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Old 03-22-2015   #1
Bracebridge, Ontario
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
2015 Jackson Zen - Size???

I love the look of the new 2015 Zen. Unfortunately, I don't have access to a demo boat in my area. I'm hoping for some help to assist me to choose a size...
My weight is 175 lbs. I am 6'2" tall with size 11 feet. I have a 33" inseam. I do mostly class 3-4 river running in my area (occasional class 5), but plan to travel to do some creeking in the coming years.
I seem to be exactly in between the medium and large. I will have to special order the kayak and will be committed to it once I purchase it. Any help you can provide me will be greatly appreciated!

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Old 03-22-2015   #2
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
Zen Medium.

I am pretty stoked on the 2015 Zen L too... time to upgrade, as long as it fits like the 2014 zen L and NOT like the 2014 karma M. they changed the knee positioning in the Rockstar and Karma last year. I loved the shape, but my legs went numb quickly like the old EZG and 90's kayak designs we are trying to leave in the garden growing plants.......that Karma demo was very distressing to me, as otherwise JK boats have been pretty universally comfortable, and i have been able to progress, and stay all day comfortable like never before ,since 2010 and switching to JK.....This shouldn't be a problem for regular shaped i.e. petite.... people.

To decide sizes, in a nutshell i would advise you to go medium, unless you have a good reason not to. (XLarge person or big water/expedition stuff.)
I am a big boy, so Lg is definitely my choice.I also look to pack up for selfsupport as a need, and the superhero @95 gal can easily pack for a 4day trip, and still paddle like a champ...albeit a champ aircraft carrier. lol.

for reference, In my experience, (and cause they told me) JK sizes are generous, as in 2009 4fun worked for me at 230+, Karma M was brilliant except the knees.... and the 2011 superhero and 2012 superstar are my currently owned and favorite boats ever...yet.
I want 2015 L zen and 4fun if I can work it this summer. add a L rogue or XP10 and theres a quiver for you. Or me... actually
only other logical comp is a LL super squirrel, or ZET director. those are on my radar. (ZET!!!)
If you go to JK. com, email or query them on the Zen product page. - they answer size questions all year long. i bet some one asked about your size already.
I would ask i bet he is close to your size, and... knows some say the least.

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Old 03-23-2015   #3
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
This is an awesome boat that I've been loving to paddle! I am about your size and prefer the large. With your height and shoe size, it makes sense.

Can you describe your intentions with the boat, what you plan to run, and your skill level?

You really are in a pickle as paddlers your weight are split between the medium and large. The previous generation large Zen would fit you pretty well, but the new Zens are a little bigger.

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Old 03-23-2015   #4
Bracebridge, Ontario
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
Thanks for your quick response guys.
Interesting...two opposite suggestions re size, yet both make sense. It really is tough to choose!
I would say I was an advanced paddler 20 years ago. I'm returning to paddling now that my kids have grown. Things sure have changed!
I was a strong class IV paddler and did paddle occasional class V with relative comfort. I will be using the Zen primarily for River running class IV, but would like to do some creeking now that I can afford the time and $$$ to travel.
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Old 03-23-2015   #5
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,634
from what i gather the large is 90 gallons and the medium is 80. My wife has the large, but she is shorter than you. She is a class 3 paddler and hasn't had a hard time keeping the boat straight in rapids or on flat water so far.

I have not paddled it yet, but it is a way cooler design than what they did the first time. It looks rounder and has more rocker, pivots easy and is still very fast.

I think it is taller overall, creating more room inside. I was interested to hear how abron noticed the deck height difference in years with the karma, I knew it felt different but couldnt figure it out.

I paddle a large karma with the latest changes. I had to move the seat one back from what i used to, my wife paddles the new Zen and went one forward from center of what she was used to, interesting.

I would recomend the large boat over a medium, but please tell us what boats you've paddled and liked, jackson runs wide, so if you liked a pyrhana burn, you'll like the medium feel.

Also, sit in any boats in your area and give us feedback, after knowing what you paddle and where it helps us give ideas better.

I will be trying a large zen this summer, I was better in my villain than the karma, not sure if it is the volume or the hull design. I think its me.
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Old 03-23-2015   #6
Bracebridge, Ontario
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
Boats I've paddled...I'm not sure that'll be much help

The last boat I owned was a Pyranha stunt 300 and a Dagger response before that. I currently own a Wavesport Fuse 56. I plan to replace it next year. I'm getting some of the "new" play moves down, but would love to get something more capable for play-boating i.e. Mobius or similar. I also don't much like it for running rivers. I find it too slow for that purpose.

Despite the fact that paddling is excellent in my area, there are very few kayak options available. We have a Pyranha and Jackson dealer close by, but they typically don't stock whitewater boats. There a a Wavesport dealer nearby as well. I have considered a Deisel, but it seems to me that the current model will likely be updated soon. To be honest, it looks a little long-in-the-tooth compared to the other more modern options i.e. 2015 Jackson Zen, Pyranha Burn 3 and Dagger Mamba 8.1. I guess what I'm trying to say is I will likely have to buy a new boat without getting to test paddle or even sit in one. Not an ideal situation...
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Old 03-28-2015   #7
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Where ever the water is...., Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 440
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I'd give the med 2015 JK Zen a go. I paddle a Large (6', 32", size 12, 200lbs) but have spent lots of time in the 2015 Med this winter. I fit the Med cockpit great but will be in the Large this summer as its more appropriate for my weight especially in bigger water. If you can demo that is the safest way to know for sure. Where are you located? If I'm in your area you are welcome to try our Med and Large...

This new 2015 Zen is going to dazzle and surprise many people this spring. It's a really great design.

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Old 03-29-2015   #8
long pond, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4
Drive time from your town to the Zoar Outdoor Center in Charlemont Mass. is 9 hours and change. They don't sell every brand but they have quite a selection. Why not burn that spare time and money and try them all out. I bought a boat last season without even sitting in it. Never again! Just my two cents.
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Old 03-29-2015   #9
Bracebridge, Ontario
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
Hey peterholcombe...thanks for the offer. I live in Ontario, Canada two hours north of Toronto. From what I've been reading in other reviews, I could paddle a medium for a "sportier" ride or a large for a more stable/ forgiving ride. i.e. Play in holes and waves or blast over them. How did you find the performance of the medium...being a healthy 200 lbs.

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Old 03-29-2015   #10
Bracebridge, Ontario
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
Daniel makes sense...I wish I had the time and cash to do that.

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