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I finally got in the production Karma UL on Cheoah this weekend. I thought I’d give you guys my first impressions. It should be noted that I don’t paddle long boats very much so it took a bit of getting used to… like one lap. I’ll be in one way more often now!

In true Jackson Kayak fashion, it was super easy to outfit. I quickly shimmed out the hips and slid the seat back. I like the extra leverage so I added a 100 bean sweet cheeks over the seat to lift me up a bit. All that outfitting took all of 2 seconds at the put-in. I felt solid, comfortable and it became clear that the missing comfort longboats are known for was gone. This thing felt like a cadillac… no comfort was sacrificed & it fit perfect.

It didn’t take long to feel at home and it left me thirsty for my own. I immediately noticed the incredible stability. You can lean it almost all the way over and it just carves and flattens back out with ease. I also noticed that it is FAST. I took it deep in the right seam on Yard Sale and I was amazed at how fast it resurfaced and how well it stayed on line and in control. I got HUGE boofs, great springs/edge transitions, lots of speed, easy rock spins and up-&-overs, and it still fit into the tiniest of eddies. I can’t wait until mine is ready!

The highlight for me was the left-to-middle to half-way eddy move with room to spare… even on Sunday’s low flow. Even after charging through this unconventional line on Bear Creek Rapid, the Karma UL whipped right into the micro eddy above the bottom drop.

So if you get a chance to try it out… hop in and put it through it paces. Remember that moving the seat back may help liven it up and it doesn’t hurt to pad it out a bit. It was very responsive, solid, and FAST… felt good! I can’t wait to get my own!

Photos by Samantha Ruppelt and GoPro with the Levitator Mount.