is
about ½ way done. I recommend the Hero, Super Hero or Side Kick for
anyone wanting a River Runner that is easy to jump in and be confident
immediately (little to no acclimation time)

Click here for non-Jackson affiliated customer reviews, as well as team
reviews of the Hero series

Or Just read this one by Stuart Holbrook.

EJ and Kristine,

I could bore you with specifications, thrill you with daredevil escapades,
or wow you with my resume (not)….but instead I will simply tell you that
the Super Hero is the greatest boat ever designed in our short and storied
history of river running. Take it from a very regular guy who travels the
world to paddle way over his head and who often is questioning – but never
doubting in an ability to survive, that the Super Hero is the "end all be
all" of anything any normal guy like myself would ever want on virtually
every mortal run known to man. This, in an effort to do more than just
survive, but to actually thrive in the unknowns of distant and unfamiliar

I have dreamed of a boat like this. One that I could take anywhere. From the
big water of the Futa. the creeks of New Zealand, or the continuos nature of
the Himalayas. Without a doubt this is the boat that I would feel confident
on any run – in any place- at any time. And it even has the added attraction
of a gimme surf and spin when the gradient is not making me sweat and I feel
like a little play is the order of the day!

I am punching holes I would have avoided. Taking big drops with my head up
and posture forward. Looking for the challenging lines on rivers that have
come to be complacent. I am doing this because the Super Hero has given me
the extra bit of UMPH (confidence) that I had ben lacking in trusting a boat
like I would my own legs or arms. So it is in a sense, for lack of great
technical rhetoric, a kayak that could easily be described as an extension
of one’s own body.

I admit I have not rolled it yet…so that is left to be seen…but I should
add that I have NOT needed to roll as of yet because after two weeks of
class 4-5 I have yet to flip once! That day will come I am sure…and I feel
confident that I will come upright to tell you right away that it rolls like
a charm.

Thanks…I have found a whole new reason to get excited about kayaking

All the best for now…see you somewhere I’m sure!

Stuart Holbrook

Eric Jackson


Click to view larger image

Click to view larger image