Ok, I’ve made it to class III+ waters in my XP10 and love it. I just bought an older Jackson Superfun and hope to transfer to it slowly. I’ve used it in the pool and still have to make some outfitting adjustments. What can I expect when this gets in moving water? I’m afraid the stability of my XP will have made me a ‘sloppy’ paddler and I will have to relearn basic skills or get trashed! It definitely is not as stable as what I am used to. Do I need to over emphasize my edging on this boat? What about a small ledge…my XP blows through that kind of stuff no problem. What can I expect when I hit my first hole. I know…lean forward and keep paddling. I even noticed in the pool the aggressive stance keeps things more stable in the Superfun. We are going out Sat to our easy local run. Water is low and it would be a good time to try on this 2-3 mile section…but I don’t want to make my friends chase after me all day if I can’t stay upright! Thanks in advance!
Did I notice the word
“roll” in your post? If you did OK in the xp10, you should do OK in the Superfun on a familiar stretch of river. Jackson boats are reputed to be relatively non-treacherous and easy to roll.
No roll yet
I haven’t spent alot of time on rolling and have not successfully rolled the XP. I will probably give that a go on the Superfun and see if I have an easier time with it. I don’t quite ‘get’ the whole motion and timing. So, no, I’m not specifically asking about rolling it…I just mean the whole getting around…ferries, peel outs, eddy turns, surfing, etc. I get around fine in the XP and I’m afraid I will need much remedial work to get comfy on the Superfun!
Jackson Fun series
The Jackson Fun series have been some of the most popular river runner/playboats for some years now and most folks who own them find them pretty user-friendly and easy to roll.
I have only paddled a Jackson Fun on a lake and rolled it a few times.
Although the Super Fun is the longest and largest volume of the Fun series, it is still going to be significantly shorter and lower in volume than a Liquid Logic XP-10.
You might find it takes a bit more effort to make it go in a straight line and it will be slower. You will also have considerably less boat out behind you which means that the Super Fun would be somewhat more vulnerable to having the stern submerged and being inadvertently back endered in a hole.
But if you keep your weight forward and paddle aggressively, you shouldn’t find the transition too terribly traumatic. The Jackson Fun series and the Dagger Mambas are probably two of the best choices in river runner/freestyle kayaks for people transitioning from crossover boats to real whitewater kayaks.
If you enjoy paddling in Class III water and especially if you plan to make the transition to Class IV water, you would be well-advised to start working on a roll in earnest.
Maybe a sit on top is better
Some good white water sit on tops are available. With practice you can self rescue in about 45 seconds. It is still not a roll but if you are truly paddling Class 3+ it might be the way to go.
I have very little whitewater experience but I do think anything greater than Class 3 will give you real trouble without a solid roll in conditions.
I recently ran a class 2 - 3 river and the drops were significant even in low water. I almost swam about 4 times and one of those times I did swim. I’d want about a 100 pool rolls before I ran it in a standard decked boat.
My issues with rolling.
I paddle wiht many folks (I’m 41 and most are older) who do not have a roll. I am only starting my second season and I am a life long competitive swimmer, so I am having issues being upside down in my boat. I’m ok when I know I am ejecting right away, but tend to panic a bit when I’m down there for a while. I’ve been spending my winter pool time working on that and hanging upside down at the wall, working on bow rescues and stuff like that. I’ll get good and pissed off at some point and throw that fear behind me…and at this time, I will be staying in Class III or less. I have 2 little kids and make cautious decision because I am a mommy with no life insurance.
Can’t have another boat…
PS…not buying another boat…will keep the XP for lakes and big water trips and hoping to get to know the Superfun and like it, if not, I will resell. But will give it at least a season of getting used to before I decide. I’m lucky my husband let me get the Superfun…as he always told me I would never get another boat. (We have my XP, his rec boat and 2 sit on tops for my kids plus my new one)
My thing with the roll is this…if you are rolling you are making mistakes. My season on the XP…one swim because I ran into my buddy and flipped us both, 2 swims in Class III due to bad peel outs and nerves…was with my freinds who are Class IV boaters and was nervous as the ‘beginnner’. 1 swim on 2nd Ledge at the Tohickon Creek, I wasn’t going to make a quick left around a rock and left the line to go right and got swallowed by the hole below. It was no biggie and a fun swim. That was the hardest run I’ve done to date…ran it in NOvember but me and another skipped this ledge and portaged it. I faced it in March and lost the battle. So, this is why I am worried about the switch…I think the XP was making my life super easy and now I’m questioning my skills.
A roll is more than correcting mistakes
I have known a few pretty skilled kayakers who went on to paddle Class IV water without a roll, but not many. The ones who did all had outstanding braces.
If you are river running it is true that the better your water reading skills and boat control, the less need you will have for a roll, but a roll is more than just a self rescue technique.
