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NOC’s Guest Appreciation Festival has been a staple event for me for many years! I met EJ back in 2004 at GAF and that is when I picked up my first Jackson Kayak, the classic Super Fun! The classic Super Fun was the most comfortable boat I had ever sat in at the time and it was a great river running play boat for my XL size! I used it for over two years as my primary kayak and I loved it! As the years went on and JK kept coming out with other great boats I wanted to try out, I got away from the Fun series in my personal kayak quiver.

I tried out the 2nd generation (2007-2009) Super Fun and it was a bit big even for me. I could fit in the 2nd generation 4 Fun, but I was at the top of the weight range and it did not perform well for me. The 3rd generation (2010-2014) 4 Fun was a bit better, but I felt it was too aggressive to be a true river running playboat. I just assumed to use my MonStar for river running at that point.

So when the announcement came out this summer from JK that a new 2015 Fun and 4 Fun was coming out I have to admit that I was not real excited for the new design. The Fun had kind of lost my love with the last two models and I just thought that I did not need that type boat anymore in my kayak quiver. Boy, was I WRONG!

Once I got a look at the photos of the new boat I noticed that it really looked similar in shape to the classic Fun series. This new fact sparked my interest in the new 2015 design. The weekend before GAF at Gauley Fest my good friends, Tommy Clapp & Colin Kemp, got to try out the new 2015 Fun and 4 Fun on a river trip ( ). They both kept raving about how much fun they were having with the new boat on our river trip and they both wanted one ASAP! This really got me curious and interested in the new design since my friends were now so stoked!

In the week between Gauley Fest and GAF I made arrangements with Stephen Wright to demo the 4 Fun while at GAF. Saturday morning of GAF I helped work the JK booth in front of the NOC Store with Stephen and Clay. I got to set in the new 2015 4 Fun and get it setup for my run that I was going to take that afternoon. I was amazed at how comfortable the boat was! I could set in the boat with the seat in the center position with shoes on at my 36” inseam! I ended up placing the seat one hole back from center toward the stern just for a little more wiggle room. The width of the boat really felt good to and I just moved the hip pads a little for optimal placement for my wider frame (no hips shims needed for me).

So I grabbed the new 4 Fun a little before noon and met up with my wife and a few friends to go fire up the Upper Nantahala and marathon on down through the Gorge back to the NOC. When I got to the put-in I jumped into the boat, tighten the Sure-Lock Back Band, pumped up the Happy Feet and pushed off into the current to work some of the eddies and currents under the bridge at the put-in to get a feel for the boat. I was instantly amazed at how easy it was to do basic river moves in the new 4 Fun. I was making ferries, peeling out and catching eddies with the greatest of ease!

Our group turned down river and that’s when the real fun started! The continuous nature of the Upper Nanty was no problem for the 4 Fun. I was zipping back and forth in rapids to hit different lines, hitting some fun boofs and even managed a boat tethered rescue for a swimmer. I also had two really fun mystery moves through a couple of the bigger holes while running down the Upper. The highlight for the Upper run was the really fun ramp boof half way down the run. The 4 Fun is so light that you can absolutely stomp down a huge stern landing boof there. It was so much fun that Tod and I had to walk back up for seconds! Hopefully a video from Jerry Steveson is coming soon of that boof, because he got out to film us and he said all you could see was the bottom of my boat after take-off!

The 4 Fun was really easy to control and maneuver. The stability was quite impressive considering the shorter size of the boat. It was super easy to catch features on the fly for a dynamic ferry or surf. The boat has a good balance of looseness for spinning in surfs and tracking for running rapids. I found that eddy lines are really fun again in this boat with eddy stalls and enders. Since the boat has the JK logo on it you know it rolls with ease and stays dry with a good skirt with out saying… The 4 Fun was truly a ton of FUN and comfortable all the way down the Upper and the Gorge!

I will certainly be adding the new 2015 4 Fun back into my personal kayak quiver after this demo!