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In my 20 years of paddling whitewater, this is the first time I have ever been compelled to write down my thoughts about a new boat. The Karma is everything a creek boat should be! I am 5’7’’ and 175 pounds and paddling the Medium. So far, I have paddled the Karma on the Tallulah River, Cain and North Chickamauga Creek, the Bear, Suck Creek, Tellico, Richland Creek, the Rock Island waterfalls, and the Ocoee.

The characteristics of a great creek boat are the following:

*Stable and predictable

*Fast drifting and accelerating

*Easy to turn or change direction

*Easy to boof, slide, and grind on, off, and over rocks

*Stable when punching diagonals, holes, or resurfacing at the bottom of a waterfall (without getting backendered or surfed)

*Stays on top of the water when needed

*Holds the line and angle you want when running slides and approaching the lip

*Carries momentum into the next move

*Has the right balance of primary and secondary stability for carving and turning/ spinning while flat, floats through boils, swirly water, funny water, etc.

*Easy to catch and peel out of eddies, make difficult ferries, and allows you to paddle confidently into any type of rapid, drop, waterfall, slide, etc.

First and foremost a great creek boat should leave you with the confidence that your skills and desire will not be impeded by the size or design of your kayak.

Since paddling the Karma on a variety of creeks and rivers, I have found nothing that I would want to change about the design. The hull is fast, easy to carve or spin while flat, and planes out at the bottom of a slide or boof better than any creek boat I have paddled. It is stable and predictable in shallow and rocky water, going down a slide, and boofing and grinding on rocks. The rocker allows for easy boofs and keeps the kayak gliding downstream and on top of the water. I really appreciate the way the Karma responds when I take fast and strong strokes. The Karma does not plow the water, and the bow does not want to drift to one side or the other. I have paddled the Karma on semi big water (Not Idaho yet) and thought it was easy to control in boils and funny water, and while punching through or over holes. It also stays on top of the water and sheds water while holding a line with speed. I know most people do not purchase a creek boat based on how it surfs, but it is easy to front surf, maintain control and exit a side surf quickly in the Karma.

Just like the other Jackson creek boats, the outfitting is comfortable, simple, and safe. I believe the back band and bulkhead system are the best on the market, and it is easy to get gear in and out of the stern. I almost always have a breakdown paddle, and often do overnight trips that require dry bags and lots of gear (such as in Idaho and California Sierra runs). The seat and back band allow for easy access, and the bulkhead plates can be removed quickly if you need more room to store gear in the bow. I am glad that I do not have to worry about carrying a screw driver to constantly tighten bolts, and I do not have to duct tape over multiple bolts to keep the kayak dry!

My final thoughts are that the Karma is an excellent design for kayakers who are pushing the limits of what is possible, running laps on their favorite creeks and rivers, wanting to race, explore, instruct, or even for learning to creek boat or run rivers. It is my favorite creek boat in many years for what I am doing now, and what I would like to achieve in the future.