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Jackson Dynamic Duo - First Impressions

- Tuesday April 1, 2014
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As most kayakers tend to do, we like to sit around and talk about new and exciting ways to go down the river. Something that has come up a number of times is how fun/crazy it would be for two of us to kayaker together in a tandem whitewater kayak. I mean, if we have a blast kayaking by ourselves, how epic would it be if two of us could do it together at the same time? Well, such a beast for that kind of experience exists and it is known as the Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo. 

As it turns out, a small group of us were heading to try out Spring Creek in Cookeville, TN for the first time this weekend and we had some time to kill while waiting for the rain to bring the creek up a bit more. For more info on Spring Creek, go to We were already in Cookeville so we decided to stop at the favorite local outdoor store, Outdoor Experience. Like it was just meant to be, standing outside the building was an extremely well-priced Dynamic Duo. I knew I had to have it so we threw the Duo up on Mike's truck rack and headed to the creek! 

Of course conversation soon turned to how we should take the Duo down Spring Creek so we decided to give it a go. If you have ever had any dealings with a Dynamic Duo, then you know what a substantial craft it is. Carrying/dragging the boat around is a serious challenge as it weighs in at a hefty 80 lbs. This is no recreational boat but a full-on whitewater craft. We eventually wrestled it down to the water and took off. 

Click to see the gallery

On Spring Creek, the first two miles are pretty continious whitewater and the action starts almost immediately. You go over a 4.5 foot ledge, around the corner and into one of the larger rapids on the creek, Meat Grinder (picture in the gallery). It is a pretty intimidating looking rapid, especially when piloting a tandem kayak for the first time lol. Which brings me to the performance of the Dynamic Duo. 

Stability is the first thing that comes to mind. The Duo was able to cruise through holes, over waves, down ledges, bounce off rocks and more with very little drama. Adding to this stable feeling is the excellent fit. This tandem machine comes with the same outfitting in front and back that you would find in a Jackson creek boat such as the Karma. It has 50/50 weight distribution and Jackson says the optimal arrangement is 160 lbs in the front and 200 in the back. 

Speed is another sensation when riding in the Duo. At 12 feet long, with good tracking and two people paddling, it is extemely fast. Running some of the longer slides on Spring Creek and chaining some of the rapids together had us flying along at what felt like mach III. We were also constantly leaving our two buddies in their smaller kayaks and having to hang out in eddies waiting on them. 

Now precision turning is another thing. As you might expect on a manky creek, we needed to do quite a lot of maneuvering. While it was possible in the Dynamic Duo, it took a little bit to get the hang of. You need to anticipate turns a bit quicker and the rear person needs to rudder it like something between a raft and a creekboat. Meanwhile the person in the bow mostly needs to provide some horsepower and occasionally do some draw strokes and whatnot. That being said, once you get used to it, you can slide into small eddies and whatnot like a smaller boat. 

Now I've only had it out once and it's really more of a river runner than a creeker, but I already really really like it. A lot of people use the Duos for instructing, taking out newbies, etc, but I just wanted it to have a good time in with my friends and it's awesome for that. I can tell this thing is going to be an absolute blast on rivers like the Ocoee and even creeks like the Tellico. The only real problem is that everyone is going to be fighting all the time about who gets to take it out.  


- Super stable

- Standard Jackson outfitting which includes the Uni-Shock bulkhead

- Very fast 


- Very heavy at 80 lbs. 

- Slower turning than average creek boat

- Seems expensive but you're buying basically two kayaks.


- Weight: 80 lbs

- Length: 12′ 1″

- Width: 26.75″

- Volume: 142 gallons

- Cockpits: bow 34 x 19 3/4; stern 36 x 20 1/2

- Stern Cockpit: Up to 260 lbs

- Bow Cockpit: Up 200 lbs

- MSRP: $1499

Click here to go to for more info. 

Categories: Review
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