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2015+ Jackson 4fun - A not very fun boat that is basically your mean spirited ex-girlfriend

Doesn't the fun look like a great boat in that picture? Nice and vertical, long controllable ends, the bow is down and balanced. It looks pretty sick right?

Myself and a good friend that I consider largely my playboating equal, Tim Layzell, thought maybe so a few years back. Tim got the boat first and paddled it. He eventually wanted to offload it so I picked it up, and sold it not too long after. It just really didn't stand out to either of us and we both moved onwards.

At the time neither of us were all that good. We could only squirt playboats, couldn't cartwheel... we had a ways to go. Fast forward a few years and we get vertical in many boats now, wave wheel, cartwheel, switch wheel, splat wheel... we're not half bad these days. All of this said, my generaly dislike for the 4fun stuck with me, but I knew I owed it another attempt to review. So when a friend joined us on the river who had long been unable to squirt the 4 fun any meaningful amount, I offered to let him try the boat I was in (A squished Tail Antix, which is the easiest squirting boat ever) and I'd have my chance at paddling the 4fun again.

I'll save you reading the rest of the review if you want an easy out: This boat is poorly balanced and just missed it's mark. At no point did I think this boat was all that fun in the face of many boats older and newer than it. I often struggled in the boat. It sucks.

My first impressions paddling this as a more experienced boater were trying to squirt the eddyline after we switched boats. This boat is a bitch to squirt. Not just tough, not just hard... it's mean spirited and sucks. It's far tougher than a large Antix tough, tougher than any other fun either. Squirting was just rough and required a lot of muscle and often the tail just hit the water and STOPPED. Then, instead of having a fun nice bouncy squirt, even at a low angle, you'd just flip right over that edge nice and slow thinking to yourself "Well that wasn't fun".

The lack of fun I had in this boat only grew. There were a bunch of fun rowdy features on the way down that I could barely get on and stay on that I knew my Antix could handle. There were a bunch of eddys I like to pull into, pivot and exit... where I just flipped into because this tail is as slicey as a 4x4 post.

Out of frustration I decided to try something counter intuitive. I'd go for a wave wheel. I setup nice and easy on my way up the face of a friendly wave, put the bow down and... went right through the water like butter! It felt sexy and oh so fun!... but then just like the bitch of a boat the 4fun is I went to hit the next end, was promptly rejected by the tail and slapped down. Like a girlfriend telling you that you look good and then immediately saying something harsh like "...for a short fat guy who smells funny and a balding problem" (please note, not an actual statement about myself from an EX, haha).

I proceeded to play with the bow end of the boat since the tail was a total loss. Our group hit a fun little eddy to work on getting everyone squirting, since a ton of people were in various slicey boats but had no clue how to get vertical at all. Since the tail was a lost cause, I decided to just keep on going for bow stalls and other moves. I was able to put them down time and time again, and promptly smacked down when I went to get on the tail.

How the hell could this be? A boat that goes down easy on the bow but sucks on the tail?!? Never have Tim and I ever run into this in our countless dozens of playboats, classic and new. Welp, looking at the specs on the 4fun, I'd say they botched the upscaling of this boat. The boat is 4 inches longer, and 1 inch wider. There's 8 gallons extra in all that somehow, and I'd have to say that they accidentally disproprotinately put all of that into the tail of this boat.

So in summary: This boat is a mean spirited girlfriend. It will occasionally be fun, but then smack you down for no reason. It's a downriver playboat that sucks at most of the aspects of downriver play. It doesn't want to do what it takes, and just like that mean spirited girlfriend you'll tire of always fighting the damn thing to get it to do anything. Literally in my case as my shoulders are sore from the amount of muscle it took to overcome the poor tail design.

Could this boat be turned around in a next generation? Yeah, sure. If they played around with the volume a bit making the the tail actually slice, they'd do okay. That said, I doubt they will. Having paddled with many a boater who is in the fun (regular size of this boat) that can squirt with a more reasonable amount of effort, I think Jackson just botched up the big boy boat again, and screw it big boaters will deal because what other choice do they have?

Ideal people for this boat:

  • Paddlers mainly in large boats looking for something more challenging on friendly water, but have little desire to do more than surf.
  • People who like surfing, hate squirting but like getting the bow down for some reason. You don't exist more than likely but whatever!
  • Masochists who enjoy getting beat down trying to switch ends. Nothing says fun like getting rejected onto your face.
  • People who want to build huge shoulders up or dislocate them trying.
  • Terrorists or Canadians, or Canadian Terrorists.
    • Please note that Tim, a Canadian, does not like this boat. I was unable to find a terrorist for commentary.