2014 Jackson Superhero

I've now paddled the Jackson Superhero enough to be past the point of buyers bias, and I can post a hopefully fair review. I started white water kayaking and for my first season I was in a Dagger Kayana 10.4. I did the AMC white water school, and had done about 12 trips on white water since to write this review. That's part of the advantage of living spitting distance from a bunch of rivers here in New Hampshire at the time. I've taken the boat on everything from liesurely class I/II runs,  to class III+ dam release runs.

Overall: This is the boat I wish I'd just bought right from the getgo. I can't imagine a better beginners boat and it will and has put a smile on some great paddlers I've let take it down some class IV rapids. I'm glad I have it, and I doubt I will ever get rid of it. If I am not using it, it will surely be my buddy boat as I've never experienced something so user friendly. I can't recommend this boat enough!

The Pros:

  • Giant primary stability. Incredibly confidence inspring.
  • "Posoiden himself personally keeps me from flipping" levels of secondary stability save your bacon time and time again.
  • An easy and forgiving boat. The edges aren't hooky but still do their thing, it handles rough and funky water with confidence, and it's built like a tank.
  • Outfitting is quick to adjust making switching people out or changing things up a breeze.
  • The most comfortable back band I've ever experience out of 14 different kayaks I've been in, even rec and touring kayaks.
  • The purpose built hero float boat bag is awesome for fit and function. Leaves a bit of space for a small drybag with emergency supplies.
  • More than beginner friendly enough to roll. I nailed my first haphazard rolls in this boat. More experience users who tried it commented that they just get part way over and it just throws them the remainder of the way over. I later tried it again in a pool as I became a more experienced paddler, and was pretty happy with it!

The Cons:

  • Pretty damn slow. Not playboat slow though by any means. With my seat in the middle if I get forward and it is notably faster. Move the seat itself forward though and then the boat becomes prone to spining unintentionally. Still, it has to get it's stability from somewhere.
  • Story from others: this is often described as "hole bait". The relatively low speed of the boat combined with short length and high volume mean that this boat gets stuck in holes where others push through. To what degree I do not personally know... but I could see this as a side affect of this boat.