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The weather is improving and the rivers are rising, so it’s about the time where kayaking becomes a high priority in my life.   This morning I was able to get out in my brand new Rock Star M and take some surfs.   “The Weir” is a beginner/intermediate surf feature in the heart of Boise, Idaho and it was a good place for me to compare my new boat to the beloved All-Star.   Here’s what I noticed:

1)  Wow, this thing is comfortable.   Jackson has always had exceptional outfitting, but I noticed that the backband sits higher and helps to keep my rear on the seat.   This is important, especially because I was sitting higher with the Sweet Cheeks 200.   At just a hair over six feet tall, I had room to spare around my feet, and my behind and lower back were quite comfortable for the entire time I was in the boat.

2) Holy sidesurf!   Although the wave I was on was small, I was able to work my way to the edge and sidesurf a green wave that was only maybe a foot tall.   This boat easily grinds in a sidesurf, and in case you didn’t know, side-surfing a green wave is about as fun as any freestyle trick.   I couldn’t believe it!

3) I feel tall and strong.   Although the extra beans in the Sweet Cheeks 200 took a few rides to get used to, I felt especially strong in my ability to spin or cartwheel.   Extra height means more leverage.   While sitting higher might be challenging for some, intermediate and advanced playboaters will notice that it takes less effort to throw down.

4) This thing is FAST!   The wave I was surfing was neither tall nor steep, but the Rock Star had no problem accelerating and building speed on the wave.   It’s a shorter boat, and looser, so every spin I did seemed to happen at light speed.   At times it was almost hard to keep up, but that will come with a little practice and exercise.

5) I could stay in the hole as long as I wanted.   With the extra volume, this boat is very retentive and has no problem staying in the hole as long as you want to be in there.   The few extra gallons made it feel perfectly balanced and the larger stern felt like it would give me extra confidence when I take this boat downriver.

A year or two ago, I didn’t think I would ever like a boat more than the 2010 All-Star.   And I still feel that for some less agressive paddlers, the All-Star might be a better option.   But if you are looking to push your playboating to the next level, I think this boat’s performance will be a notch above the rest.   In the coming weeks, I’m excited to be able to spend lots of time in this boat on a variety of more advanced holes and larger waves. 

Where I come from, the spring season is what we live for!