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Old 05-08-2014   #1
West Forks, ME, Connecticut
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 5
New paddler, what do you think of Jackson Karma?

Hey all!

Rafting guide who is trying to dive into WWkayaking this summer. I was lucky enough to take a few days off last month and take some private lessons on ClassII-III river, first time in a kayak. Had a blast and really want to keep honing my skills.

When I was there I used a few 8' kayaks, a Karma and a Dagger. I really liked the Karma and found one being sold on the craiglist nearby.

Should I go for it? Is there a different creek-boat you would recommend? Any recommendations for\against would be appreciated!

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Old 05-08-2014   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
Karma is a good boat, should fill your needs to get on the water and go up to creeking. A lot of people will say you will get bored and want a playboat/river runner - but that really depends on progression and what you want to do. Most likely will end up with several boats if you stick with it and the Karma is a great one to have in the quiver, easy to sell if you decide you do not like it.

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Old 05-08-2014   #3
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Make sure it is the same size as the one you paddled. How banged up is it? If possible, give the boat a good inspection for cracks and broken/missing outfitting...otherwise should be a great boat for you.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 05-15-2014   #4
Asheville, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2

I have known a lot of people who have bought karmas (my employer has a great pro-deal with Jackson Kayak and we can get them for a steal). I have paddled one a few times, but I still prefer my displacement hulls.

The feedback from all of them has been pretty much the same. Namely, that the karma paddles great, but that warranty is pretty darn useful.

Future models will probably fix some of these issues, but I have seen a lot of premature oil-canning. I also had a buddy whose outfitting came loose due to a broken plastic piece that couldn't be replaced as it was integral to the hull. Another friend of mine pitoned the hell out of his karma hitting a rock that I and many others regularly encounter without suffering any structural damage.

Final verdict:
The karma paddles extremely well and has the right combination of features for paddling the big stuff. It boofs very easily and lands surprisingly softly for a planing jul.
However, given that this is a completely new design, Jackson seems to still be working out some kinks.
If you can buy a new one, this isn't too much of a problem as Jackson has a fantastic warranty (one friend is on his third boat in a little over a year).

I should also add that these boats probably last a lot longer if you paddle mostly I-III stuff. Most of the issues I've discussed have happened to people who regularly paddle V+ (especially the Green Narrows).
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