Knowing that you can roll will empower you to place yourself in situations in which you are fairly likely to capsize. You will be able to go into non-keeper holes and hydraulics and side surf, or front surf on big steep waves and be confident that you will not swim when you wash out. This is about the best practice there is for the time when you accidentally get stuck in a big hole and have to ride it out and escape.
What’s more, if you want to go tag along with more experienced boaters, many will not be receptive if you can’t roll. When a group of boaters is asked if someone they do not know can accompany them on a somewhat challenging run the two most commonly asked questions are “What is the hardest river they have run” and “Do they have a roll?”.
Ok, yes, it’s not like I don’t WANT to roll, but I’m only starting my second season, I have a family, I try to get out once a week, but realistically, maybe 3 times a month. I’m not some young gun looking to head to the Yough…I just want to be good at what I am currently paddling. I know plenty who took longer to get their rolls and I’m not rushing myself. I really was just hoping to get some tips on what I need to be aware of going from a larger more stable boat to a smaller tippy boat. Like do I need to over compensate when I edge? I paddle with a local club and started with an 8 week pool class last winter. Then a ‘beginner’s series’ on the river which took me from flat to Class III in about 8 weeks. I really worked hard to get where I am and I’m happy with where I’ve gotten in one year. I don’t see any reason to get in over my head. Yes, it would be awesome to roll and I intend on taking a private lesson if I can’t get it on my own. But as I mentioned, I am having some anxiety about it and I’ve been moving slowly. I didn’t start this topic to get critiqued on what I can and can’t do. I do paddle with my class IV friends and they have taken me on afew step up trips for me and I think I did them proud. I take the easy lines whenever possible.
EJ’s Rolling and Bracing?
Have you tried EJ’s rolling and bracing video? I think it’s a really good way to learn. 2nd Ledge at Tohikon brings back memories for me, I used to go fishing there with my oldest son when he was tiny, he’s 26 now.
I have that one and a host of others. I just copied them from a friend. I need to get over my freak outness about being upside down so I can really work on it. I tried afew times last summer and couldn’t keep my paddle near the surface to sweep. I don’t think I physically ‘get’ the movement yet. It’s funny how everybody has their own opinion of what roll is best. Someone told me the back deck roll is great with the Superfun, but others say it’s a bad roll because you could get hurt exposing your front to the rocks and stuff. At this point, I’ll be happy to land any of them!
Oh and 2nd Ledge…ran the Toh my first time in November and walked the woods with a friend as we had a pact if you walk, I walk! Took it on last month. The photographer got me flipping! too funny!
Why are you rolling?
“if you are rolling you are making mistakes” Nonsense. If you are not rolling in WW you are not trying. Sure, sometimes you need to roll because you made a mistake. But how are you going to learn if you don’t risk making a mistake??? Moreover, having a roll allows you to take the risk. Rolling is actually not hard. But thinking about rolling leads to all kinds of unsubstantiated fears. Come on. Go paddling with experienced people and try everything. You will look back and say “what was I worried about?”
as I was wondering the same thing. I have a XP 10 and would like to move up to a true WW boat like the Zen or a play boat. I’ve been practicing paddling with the skeg up on the xp… working on keeping the boat going in the right direction.
While you probably trim your XP evenly, you may want to move the center of gravity forward in the Fun for better control and predictability. Your paddle shaft will have to be more vertical to track.
The Fun enables you to hit eddys and surf much better. It’s a lot more fun and safer with a roll, and Jacksons roll easily. Rolling is one of the easiest things to do with the barrier being largely mental.
superfun & remix xp
You will most likely find that the superfun is stable, but much more responsive than the xp. You could probably find yourself being somewhat lazy with edging in the xp - if you aren’t edging the boat when crossing eddylines you will immediately know it.
One thing that will be much easier is maintaining a ferry angle. On a longer boat it much harder to recover a blown ferry - in a short boat it is much easier. You will need to adjust your trim - leaning forwards or back will let the nose or stern sink.
Once you get used to it you will be a much better paddler. As far as riverrunning, my superfun works well. I have punched through many holes or expect to be stern squirted many times, only to just continue through.
From an older broad
My WW time is fairly limited, mostly a problem of making the arrangements to meet up with a crew that is apt for my and my husband’s (not huge) skill level. I mostly paddle sea kayaks so I am sometimes a little slow to react in WW. I have strictly speaking done class 3 stretch - Zoar Gap - and managed it upright except for a fast roll in the middle. Of course, the run is quite short so that’s the only kind of roll that there’s time for.
I don’t have time in either of the boats you mention, but I did manage the overall transition from a quite sloppy, but very forgiving old school WW boat to an Inazone that has sharper edges and a more precise response to edging than the old school WW boat. What goes along with that precision is a greater tendency to capsize, and quickly, when the wrong edge catches and water has a chance to build up against it.
