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The Hero has now had most of the first season to prove its meddle among a large group of river runners. Our design criteria for this boat was to make a boat that was:

1. Incredibly stable and easy to keep upright.
2. Roll like a Jackson- effortlessly
3. Confidence inspiring- easy to paddle (makes class 3 feel like class 2, etc.)
4. Fun to surf on waves on waves and holes.
5. Comfortable and dry
6. Safe and dependable.

Well we have finally been able to really put it to the test in all conditions from massive waterfalls (dozens of runs over 60+ footers up to 100 feet) to beginner kayaking instruction workhorse. You know we believe we have a winner when we add a 4th size to the line this coming week with the Little Hero. Here is how I describe this boat, after seeing it in action, and having this season to paddle it myself…

The stability is quite comforting. There is something about having that extra stability that puts you at ease at the top of a rapid. More time can be spent paddling, maneuvering, etc. and less time bracing or rolling. Most of the intermediate paddlers I have talked to that own one, said it made each river feel a grade lower (like class 4 became class 3 for them). I have a comment on that…

There are several factors that make it feel easier to paddle.

  • Stability is a big one, followed by the full planning hull that allows you to make mistakes and get away with it, such as peeling out at the wrong angle.
  • The length of the boat is a huge factor as most people were coming out of a longer boat that overpowers them. (remember that as a boat gets longer the torque the water has over your boat increase expodentially, making a longer boat much harder to keep under control)
  • The higher volume deck of a Hero really keeps the boat on the surface making the paddler feel onto of the water and in control as well.

The fun factor is something that is key to any boat and that comes in a variety of forms. The Hero is my choice for river running for a variety of reasons, based on the fun factor…

1. It surfs really well- the Fun hull on it is ideal for staying upright and surfing easily.
2. It locks into eddies like crazy, making eddy hopping, s-turns, and tight eddies really fun. The chine shape and length of the effective waterline are ideal for locking into the eddies, while still be super nimble and quick to respond.
3. It rock spins like crazy- the planning hull gives a nice stable platform for getting on top of rocks and being able to spin before falling off of them. (I LOVE rock spins)
4. I never feel I need to go to another boat to run the harder stuff. I am now paddling my All-Star and Hero for my two boats. That makes a great combo.

Outfitting- if you are a Jackson Kayak owner, you know what the outfitting is all about. Comfort is paramount at JK as we spend too much time in boats to not be comfortable all day!

  • David Knight is the master in designing the deck of our boats to perfectly fit in your legs at just the right angle. This is quite unique.
  • Our oversized thigh pads assure 100% foam padding for your knees and legs without touching plastic.
  • The Sweet Cheeks form fits to create a customer molded seat with your exact rear end imprinted into it. This eliminates the high and low points that foam padded seats have that start to cause discomfort while paddling.
  • The backband is very mobile, allowing it to move with you to prevent chafing, or lower back pain that is caused by stiff backbands that are mounted too high.
  • The Uni-Shock Bulkhead not only is the safest way to protect yourself in the case of a peton, but also allows you to instantly release the pressure on your legs and stretch out while sitting in your boat. Want to tighten up for a big rapid, just pull the bulkhead tighter, pop your skirt back on and you are ready. This cutting edge system is a key component for a safe, comfortable, and dry boat
  • No holes in the boat other than the cockpit itself, and the drain plug. (yes, a major magazine touted this system saying we had only 4 holes instead of the typical 11 of other brands, but they were incorrect. Drills aren’t supposed to go through your hull.

Here are some reviews from hero owners…
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 places.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 again.
All the best for now…see you somewhere I’m sure!
Stuart Holbrook
October 8, 2008
Hi EJ.
Just a quick note!
I bought the new hero 08 about a month ago, what a sweet boat.
I have only been paddling about 3 months.
My first boat was a Pyranha ammo m. I thought it was a nice ride until I had a demo in the hero.job done sold the Pyranha the next week.
It way easier to roll the hero more stable and quicker.Before I had trouble down the nanty with the Hero I can clean the upper pigeon.
The big wave train on our local run which is the lower Haw NC gabe’s bend at high level, the hero rode up the face pointed to the sky and slid down the other side with a little brace.This would not be possible in the other boat.
This makes my boating skill level look better than it really is.LOL
Thanks again for the sweet boat design you’re the man!!!!
I am now going to demo the super star and if its any where as good as the hero in design I will have to sell the wife to add it to the fleet !
Keep up the good work.
Thanks Chris Shand
Here is one by Devin Knight who paid retail for this boat before taking it on some incredible trips…
(he is now a regional team member)