I eventually finished a more formal review of the Jackson FUN having paddling it as a surf kayak for over 4 months now. Initially it took some time to get used to, as it is much looser than surf kayaks that I have been into for years. It was like returning to my origins in surf kayaking when we paddled any kayak in the surf, not what was specifically designed for ocean wave surfing. See my first paddle comments here.
The beginners perspective.
If you are just starting out in surf kayaking this kayak is a really a winner. It is stable and easy to get out through the break with reasonable directional stability for a playboat. When paddling out through broken waves the FUN maintained stability and allowed you to lift up and over the white water simply by leaning back to raise the bow.
On a wave the the FUN was easy to get into the wave take-off area and quite predictable when dropping down a steep face. The beginners who paddled the FUN started off on smaller waves to get the feel of the kayak but were soon confident on larger waves. The kayak has a flat, planing hull design meaning that aggressive leans or stern rudder strokes may cause the stern to break loose. An unintentional 180 degree spin into a back surf is a little disconcerting for beginners but soon most paddlers have it under control.
The Fun is just that, a lot of fun. The comfortable cockpit and easily adjusted outfitting means paddlers are happy to stay out for hours, pulling 360 spins, backsurfs, cartwheels (intentional and unintentional) and generally having a great time.
This playboat is easy to handle and allows you to try lots of manoeuvres with confidence and when it doesn’t work the FUN is easy to roll. As with most playboats the low volume stern and bow allow ease of manoeuvring, however you still need to drive this kayak or it will break loose on larger wave faces.
Comparison to specialised surf kayaks
It really does come down to what you want to achieve in surf kayaking. If you are looking for a kayak that equals a surfboard or wave ski then you need to look at the specialised craft. This is a white water playboat being used in the surf and is an excellent craft for playing in waves and having fun. Just a fantastic kayak to paddle when the surf is not so good and you’re looking for a way to have fun and get wet.
Jackson Kayak Specs.
Length 2.03m Width 68 cm Volume 238 litres Capacity 75-100 kg
Weight 90 kg (or more after Easter)
Experience Many years paddling sea kayaks and surf kayaks
Great Fun kayak. A great change from more specialist surf kayaks but especially good when surf was smaller allowing me to still have fun on manoeuvres like 360 spins, catwheels and backsurfs not possible with other surf kayak.
Loved the ease of adjustment on the backrest and the Happy Feet footrests.
Lots of fun to be had even when the surfs not so good.
Backrest cords are a bit of a pain dangling on my legs, but I would soon fix that.
Lots of FUN. Very comfortable outfitting and would recommend to anyone.
Height 175 cm
Weight 76 kg
Experience Beginner in playboats and surf kayaks
Had great fun every time I paddled out. Started on smaller waves and soon got the hang of the FUN. I was able to get some nice waves and 360 spins as well great slides down larger green wave faces. Thoroughly recommended as a great FUN kayak.
Very predictable and forgiving handling when the wave closed out on me. It is easy to roll which gave me confidence to go for bigger waves or faster manoeuvres. Loved the easy adjustment on the backrest making it easy to do a quick launch, paddle out and then tighten backrest.
I would put some sort of grab loop on the rear handle as it was hard to hold onto as I climbed over rocks to get back up the beach.
Very impressed with this kayak in the surf. Just lots of FUN and will definitely be looking to purchase.