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Old 02-22-2013   #1
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 176
Playboat advice?

I think this is the year I finally learn some tricks, so I'm looking to pick up a play boat. I've heard good things about the Jackson Rockstar, Pyranha Jed, Wavesport project X, and the Dagger Jitsu. Since I can barely get an occasional cartwheel now, demo'ing the boats isn't going to tell me a whole lot about their potential. Are they all similar enough that I can snap up whichever one I find the best deal on? I'm guessing I'll be happy with whichever one I end up with, but thought I'd get some other opinions. What do you all think? Are any of them particularly well suited to a beginner play boater? Any I should stay away from?

I'm not worried about river running especially. Some people have told me the Rockstar is hard to roll, but I'm sure I'll be fine. I've got a Jackson Fun and Pyranha Burn, and keeping both of them, so for harder stuff I'll just use one of those.

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Old 02-22-2013   #2
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 6
I have a Rockstar L. I got this one due to my familiarity with the Jackson line (learned in a Villian L). I do t find it hard to roll. I paddled a Wave Sport Project X as well and found it easier to flat spin. I can't reliably do any moves yet (except flopping). My $.02 is to go with what you can get a deal on, and what is comfortable for you. I am 6'2" and about 210 lbs. The Rockstar L is a tight fit for me but not cramped. Have fun no matter what you end up in!

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Old 02-22-2013   #3
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 141
I have a Rockstar L, and I'm 6 ft 190 lb. I'm not a rock star when it comes to play boating, but I find it to be pretty well balanced, easy to spin, pretty easy to cartwheel in the right feature, and perhaps even easier to loop. Ideally, I should probably be 10-15 lb heavier for this boat.

I do find it harder to roll than most boats I've paddled. I have many more missed first rolls, but always come up on roll 2 (or 3). It's also less stable than my last play boat, a Pyranha 420M/L. I could take that boat on just about any class IV/IV+ that I run, but I found myself opting for the Burn for high water Numbers runs in 2011. Maybe I'm just getting old.

I've tried the Project X and thought its bow was too big relative to the stern. Just didn't feel right to me.
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Old 02-23-2013   #4
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 255
I'm 6' and 200lbs and struggling to cartwheel with my Project X 64 in the pool, but I'm still new to playboating. The 56 was way too tight for my height. The RockStar L is shorter and more playful than the Project X but I dig the way my Project X front surfs and doesn't work me too bad. For my proportions, it's very stable and relatively easy to control. Of the Pyranha playboats I demoed, the Jed was the most forgiving, but the cockpit rim on all Pyranha boats is small, a design feature I don't like.
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
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Old 02-23-2013   #5
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
Seems to me if you're going to be playboating with an aggressive modern playboat, ease of rolling isn't much of a consideration. Time in a hole will address that anyway. Here's a website with some playboat reviews and comparisons from an unaffiliated/unbiased pro's perspective.

Freestyle Boats - Dustin Urban .com
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Old 02-23-2013   #6
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
here's my highly biased opinion:
I demo'ed a rockstar and hated it. All the other JK boats i have had (4fun,Villain,Superhero,and now 2010 Superstar) all roll so easily that it was shocking (and pretty irritating) to miss rolls in the rockstar. I would say its an expert playboaters boat, not one to learn in. now, I am no expert, but i am progressing, I definitely know what does and does not work for me. its an expert competition boat.

on the other hand the 2010-2012 star series is the best playboat ever.... comfortable, stable, easy to roll, good secondary stability. does stern squirts and ends like nothing if you go for it, but also river runs really well. you're just got to stay aggressive and not be sloppy with your posture. stay leaning forward, and you can run hard stuff if you're up to it. I had to special order one at CKS last summer and have not regretted it at fact i feel like i have progressed quite a bit in my playboating. ( that also says something imo.none in stock, and no used ones available anywhere accessible. That there is a boat people are holding on to. it may not be the case now that theres a new line coming out, but i could not find one last summer.)

thats my vote. 2010 or 2013 star series.(not the older ones. the 2010 specifically.) But i also heard really great things about the Pyranha Jed too. I shoulda demo'ed one the day I took the rockstar out.

Fluid boats look pretty sweet. I personally am done with dagger and WS. had bad experiences with older boats from both brands, although i never paddled a project or the new dagger- Jitsu. they are prolly pretty sweet. Jacksons work great for me, so i stick with em ....
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Old 02-24-2013   #7
Erie, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6
Dagger jitsu

Here is my opinion (although biased):

I would say for you to try out all the boats you want to. But if you want a boat that is great for both waves and holes I strongly suggest the Dagger Jitsu. It is stable, runs rivers with complete ease and when you get to the play spot you'll be getting tons of air! With its slicey ends it cartwheels like a dream. Plus it comes with Daggers new Contour outfitting, which is really easy to set up and super comfortable!

This boat is great for all levels of paddlers as well!

Hope this helped!
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Old 02-24-2013   #8
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
Hey buds since you still pickin up the basics. The boat choice is less as important as getting a boat that really fits and that you will be able to dance in. I suggest the projects new and old these boats tend to be carvers. the stars including the rock star that boat is really loose and an easy to use these are butt bouncers. A lot of it depends on the features you are surfing and your individual style!! If its a hole boat for salida get a blisstick specialist. If your surfing waves on the snake get a project. The Jitsu has some good looking features have yet to try one out.. The kingpin I found to be fundamental in progression. Learning how to carve into a blunt is very important you can get the biggest air on the littlest features, and take it to other tricks from there airscrews pan ams. Keep it up and hit lots of parks and quality play spots.
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Old 02-24-2013   #9
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 302
Dude, I love your attitude! "Not worried about the roll, which boat but it probably doesn't matter, whatever fits and is cheap and current"...Dam right!

And then this is spot on:
Originally Posted by abron View Post
on the other hand the 2010-2012 star series is the best playboat ever....
A wintertime thread rife with awesomeness! The Buzz lives!

Oh and BTW, I run a Rockstar L and love it, but would recommend against learning in it.
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Old 02-24-2013   #10
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Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
Jackson Kayaks are notoriously easy to roll.

However, I agree the exception to this is the Rock Star.

While there are advantages to the 200% Sweet Cheeks seat, I chose to remove mine and put in a normal size Sweet Cheeks and found it to be SIGNIFICANTLY easier to roll.

While sitting higher can help with leverage, for me personally, sitting lower outweighs sitting higher..

-Micah Kneidl

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