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First Impressions

“you will never get a second chance to make a first impression”
will rogers

I know you should never put too much credence in first impressions, especially of a boat but from experience I can pretty much tell within a few minutes whether a boat and I are going to have a long term relationship. I am very happy that the 2015 FUN from Jackson Kayak not only lives up to it’s name in a big way, but I am back to wanting to boat all the time again—in this boat.

Once you get the seat in the right position (and this literally takes 1 minute while still sitting in the boat), you feel like you can do anything on the river. It is fast, spins quickly when you want it to, surfs like a dream, holds a line through weird stuff, powers through waves, surfaces straight out of holes, zips in and out of eddies, and BIG props here—PLAYS some pretty rowdy features amazingly well. It really is a boat reminiscent of the past but focussed on the future and is also a great boat to get your mojo back if you have not been paddling for a few years or have just been paddling less for whatever reason.

You’ll like this boat if:

You are feeling that the last few boats you purchased have left you behind in terms of what you know you can do on the river. Was the last time you felt really comfortable in your boat on the river a while ago, are you frustrated with your learning curve? You’ll love this boat!

You have lost that spark that makes you want to boat all the time, no matter what the weather, the level, the season. Are you finding more and more excuses to do other things besides boat? You’ll love this boat!

Your roll turns up missing for no real reason and you can’t figure it out. Did you once have a perfect roll, didn’t even have to think about it? You’ll love this boat!

You want a travel boat, are only buying one boat, or want a boat that does everything surprisingly well with very little compromise that you won’t outgrow in a couple months. Is your garage filled with boats you never use? You’ll love this boat!


Team Member Bennett Smith showing us how he likes the Fun!

I am also happy to say that well after the above first impression the FUN continues to be a really enjoyable boat to paddle. It slows things down just enough while playing to allow a mortal paddler to keep up and pull off some pretty cool stuff. I also like the feel of a slightly longer boat being a bit easier to initiate on eddylines, cartwheels are possible in more places, and you don’t have to be so precise for other moves. It is more forgiving when you blow it and you don’t get thunked if you are off a bit on your edge. At my weight, 140, if is definitely not as easy for me to stern squirt or for flat water moves, but even in my play boats I am somewhat challenged with these things so YMMV according to your ability here. Mike at 165 has no problem so it’s definitely an individual thing.

I can’t say enough good things about this boat. It handled big water on the Grand incredibly well and makes low water on my home river really fun again. It is hard for me to directly compare it to any boat I have paddled before but if I had to I would classify it as an advanced blend between the 2010 Star series and the 2007 Fun series. For me those boats represent some stand out bests for JK and the 2015 FUN blends what made those boats great into a modern unique design that defines river running play. Don’t discount trying this boat if you are an advanced paddler or a focussed playboater—I think you will be pleasantly surprised like I was at how well it works on the river in a variety of conditions.