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I remember being jealous of my good friend’s Jackson Kayak MixMaster before getting my own. At the time, I owned a Wave Sport Ace and I had told everyone that it was the one kayak I’d never part with. …then I saw a MixMaster (uh oh!). I saw how effortlessly my friend would get it vertical during a stern squirt on EVERY eddyline she could find. What is a stern squirt? A stern squirt (for those unfamiliar) is a trick initiated by a kayaker dropping their upstream edge as they cross an eddyline, while simultaneously taking a backstroke on the downstream side which all causes the stern to dive underwater and the bow to rise above the water to become perpendicular with the water.

I saw others in their MixMasters getting vertical with ease and my jealousy rose. I wasn’t someone who could nail a stern squirt with every attempt, and it felt like everyone in a MixMaster got vertical each time they found an eddy line. What was so special about this kayak? I just had to know. I hopped in someone else’s MixMaster 7.5 (larger size) and realized it was a comfy fit, which shocked me as I never considered a full slice whitewater kayak (low volume on both bow and stern) to be comfortable. Not only was it comfortable but I felt safe too. Often I didn’t want to take a full slice kayak to rocky creeks because I was worried about hurting my feet during a piton or my legs falling asleep and getting hung up in the outfitting. I didn’t experience any of these things in the MixMaster. I just had to buy one because I wanted to paddle it on all those rivers I wanted to spice up a bit.

My first MixMaster paddle was on the Powerhouse section of the Snoqualmie River in Washington state, a popular after-work class 2 paddling spot for greater Seattle area paddlers. The Powerhouse (as we like to call it) offers a beautiful waterfall view if you’re willing to do a little bit of hiking up the riverside, a couple great surf spots, and few wonderful eddylines to practice stern squirts. It only took a few moments before I had it vertical and a big grin on my face from ear to ear. It was just so easy to throw the MixMaster into my car (instead of on a roof rack) and go paddling after work with my friends.

My second MixMaster paddle was a completely different experience from my first (in a good way). I decided to take it creeking on the Lower Foss River (class 3) and Rapid River (class 3-4) in the Skykomish River drainage. I would NEVER have felt comfortable taking my Ace to these places because it was rocky and involved plenty of smacking rocks with my bow and under my seat. I felt immediately comfortable and confident in my MixMaster. Within a few minutes, I was leading my group through rapids and having a blast!

Since those first paddles in the MixMaster, my favorite place to take the MixMaster is on a low water day on the Skykomish River’s Boulder Drop section from Cable Drop put-in to Split Rock take-out. This section of class 3-4 whitewater is a playground for the MixMaster. Surfing, stern squirts, splats, technical routes through rapids. You name it, the Skykomish provides. I particularly find the Split Rock take-out around 2000 CFS to offer amazing eddylines for stern squirts and rock splats to start of finish a day of paddling (depending on which section you’re paddling). Boulder Drop rapid (class 4) offers one of many great boofs on the section through Ned’s Needle, which is perfect for airing out the MixMaster. Landing a boof flat in a MixMaster in fluffy water is wonderful!

I’m so thankful for seeing a reintroduction of the MixMaster into the Jackson Kayak line up. Be sure to grab one from your local paddling shop before they’re gone! Warm(er) weather and water is on its way…