Visit Outdoor Experience

Initial Impressions of the Jackson Kayak Karma

- Monday October 22, 2012
Main Image

I was at the Ocoee river this weekend having a great time in my Jackson Kayak All Star on an absolutely gorgeous day when we, by chance, met up with the Jackson clan. Their crew included Dane, Nick, Marty, Emily, Courtney, Ken, etc. They were having a great time playing with some of their new SUPerCHARGER SUPs and some new Karmas. Nick and Marty were kind enough to let me play around with a new Karma for a few minutes despite them really needing to head on so they could get back to a sales meeting. So here are my impressions from that quick ride. 

First, I was in the large Karma. At 6'1" and 175 lbs, I would definitely need the regular size version. The Regular is 8'6" and 86.5 gallons while the Large that I was in was 9' and 103 gallons. 103!!! Big guys, the creeker you have been waiting for is here! Needless to say, for me it felt like I was piloting a battleship lol. That being said, it was actually still very usable.

I got in the Karma at the bottom of Diamond Splitter on the Ocoee. I cut across the current to the opposite side, attained upstream and then side surfed it in Witch's hole. It was very comfortable in the hole and incredibly stable.  After that, I just made a few passes through the rapids in that area.  The Karma has tons of speed, lots of manueverability and can even surf some with its' planning hull. 

As far as stability goes, the Karma has it in spades. Granted, I was in the Large but still, this is just an inherently stable design. The parting line is way above the water and you can actually just balance on the side of the yak without going over. Despite that, the boat can carve very well still, kinda like the Zen. The whole boat looks and feels like a cross between a Zen and a Villain. Basically it's their planing hull alternative to the Villain. 

As you might expect, rolling was really easy as well. Nick Troutman was encouraging me to check out how easy it rolls and he is definitely correct. It was actually kind of hard to get it to go ever to begin with but I eventually got it upside down. When I started my roll, for a second it felt like I was in slow motion and then BAM, it basically righted itself. It just needs a little encouragement to get it going and then it knows exactly what to do. 

From my brief experience with it, the new Jackson Kayak Karma looks to be an excellent creeker. Fast, stable, manueverable, easy to roll, it has it all. I can't wait to do a full demo on one in the next few weeks. Check out our coverage of the Karma here and some more specs and info over at

Update: Click here to check out a video I just made from a high water Clear Creek TN run in the Karma. Nothing too hard but a ton of fun.

Update 2: Click here to check out a video I made of a Tellico Ledges run in the Karma. 

Categories: Review
comments powered by Disqus
Show the Full Site
Show the Mobile Site