Boats I own, have owned or have paddled:LL Remix 79, Prijon Tornado, Dagger Freefall LT (2), Perception Stikine, New Wave Sleek, LL Jefe Grande, WS Habitat 80, Pyranha Everest, Dagger GT 8.0, Perception Lucid, WS EZG 60, Dagger Axiom 8.5, WS Diesel 80, Jackson Allstar, Prijon Pure (M)
I was excited to paddle this boat, as I am a huge fan of the Remix and it looks very similar to the Remix (with more edge, of course). I was extremely anxious to get in the boat and see what it could do!
My River Background:I paddle Sec. IV almost every weekend, frequent the Green, most stuff like that
Testing grounds: The Pigeon in TN
Starting off, I needed shims for the hip pads...and I didn't have any to use...so I made due without them. Hopping in the boat was so easy. I love the way the bulkhead and backband works just for user ease (although I'm sill a little weary about the rope system). Initial thought on the seat was that it wasn't as comfy as LL, but much better than WS and Dagger seats. No happy seat needed. The lower knees were great to accommodate my long legs!
Footroom left a little something to be desired. 13's are big and that boat did not have too much room in the front but it was not something I didn't deal with. I could still wear shoes and my feet weren't crunched up.
On the water, in the staging eddy, I noticed right away that this boat was really a Jackson: it was going to be extremely hard to flip on accident. It spun nicely and the edge to edge transition was smooth (in flat water). The initial speed was fantastic.
The first thing about the Pigeon is a semi-long ferry to another eddy. This boat held the ferry angle perfectly and I didn't have to paddle any more than I would with a boat as short as the Zen.
Upon getting into that eddy, I had to see how it rolled. My opinion: not as easy to roll as a Remix, Mamba, Nomad, etc. but not as hard to roll as some playboats. That outside edge really sticks to the water, so your hip snap has to be pretty strong. Wasn't extremely hard to roll, but definitely not the easiest boat I've rolled. Seemed like the Allstar was even more easy to roll than the Zen.
Anywho, downriver the boat sped up extremely well. It held a line just like any other edgy boat would and eddy turns were smooth. This boat handles and acts more like a Dagger GT than a Remix (which would be a MUCH better comparison).
Side-surfing was very smooth and this boat really does make you smile. It sticks to a wave extremely well and carves like a champ.
It boofs waves really well, but here's my only gripe: boofing rocks is not this boat's strong suit. Its easy to get in the air and its easy to flatten out, but the edges catch the rock as you rotate to your opposite side....not the best thing when boofing.
My overall opinion: this boat is great for beginners and people who run big water. I wouldn't creek in this boat just because it likes to stick to rocks. The plastic is bomber and the seating and ergonomics are impeccable. If you're truly looking for an all-day river runner that will keep you comfy while not being able to stern squirt or do anything other than surf, this is your boat (although, it enders VERY nicely). Yes, you can creek in it. But this is a river runner to the core. Its a good boat, just not for me. I had a wonderful experience with the boat and would like to thank Jackson for a great design (if used for what its intended for).