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Extensive R & D delivers hot, new boat in JK’s whitewater stable

04.15.2010– Three years of planning, tons of research, three prototypes, hundreds of hours of testing, all contributed to the debut of Jackson Kayak’s new creek boat, the Villain.

Available in two sizes – the Villain S for 100 – 180-lb boaters and the larger Villain for 160 to 250-pounders – this completely new design from Jackson Kayak is a full-on creek boat with a high-volume deck, planing hull for floaty feel, easy spinning and effortless setting of ferry angles but also sports a long water line for more speed and more carve.

Whispered about for the past year while it’s been in development, the Villain is more than simply a cross between Jackson’s Hero series and former Rocker series as many had speculated and the Villain is getting rave reviews from serious creekers.

Expedition kayaker and pro photographer Darin McQuoid took the Villain for a trial run on California’s South Yuba. Afterward, McQuoid said, “I can honestly say the Villain is the best boat I have paddled for punching holes. If you drive it deep the boat maintains nice steady forward momentum and resurfaces bow first, not in a “Red October” rush to the surface but a nice, controlled forward moving resurface, very nice. This boat is a resurfacing champion, something that goes hand in hand with punching big holes. It’s by far the best creeker I’ve been in.”

Joining McQuoid on the South Yuba was Stephen Wright, one of the original members of Team Jackson Kayak, who had this to say about the Villain: “It’s fast, nimble, boofs everything, stable, forgiving, holds a line at speed yet easy to spin at low speeds, carries tons of speed through foam and away from drops.”

“The villain paddles like having a conversation with your best friend. It is easy and you feel right at home,” said Jackson Kayak founder and Villain co-designer Eric “EJ” Jackson. The boat appears to be yet another in the design successes Jackson has enjoyed with co-designer David Knight. The pair has been designing some of the best-selling whitewater boats since before the launch of Jackson Kayak.

The fairer sex is attracted to the Villains too. Extreme racer and big waterfall addict Heather Herbeck said she fell in the love with the Villain after just her first five minutes on the water with it.

One of the best qualities of this boat is the edges and the way it tracks on the water. I have found myself in the past exhausted after paddling, from using tons and tons of correctional strokes and wasted energy. With the speed and tracking of the Villain, I only needed a few strokes to accelerate me in the direction I wanted to go and it kept on track . . . crashing waves, boily current, holes . . . nothing stopped this boat or turned it off course. As funny as it sounds, I felt like a stronger, more efficient paddler in the Villain . . . and, that’s a ‘thumbs up’ confidence boost right there.

Veteran southeast paddler Kat Levitt said the Villain’s no rogue, making her feel solid, safe and fast. Before paddling the Villain S, Levitt said longer boats have in the past intimidated her as they have many women paddlers she knows. Though the Villain S measures 8’2”, Levitt said “I don’t feel like I’m paying the price of ‘hard to handle’ and ‘impossible to turn’ for ‘punches holes like a freight train’ and ‘bridges gaps.” Like Herbeck, Levitt became an instant fan of the Villain.

Both sizes of Villain are available in standard build (super linear plastic, foam outfitting) for $1049 or Elite with the more durable crosslink plastic and Jackson Kayak’s custom comfort outfitting (Sweet Cheeks and Happy Feet) for $1195.

Founded in 2004, Jackson Kayak is the world leader in whitewater kayaks and also makes recreational and touring kayaks. For the full line of Jackson Kayak products, color choice, accessories, and to share in the lifestyle, visit

Villain S: Length- 8’2”; Width- 25.5”; Height-14.5″; Volume- 79.5 gallons; Cockpit size 20.5″ x 34.75″; Boat weight 46 lbs; Weight range- 100-180 lbs
Villain: Length: 8’8” Width: 27.0” Height- 15.5” Volume: 92.5 gallons Cockpit size 21.63″ x 36.75 Weight Range- 155-230+


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