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Karma Review:

Hey Guys, here are a couple of thoughts that I had on the new Karma! I am loving this boat! These are a couple of differences that I noticed in switching from the Villain S to the medium Karma. Also, just an overview of the boat in General!!!
And a video to go along with the text, enjoy!!!!

My Size: 5’11”, 152 lb’s

1. Karma is much faster!

I wouldn’t consider the Villain a slow creek boat, however the Karma makes most other creek boats feel slow. It is definitely one of the fastest creek boats I have ever paddled! You can use this to your advantage a lot in creek boating. Punching through things, driving up on rocks…etc, is super easy and efficient in this boat. I have also noticed that it accelerates very quickly, and it only takes several strokes to get it up to speed! However, just because it is faster doesn’t mean that it is harder to control. You can still approach things slow, stable and in control… you don’t always want speed. But when you need it, it’s there…. Ready to charge!

2. Rocker/ Shape of Bow= Awesome!

One thing that I always wished the Villain had more of was bow rocker. The Karma doesn’t seem to have too much, but definitely a little more, and that combined with the shape of the bow makes it just like I wanted it! I felt like often times the bow of the Villain was more likely to snag, and piton due to the broad surface are of the front of the bow. The front of the Karma’s bow is a little narrower, with more rocker, allowing it to get up and over things easier, without snagging or pitoning!!!!!!

3. How do more defined rails/ edges react with sliding, grinding, and edge transitioning?

This was another factor that I was worried about switching into the Karma, and one of the first things that I looked for when paddling it. One of the first runs I did in the Karma was the Green Narrows…. Lots of good places to test for this. Flying Squirrel, the left line on the drop above Gorilla is a spot that involves an aggressive edge transition on a rock wall from right edge to either landing flat, or slightly on your left edge. This is a tough edge transition to make, and many people end up getting stuck on their right edge, flipping over, and going off the next drop upside down. So far, for me the Karma has hit this move perfectly, having two almost identical lines here. This is just one specific example, but I definitely messed around with many other rock moves, and the Karma seems to handle these types of moves very smoothly! Stoked! That’s important for a creekboat.

4. Reacting with diagonals, curlers, eddy lines and other features:

A big part of creeking involves knowing how to use different features in the river to your advantage. The Karma, once you get it dialed, will be on your side for this! In the Villain, if I wanted to get my bow over and onto the other side of a diagonal/curler, it was more of an exaggerated, sweeping boof stroke, using one of the back outside edges. In the Karma, I feel like the same thing can be accomplished using much less effort. Use the speed of the boat to your advantage. I have found that I can still use the same concepts, but staying more neutral, and keeping the boat a little flatter until the last second, will result in a much more efficient and precise way to get over diagonals. The edging and learning how the boat reacts to different features will just take some messing around with, but for me, I am really liking it, and feeling good about using the water to get the boat where I want it.

5. Speed Out and Away, as Opposed to Quick Max-Out and Bow Kicking up:

The Villain was awesome in terms of it being super easy to bring the bow up and down in free-fall, tand to control the angle at which you landed. However, the Villain, when it landed had a super fast speed max out rate, meaning that you would land, and the speed out from the base of the drop would reach it’s maximum almost immediately. The stern had a lot of drag, causing the bow to kick up fast. This can be good sometimes, and looks really cool, but some times, you just want to carry your speed out, and away from whatever gnarlyness you just came off of. The Karma seems to carry its speed in landings at a much quicker and consistent rate. If you land flat, it planes across the surface, skipping downstream. If you land with angle, it still resurfaces well, but instead of resurfacing bow first, stern dragging, I have noticed that it resurfaces more level, maintaining speed out and away from the drop.

6. Does the Karma Land Harder, Being a Planing hull?

Perhaps the issue I was most worried about in the Karma, was how hard it would land when boofing. It is a planing hull, meaning that it is flatter than a displacement hull boat, which is more rounded, and generally creates softer landings. It’s kind of hard to tell the difference in how hard a boat lands on small, five to ten foot boofs; you start to notice it a little more when you start boofing 15, 20, 30 and up footers. So…. tested that too. The falls at Rock Island ran a couple of days ago, which is basically a river wide 20ish footer, with tons of different lines. I tried several different lines, boofing pretty much completely flat, with maybe a little micro stomp at the end. Surprisingly, I can’t tell much of a difference in how the Karma lands compared to the Villain. However, the ultimate test came on Ravens Fork several days ago. This was my first run down Ravens Fork, and by the time we got to Big Boy, I was pretty fired up, feeling good in the new boat, and wanted to give it a go. For those who don’t know, Big Boy is a 30-35 foot drop, with a very complicated lip, and a rock in the landing on the right. There is also not much aeration in the landing… kind of green. Anyways, I had a pretty good line, landing where I wanted, however, I did launch out boofing very hard… ending with a little bit of a stomp, but still a pretty flat landing. I definitely felt it in my back for a second…. But it didn’t hurt any worse than I would imagine the Villain would. It was not nearly as big of an impact as you might think. I think the thing that makes up for the flatter hull on the Karma is what I talked about earlier…. It carries its speed out and away, as opposed to landing, reaching maximum speed almost immediately, and kind of staying where you landed. I think that the more momentum away from a drop that you have when boofing, the better. Landing flat, with forward momentum is better than landing flat just falling straight down and stopping. All in all, I’m pretty stoked to know that the Karma doesn’t land very hard. Obviously if you boof something REALLY big, no matter what boat you are in, it’s going to hurt, but so far, the Karma is treating me well!!!!!!

These are my thoughts so far on the Karma…. But you should try one out for yourself and see what you think! Here is a quick video demonstrating the things I talked about above, in order.

So far, the rivers I have run in the Karma are the Green, Ravens Fork, Cain/North Chickamauga Creek, Little River Canyon, 70 + foot Desoto Falls, Great Falls- Rock Island, Tellico, Cooper Creek, and Upper Trancura-Chile. Thanks, see you on the water!


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-Hunt Jennings

Photos By: Ty Caldwell, and Eliot Berz