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Five Minutes in the Zen

…was all I needed to decide it would be my next new boat. To be completely honest, I needed less. I enjoyed the fit on my knees and legs immediately, as the Zen’s design and outfitting provides total comfort and control.  As I slid in and took my first few strokes into 6000 cfs of boily “funny water,” I felt more confident than usual… I was getting where I wanted to be and in a hurry! Not only that, I was incredibly stable and agile getting there. I peeled out and took some hard strokes before threading between a rock and a hole (to my surprise with ease!) and then turned to ferry back across the massive wave train. I made it into the eddy way higher than expected and my decision was made. The Zen would be my new boat for 2012! I rolled it on both sides in the eddy to seal the deal, and did some peel-outs into a gigantic wave hole I normally avoid. And at EJ’s insistance, once right into the meat! Wow…the ZEN!!!

The Villain will always be my safety blanket! What a great boat to learn to creek in, and step up your game too! I have made some amazing memories in my Villain S…it gave me the confidence to race the Green my first time after a decade of running mostly “Green Lite.” It charges big drops, boofs and punches holes like no other, but with 79 gallons of volume, it can be a handful for me (at 120 lbs) in big water. Idaho is one of my favorite places to paddle, and I can’t wait to paddle my favorite western rivers in the Zen!

From total beginners to seasoned experts, the Zen is a boat to try. Here’s why:

1. Comfort: I never want to fall out of the boat (learning to roll or taking a beat-down). The Zen’s design creates better thigh bracing than any Jackson boat I’ve paddled yet. I truly felt “one” with the Zen, and had less room to bang around inside it.

2. Weight: It’s lighter to load, lift and carry. It balances great on the shoulder!

3. Stability…is the Zen’s middle name. It has incredible primary and secondary stability. Always makes me feel more confident when I’m not startled by “almost” flipping!

4. Speed: I never thought it could be faster than the Villain and still be controllable, but it IS. Make moves you never thought you could!

5. Tracking: This boat stays ON line. Its the kind of boat you can paddle in with speed and still put it exactly where you want it.. my favorite style of boating!

From learning to roll and making the first eddy turns to attaining and carving in with speed as a veteran, many will enjoy the Zen. It’s my new boat for the year. I’m going to use it for everything I paddle in the Villain, so for that reason, I’m going with the 65.  Check out the sizes and specs here: