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It seems like almost every time I jump in the Rockstar 5.0 I get asked “How is it different from the 4.0?” After kayaking the small a number of times throughout the summer, I believe I have a pretty good understanding of the differences. Personally speaking, this boat is much easier for me to stall the stern and get it vertical. One of my favorite aspects of the third generation was how easy it was to get vertical and balance it. I will admit, that I struggled with this in the 4.0.

This isn’t true for the 5.0. While I believe it was easier for me to stern squirt and balance the third generation, this is pretty close to that ease. I have no issues in flatwater bow stalling this; it gets just as big of air as the 4.0.

Small Paddler Review of the Jackson Rockstar 5.0

Photo credits : Rob Giersch

Where I believe this boat shines is its surfing abilities. On the Gauley River in WV, I was spinning myself dizzy. The hull is loose and insanely fast on a wave. I would say I am better at hole tricks than I am at wave tricks but this boat inspires me to work more on wave moves mainly because of how fun it is to surf and spin.

To sum up the differences for me between the 4.0 and the 5.0

  • Looser hull
  • Spins easier on a wave
  • Super easy to carve on a wave
  • Goes just as big as the 4.0
  • Easier to stern stall
  • Easier to get vertical and balance

*For reference, I am approximately 110-115 lbs with short legs and a longer torso. I think I have paddled every generation of Jackson Kayak playboat*