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Boat Review:  Jackson Fun Runner 60

River Paddled:  SFA

Date Paddled:  Saturday, 05/05/12

River Rating:  Class 2 (Higher Spring Flow)

Flow:  2500 – 2800 CFS

Paddler: Dana Lykins

Gender:  Male

Height:  5’10”

Weight:  175 (no gear)

Age:  51

Shoe Size:  10.5

Skill Level: 3-4

The Mission:  To find a boat with the perfect mix of speed and play

The Result:  Mission Impossible – OK, Mission Not Realistic 🙂

What I learned about the Fun Runner is that it is really, really, really
FUN!  I had a smile on my face all day long and the comfort of this boat was
exceptional!  It has been a long time since I have been able to get
everywhere I wanted to be on the river and surf every feature, wave, rock,
curl, well you get the idea.  This boat is a surfing machine on flat green
waves and inspires confidence on each wave.

Jackson Kayaks outfitting is far superior in the comfort sector than any
other boat I have ever paddled, and I like to demo boats!  I have never been
able to get into a boat and pull some strings (ropes) and be totally
comfortable to paddle all day long.  However, when pulling the strings it
did make me wonder about the durability of the rope system verses a ratchet
system.  I have had both of my hips replaced and four knee surgeries, so let
me tell you, my pain threshold is evident when sitting in a boat.
Disclaimer:  I do not have any affiliation with any boat company, so this
information is based solely on the boat’s merits.  I have never owned a
Jackson Kayak and my current boats are Wave Sports: 75 Diesel and Project

The Trip:

After the calm water in front of Marshall Gold Park there are some good eddy
lines to attempt stern squirts, notice I said attempt.  The stern of this
boat will require some practice and finesse to get a good stern squirt
technique; I got one decent squirt only.

Next, playing in the same area are some good rocks and waves which the Fun
Runner demonstrated it’s speed and agility.  I put the boat everywhere I
wanted and managed good attainments.  This boat is not exceptionally quick,
but it is fast and exceptionally predictable.  Next, onto Gremlin.

Gremlin was mostly washed out as demonstrated by the other boats in the
group barely managing a surf, however, the Fun Runner showed it’s balanced
hull speed was able to catch and sit on the wave.  I repeated this surf
multiple times exiting with some pop-ups and semi-pirouettes; great fun!
Now down to Old Scary

Old Scary is a great play spot if you know how to work the area.  With the
flow being on the higher side (compared to the 1200-1500 summer flows) I had
no problem catching the top eddy in the willows.  I then jumped out into the
current with a quick peel-out and grabbed the big eddy on river right.
There is a user friendly wave in the middle at lower flows, not so much at
this flow, however, I still caught the wave multiple times proving the speed
of the boat.  Next ferrying in and across all points through Old Scary was
just a joy with minimal effort required.  Fast forward to barking dog.

Barking Dog was a large green wave with no playboats hanging out.  Things
were washing over the island and creating minimal river right parking just
swirling eddies and unstable current; you know, the kind that flip you
instantly.  Initially heading down river I caught Barking Dog with ease and
had great surf (not going to happen in my playboat).  I then paddled back up
on river right (again, not going to happen in my playboat) in the swirly
mixed current as this boat provided amazing stability.  I then jumped back
on Barking Dog for another great surf.

End of the Day – This is not a playboat, but it is a playful boat.  It is
not quick boat, but it is fast boat.  It carves deliberately and precisely.
In my opinion this boat delivers exactly what it was designed to do.  I did
not feel this boat would be all that easy to spin, but that may just be my
lack of ability.  I think the value in this boat is that it tracks well,
inspires confidence, and is a great river runner period.  I think this boat
is in a class by itself.  It is not a Fuse, Fun, Varun or Freeride and was
not designed to be.  It is faster,  than it is playful, with light, crisp,
precise, deliberate handling.

I want to get this boat on Chili Bar and the Gorge, but I need more demo
dollars and time 🙂  I have heard very good things about the Zen and I want
demo this boat next.

Below I tried to rate some categories for comparison; 1 being Poor or Slow,
10 being Fast or Best.

Speed  –  9

Surfing  –  10

Edge to Edge Transitions  –  6

Rolling  –  9

Perling  –  3

Stern Squirts  –  2

Pop-ups  –  8

Pirouettes  –  7

Spins  –  3

Looseness of Hull  –  4

Ergonomics  –  10

Stability Overall  –  10

Stability Primary  –  10

Stability Secondary  –  8

Outfitting  –  10

I believe this is a great boat and I would recommend this boat to anyone who
is a class 2-3 boater and guarantee a FUN day, or many FUN days on the river

Best regards,

Dana Lykins