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The first time I sat in the V, I went, “Okay, okay… I like what we’re working with here.” The good news? The more I paddle this boat, the more I like it.

I’m a slower learner, and in the past, I’ve felt like I really struggled to adapt to each new boat. There has always been a period of time where I felt like I could see the potential in the boat, but couldn’t unlock it without relearning a few key skills. This time, it felt like all my cumulative experience in past JK boats finally paid off. I’m still unlocking the potential, for the first time, I got in the V and it felt intuitive. I could pull on things I’d learned in the star, the 2014/2016 Rockstar, and the 4.0. I know everyone told me this boat was #awesome, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. I honestly think the V will set paddlers of every level up for progression and let them enjoy freestyle- no matter how chill or advanced.

Rockstar V First Impressions

It’s stable and forgiving on a wave, and I found it easy to carve and set up whether on little green warm-up waves or on mildly chaotic waves like Super Nova and Good Wave.

Figuring out where and how to edge took a little practice, but once I started to figure it out, this boat takes off and responds like a dream. Blunts and back blunts feel better and easier for me than in the 4.0- especially back blunts. The boat picks up and pops off the wave, rather than feeling like the 2016, which to me felt like it was “flicking” over my hip. Tricks like helixes and felixes go GREAT and spins are easy and forgiving. I’ve even played with the old face screw- the not quite aerial air screw with moderate success.

Rockstar V First Impressions

The bow feels more stable and forgiving when plugging for loops, and I even pulled off a surprise back loop. Cartwheels are undeniably easier to bring around the stern end for me, on flat and in the feature. Macho moves, bow stalls, all felt as easy as the 2016 Rockstar but with more pop.

I have mostly been paddling a carbon, cut down 4.0, and so far, after 5 weeks in Columbus, the only thing I still liked my 4.0 better for was initiating McNastys and moving around/setting up in a stickier hole. For example, in Monkey Wrench, I found it easier (read: less effort) to move around and get where I wanted to be to set up my tricks. But, I have started to figure out the timing on the McNasty edge.

Granted, I’ve got a lot of work to do this week ahead of me in Oklahoma, but I’m stoked to spend another week sessioning and dialing in the V.**

**Update, after a week at OKC, I like the V even more! It’s much more stable plugging for loops and spaces, friendly and forgiving, and almost everyone looks good in it (even if not as good as me, because, pink).

Rockstar V First Impressions

Hands down, highly recommend giving this boat a try so you can figure out what you love about it for yourself.

Disclaimer: I’m on the smaller size, 5,4, and 110-115 lb. The small fits me great. I have the standard footblock and sometimes a single foot shim. I have a 100 seat pad + a thin foam seat pad, my seat is all the way forward, and I have two and half hip shims in each hip pad. Putting more foam in my hip pads made cartwheels and splitwheels significantly easier, too.

I like to sit a little looser, and I find the boat fits me comfortably- even with a pair of Astral Brewess shoes. The Bees Knees help me feel much more secure and locked in; I haven’t had nearly as much of the feeling like I’m looping out of my boat on loops or McNastys.