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Ever been stuck deciding between a bigger freestyle kayak or a smaller one?

Well here is my advice. I am currently 115lbs (about 52 kg) and I paddle both the XS and Small Rockstar. For me, there are definitely pros and cons to both.

Smaller Boat


I love my XS because moving it around is almost effortless. I can easily control my edges and make quick corrections. My XS also gives me a big advantage in shallow features because the bow is shorter, and when plugging, it will clear rocks that a small may not.


But being at the top end of the XS’s weight range, makes it hard for me to get air. I manage to get pretty good air by focusing on my form but I definitely have to work hard for it and be very conscious of my technique.

(My XS Rockstar)

Bigger Boat


My small on the other hand, which I’m underweight for, shoots me into the air like a rocket! I get massive air on tricks and in a deep hole, this gives me an advantage.


The hard part about paddling a bigger boat is the control. It takes a lot more muscle to move a larger boat. Correction strokes must be more assertive and the boat may not move as fast or do exactly what you want it to do.

(My Small Rockstar)

But if you are strong enough to control your edges and point your boat where it needs to go, the bigger boat is most likely your best option.

After reading my take on my preferred size of freestyle kayak, it is important to remember that everyone is different and this may not fit your paddling style. Try a variety of boats and find the one right for you.

And luckily, if even after knowing this information, you still feel stuck between 2 boats you can just get one of the new Jackson Kayak Rockstar 4.0’s which are basically right in the middle. Need something between a small and medium? The small 4.0 will give you the extra volume you’ll need to get MASSIVE air without losing that control you loved about your smaller boat!

– Katie Fankhouser