Monday, September 29, 2008

Jackson Hero Review

I just had my first day in an '08 Jackson Hero and, since there isn't much in the way of independent reviews out there for this boat yet, figured I'd chip in my two cents.

About me:
Size: 5'11", ~165 lbs, 32" inseam, size 9 feet.
Experience: 8 years, primarily in playboats, but with some big water and creeking

What I was looking for was a boat that I could use on rivers that were too much for the playboat to handle -- mostly Class IV-IV+ stuff. Because of my background in playboats, I really wanted something with a planing hull. Some other comparable boats I've tried are: Dagger CFS, Pyranha Burn, and Liquid Logic Jefe.

My first trip in the Hero was on the Lower St. Louis River. It's a class III-IV run with steep, boney, technical drops. It was running at approx 350 cfs. On the whole, I was very impressed with this boat. It did everything that I wanted it to and was easy to get used to. It's short length let me make the moves I needed to in between the Louey's rock spines, and it's edges carved when I needed them to but didn't catch or trip me up. The boat also boofed easily, clearing Snakebite and other lesser holes without a problem. My biggest fear for this boat was that its short length would make it difficult to punch through sticky holes. Though I didn't face anything really huge, I pushed it through enough holes to say that I'm no longer worried about it at all. I'm not sure if it's the shape of the deck or some other design trick, but this boat walked through the holes as easily as the full-on creekers I've paddled.

In flatwater, the boat feels like more of a creekboat than I was expecting. Though it does have the Fun's planing hull, the initial stability isn't as rigid as the playboats I'm used to. It has more of a hybrid feel. Same goes for rolling. It was definitely easy to roll, but it had more of an even, gradual feel to the roll as opposed to the quick snap of my playboat.

I have noticed that the ultra-bouyant bow has a tendency to get pushed side-to-side by cross-currents more than other creekers. It doesn't seem to be a big problem, but is something that I'll have to get used to. The only other issue that I had with the boat was having to keep tightening the backband, but I've heard that you have to let the ropes stretch a bit when they're new. I also chalk some of that up to just not being used to that system.

So, I'd definitely give the Hero two thumbs up as a lighter-duty creeker. I'm looking forward to getting it out on some bigger stuff in the spring!

1 comment:

Nora said...

I went to Playak and checked out the specs on it. They also had a lot of good to say about it. It sounds like you picked a great boat! I wouldn't mind giving it a demo sometime now that it's been properly broken in.