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Submitted by Samantha Brunner

I think one of the most intimidating transitions I’ve made in kayaking was when I changed from the Star to the Rock Star when it was first introduced on the market. With the exception of the Bliss Stick Rad I had never paddled such a short boat at that time. I even lovingly called it my “ruby slipper” as my first RS was red/ orange- and of course crazy small. I first paddled it at Rock Island and I was as nervous that I wouldn’t be able to stay upright as I was excited to get in it and check it out. The result, as most of you have experienced for yourselves, was pure fun as well as so much speed!

Fast forward to over a decade later and I still feel like that 20-something old girl every time I get into a new version of the Rock Star. ‘21 – ‘22 was a little off for me in terms of kayaking. I spent most of 2021 paddling every weekend until November when I got some news I may have to have the dreaded ear surgery. 3 doctor opinions and 8 months later I am finally cleared to get back into my boat. Naturally, for those that know me, I don’t start small- I found myself recently at the Salida hole with my brand new RSV, my excitement, and my intimidation.

I am definitely the paddler that falls into the category of “weekend warrior.” I hold a day job and a side hustle but I still make time for kayaking. Usually that happens on the weekends and I always fit it into every vacation or trip I take. Kayaking is a part of who I am, it’s as simple as that. And though I have been paddling for quite some time, I am by no means a “pro” – especially when it comes to playboating.

I can loop, blunt, link ends.. none with complete consistency. I am always willing to learn and try something new, and my window shade is sometimes my most consistent move. I tell you all of this in case you are also the average weekend warrior that wants to try this boat out but doesn’t know what to expect.

A Weekend Warrior Review to the Rock Star V

I’m sure you’ve been following a lot of the news and reviews of this boat as I have, so I’m sure I don’t need to give you a run down of the technical differences of the RS V vs the RS IV, so let’s just dive in.

First of all is the size- as I said it’s always intimidating to me. I’m 5’7 and weigh about 140. At this weight I am always torn between the S and M. The Small fits just perfectly with both pieces of extra foot foam at the bulkhead.

As usual with my other JK boats, the adjustments are pretty self explanatory and very user friendly. I didn’t have to watch a tutorial to figure out how to adjust the bees knees (though I have.) And I love it. I have something called Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, where basically my entire right hip complex fatigues very easily and doesn’t respond after some time in my playboat making it more difficult to achieve loops or direct the boat in general. The bees knees help with that. Being able to keep that extra pressure and control with my knees helps me take some pressure off of my hip and redirect it back into my core for better performance. This is something I hear a lot about from other women- and men- not being able to get as good control in older RS models (and it’s a different model year for everyone.) These solve the problem and I love them so much.

Responsive- I’m always amazed at how much more responsive each model gets. I found myself holding too much edge in my side surfs and spins at times, it just glides so well on the water that I don’t have to work as hard leaving room for concentration on setting up for my next move.

Directional changes are a breeze- For many that don’t have great turning control at the corners of holes and waves, I felt it was so much easier to redirect back to the center of the hole making my ride longer than it normally would be.

I could go on and on about how much more fun the RSV is that I could have imagined. It has more than lived up to the hype. I’m a river runner and creeker at heart, but boy is playboating about to take up the majority of my time 🙂