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My brand new medium Karma came to me all the way across the country early last week in Marty’s trailer.  I’ve been excited to play with this new toy ever since I paddled the prototype in Montana, and shot the product photos a few weeks ago.  So I went on a 4-day colorado paddle mission: Thursday Gore Canyon, Friday Barrel Springs & Shoshone, Saturday Barrel & Shoshone, and Sunday 2 complete runs of Gore Canyon.  This wasn’t big waterfalls and it wasn’t the Green Race, BUT it was a lot of great whitewater and a fantastic opportunity to play with this new boat!

So what’s it like?  At 145 lbs, 5’4″, I thought that this newer, larger, longer medium creek boat would be way too big, but the fit is great and it maneuvers like a much smaller boat.  I’m sitting on 2 foam pads with the seat 1 notch back from the middle.  The Karma is fast, floaty, and fun!  It seems to just float over strong cross-currents and boils without being pushed around at all.  Love it!  Boofs are big, dynamic, and the bow is easy to keep up on the surface.  It turns MUCH easier than I expected–a good bit easier to spin/correct angles than a Villain or Zen.  If you keep it flat, it’ll plane-out on landings and over holes with more speed/glide than I’ve ever felt before.  It’s really forgiving–I haven’t even needed a critical brace yet, but rolls are maybe our easiest ever–TONS of 2ndary stability to help with roll finishes.

So what’s not to love?  Why buy another JK rr/creek boat over the Karma?  If you want ultimate ease of turning and short length, the Hero series is just FUN (though the Medium Karma–at more than a foot longer than my Hero–seems to turn ALMOST as easily).  If you want a boat that carves the hardest, fastest, and most dynamic eddy-turns with a little less volume/weight of a creek boat, the Zen is maybe a better choice.  Like all my JK creekboats, I seem to like the way this one paddles best with the seat pretty far back.

So after 4 days in a row in a lot of class IV/IV+, I LOVE the Karma!  The Medium and Large are available for demo/purchase now, and the mold for the Small size is currently being made right now.  Enjoy the photos, shot by Ken Hoeve!

Live from Golden, CO!

Stephen Wright

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