I am also probably pushing the volume a bit on this boat. I love my little teacup and feel very comfortable in her, but it’s a 220 and I probably could/should be paddling something a gallon bigger in terms of volume. So I have to be quite conscious about staying in the middle of the boat and, as mentioned above, avoid dropping my weight back lest the stern sinks and catches. (I have the same issue with the bow, but it’s easy to see and correct early.)
I took forever getting a roll, and a couple of seasons each time I had to move the roll to a new environment. So it took the second season after I had a fairly solid roll on both sides in calm water in my sea kayak to be able to roll in class 2 WW, a few seasons to stay calm and manage my first rolls in dumping surf, that kind of thing. I know it is claustrophobia, having nothing whatsoever to do with basic ability to swim because I have lots of time body surfing. It’s about the sense that you have to stay…in…the…boat. That is very hard for some of us and it took me into my third season of trying to learn a roll to calm that down enough to really proceed on the roll.
In sum, I suspect that you and I are very similar. So here is my take -
First, you have to acclimate to just being stuck in the boat. You aren’t likely to get a roll in moving water until you can relax for that part. So spend at least two sessions per week as soon as you have water that will allow it just going under the water and flipping back up again, side of pool or dock or whatever. Do both sides so that one side doesn’t have a chance to acquire all of your angst (and you should have both sides for WW anyway). Stay at it for a solid 10 to 15 minutes per side each time. If you are physically able to do more than that usefully, rest and go a second round. But that can be a surprisingly tiring thing.
Second, I agree with others that you should not even think about class 4 until you can roll in at least a high class 2, and that you have the body response drilled in so that the very first thing you do in a capsize is get into a tuck for a roll. That may mean it’ll be some time before you try class 4 - but this is not a bad thing if you use the time to get better in class 2 and 3.
The Jackson boats are reputed to be quite forgiving, used as schooling boats. FWIW, some years ago the Inazones held that niche for a while. So while the boats are different, they have shared a similar functional use. I find that the Inazone, as long as I stay balanced in her and am willing to go for a roll, is a very user-friendly little boat. My responses have to be faster and sharper, my edges more committed, than in some more all-purpose boats. But I didn’t find it any problem to get used to that because the boat itself just felt so confident. Everything I have heard about the Jackson Fun series is that they share that characteristic.
So get the Fun, have same, but get serious about spending time upside down to habituate for a roll as well.
I went from a sea kayak to a whitewater boat, and one of the big changes was becoming much more aware of forward/aft body position and trim. On a boat like the Fun series leaning back will easily put the stern under, and in moving water that can be more exciting than you had intended. The classic scenario is someone peeling out – the acceleration throws their body back, they loose the downstream lean, the upstream edge of the stern buries, and over they go.
Think about maintaining an aggressive forward lean when paddling in moving water. You may need to move the seat for proper trim.
I didn't mention this before because I saw a couple of responses along these lines, but I want to comment on the idea that needing to roll is a negative. As long as it is not a case of someone capsizing every time they try to ferry across a current because they refuse to listen to guidance, and I have paddled in groups where there was one of them, any idea that rolling is a negative thing is baloney.
The biggest and best cheers I and my husband have ever gotten, from WW and sea kayak coaches alike, was because we had rolled. And I do mean claps and cheers at times. In our experience WW folks are especially generous. We've pulled into eddies after a roll and had complete strangers congratulate us.
The best WW run I ever had in terms of learning happened because I could roll. I was not well focused that day and capsized twice early on, an unusually high count, but discovered my roll was doing wonderfully. So I kept on pushing the envelope a bit as we worked down the river, rolling up easily every time. I ultimately took my first shot ever at a class 3 section because I was confident I'd be able to roll up if anything went south.
If you aren't taking risks you aren't learning, if you are taking risks you will capsize. In any paddling - I don't care what craft or purpose.
Also, look at the WW standards for class 4. If I recall right, they include the idea that at class 4 you are at serious risk of physical harm if you end up out of your boat. So skipping class 4 until you have a reliable roll, and at least a decent chance of being able to stay in your boat, is common sense. So spend the time on that roll.
As someone who put in the few years (unfortunately not kidding) to be able to enjoy if rather than just do it out of necessity, I can assure you that if you stay the course it will work out. For some of us it is just a longer course. And by the way, I started trying to learn a roll in long boats, and stated the WW, when I was solidly past 50. Age doesn't matter.
You are so right!
Even in the pool I noticed the lean forward made for a much stable position on the water. I will definitely have to pay attention to that as I tend to sit more upright in the XP until I ready to hit a rapid, then I lean forward. I have one or two more pool sessions left to play…after that I will try to get on very easy moving water and we’ll see how it goes!