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Keep it simple – it is a virtue when selecting any kayak. Reducing clutter on deck improves lines of sight. Diminishing gear decreases weight and improves paddling efficiency. Eliminating moving parts prevents things from breaking down.

Simplicity keeps you focused on your paddle stroke. It allows you to enjoy the view, in comfort. While the trend in kayaks is toward complexity and increased size of late, it’s important to remember that sometimes simpler is better. If you are looking for a comfortable paddling kayak that returns you to the basics, the Jackson Cruise 10 is the kayak for you.

I’m a tournament angler, and my business boat is a Bite FD. Fully loaded with electronics, pedal drive, tackle box, rods, net, measuring board, paddle, food and water, it weighs around 160 lbs. That is nearly the weight of the average American male. When I am pedaling or paddling it, I am basically moving two people around. And the Bite FD is on the smaller, lighter side of fishing platforms.

But I also like to float down rivers and creeks. I like to paddle smaller water where other larger kayaks can’t go, places away from busy launches and off the beaten trails, where the less you carry with you, the better off you are. I like to paddle for the sake of paddling and float a river with friends. I may bring a fishing rod with me sometimes, and a small net and a snack and water, but I leave the heavy stuff at home. In short, I like to keep it simple sometimes, and that’s why I paddle a Jackson Cruise.

The Jackson Cruise has many virtues. In the interest of keeping it simple, here are my favorites. I’ve borrowed five categories that the Italian writer Italo Calvino used to describe the virtues of great books in his classic Six Memos for the Next Millennium:

1. Lightness. At 59 pounds, the Cruise 10 is an easy boat to handle. It quickly lifts atop a vehicle and is easy to pull on a cart, even uphill. This virtue also allows it to maneuver well on the water. In current, it turns quickly, and is great for navigating a small riffle or chute on an easy river paddle. Portable and maneuverable, its hull design reminds me of a smaller, lighter Jackson Coosa.

2. Quickness. I choose my paddles with care, and when I found the right one for my body type (250 mm, carbon fiber), the Jackson Cruise sprang to life. With a good stroke, the Jackson Cruise covers water with speed. Here, the kayak’s Hi-Lo Ergo seat plays a role, too. Move it to the high position, and your paddle stroke is more vertical, improving leverage for long strokes that cover distance. This is the best seat position for calm, flat water. Move the seat to the low position and the horizontal stroke is ideal for turns. This is best for moving water. In both cases, the Cruise has a track that is true, and keeping the boat straight while padding helps you cover more water.

3. Exactitude. The Jackson Cruise 10 is designed for paddling. That is its main goal, and it accomplishes it to perfection. The bow cuts water smoothly, the pontoon style hull provides stability and the deck is clear of clutter that interferes with sight lines. The in-hull storage has a low profile and is easy to access, and the seat’s Hi-Lo positions, with adjustable foot pegs, are made to be compatible with varied body sizes. It’s a recreational kayak, designed to do exactly all that the word “recreation” entails.

4. Visibility. I’ve mentioned that clear sight lines are a virtue of the Jackson Cruise. This is partly due to the simple deck design, which has a low profile and offers plenty of space. But it is also due to the comfortable Hi-Lo Ergo seat. Fixed in the low position, the seat remains raised several inches from the deck, providing air flow on hot days and offering good sight lines. Fixed in the high position, you can bend your legs more without interfering with the view, and also enjoy the comforts of back support and air flow it provides.

5. Multiplicity. Let’s not confused this with complexity. Complexity implies lots of moving parts. The Cruise has a fixed skeg, so you don’t need a rudder (I suppose you could remove the back handle to attach one, but that’s like adding a tailfin to the under carriage of a 1960 Cadillac Deville. However, the Jackson Cruise can be customized for multiple purposes.

For example, if you want a great paddling kayak, but also want to fish, it is easy to install gear trac on the Cruise. I installed some to the gunwales for a paddle holder and a short track near the bow that can hold a rod holder. A Molle 1.0 Seat pouch holds some light tackle. For longer trips, a small crate clipped to the bungee cords in the tankwell holds a small landing net and a tackle bag. The front storage hatch can hold more gear, and the small day hatch can hold an extra drink for a long day.

Paddling to a camping site or on a photo/video shoot? Then replace the tackle in the front hatch with camping gear in a dry bag, the rod holder with a camera mount, and hang a Platypus hydration system on the back of the seat where the Molle pouch might be. And if additional comfort on very long paddles is a requirement, add the Sweet Cheeks 100 padding to the seat. In sum, the Jackson Cruise easily customizes for fishing and camping gear, serving multiple purposes.

Italo Calvino passed away before completing the sixth memo of his book. I have added one here. I call it simplicity. It is a virtue with a high aesthetic reward. You can share the Jackson Cruise 10 with family members, even the younger ones, and both novice paddlers and experts will enjoy it. But that is your way of finishing the story, and adding your chapter to the book of your adventures in a Jackson Cruise 10. And that, after all, is the point of it all.

About the author: Henry “Hank” Veggian is a member of the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team. He started kayak fishing from a Jackson Coosa in 2011. He currently fishes out of a Bite FD.
Closest Dealer: Great Outdoor Provision Company (Raleigh, N.C.)
Follow Hank:
Twitter: @miacalva
Instagram: @HankVeggian