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Old 06-25-2008   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2
Thoughts on the Jackson Rocker (better than the Jefe!?)

I had the fortune of taking the Jackson Rocker for a quick run down Oh Be Joyful at a good medium flow last Sunday. An avid Jefe fan, the Rocker impressed me enough to write a review (first ever!).

First - on me. Class 5 paddler, size 10 shoes, weigh 150 lbs, 5' 9.5" tall, approx 31" inseam. Seat all the way forward in the Jefe, unknown in the Rocker I paddled, but felt far forward. I have paddled the Jefe on all sorts of water - many 8-12 day self supports on big water class 5 in China, high water creeking in Cali and the Pacific NW, etc. A big fan.

Nevertheless, as I said my short experience in the Rocker was so positive I couldn't help but share my experience. Since I didn't intend to write a review, I'm going to cover my first thoughts and then go to other details, where I feel comfortable writing about them:

The thing that surprised me most was how fast it carried through holes, even faster than the Jefe. Even if I didn't take a stroke, the Rocker carried speed and accelerated across foam piles several times taller than the deck of the boat. I think the high deck sheds water better than the Jefe and so even when the bow buried it never seemed to really slow down, where the Jefe would.

I also felt that between the way my weight and the Rocker were distributed between the bow and my center of gravity, that with a relaxed boof stroke I could get the bow of the boat higher and much further beyond a standing hole than I can the Jefe, many times launching my body weight onto or beyond a foam pile, which I have trouble with in the Jefe without some well timed effort on the same sized feature.

I found in many instances at the bottom of slides that I had more speed than I knew what to do with, and then discovered that it still had enough edge that a quick carve could send me any direction I needed to go. I could still use a little fine tuning on that front. It felt super fast and accelerated well in flat water, as well.

As one would more obviously suspect from checking the boat out on land, it landed very well off of drops, whether totally flat or with a little forward angle. Even boofing flat off of the big drop (20 feet +/-) I didn't feel my body accelerate toward the deck like I do in most boats on impact, even though I was leaning forward. Could have been a lucky landing but it felt like more than that, and the boat kept speed across the boil, even though I landed almost completely flat.

So those were the characteristics that really stuck out on the water, which as far as I can figure are some of the most important characteristics to consider when looking at a creek boat.

Beyond that, the outfitting was awesome. I felt solid inside the boat w/o any personal adjustments beyond tightening the bulkhead and back band to my size. I suspect the padding in the seat helped with soft impacts, and I'm sure that the well padded thigh braces would protect in case of serious impact causing your knees to hit the sides of the boat. I can't speak to the safety of the bulkhead on piton impact (supposedly it slides on a rail inside the boat, absorbing shock and thus protecting your ankles), but the logic makes sense.

It would be great to paddle the boat loaded and on some big water - based on my initial impression I suspect it will continue to excel. Sure, it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing boat at first, but with a smiley face like that on the side you gotta be gaining some karma points anyway

Until next time-

Travis Winn


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Old 06-26-2008   #2
BastrdSonOfElvis's Avatar
Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Dude, nice review. I paddle the big rocker and I, too, like it a lot.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that it's a little more hesitant to catch eddies than my older creeker. Did you notice this at all?

I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 06-26-2008   #3
ashland, Wisconsin
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1
I've noticed that the Rocker slides through eddies as well. I don't see it possible to truely "carve" with this boat. Not that this is a negetive... that's also what makes it slide through the stuff you want it to.
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Old 06-26-2008   #4
st2eelpot's Avatar
Professional Transient, See above.
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310
Carving the Rocker

I find it carves rather well, in fact it requires more boat tilt to turn than the Jefe in some instances where the Jefe only requires a draw stroke of sorts. To really carve the Rocker though, I have to put the boat on a rather severe tilt to hit the 'chine' little lip along the outer side of the boat. I love the secondary stability when I hit that little sucker.

Great review. I love my Rocker, and have only gotten to take a Jefe out a couple of times in mellow class 3 stuff. Jefe seemed more spinny when flat, which can be great if you can harness it. I do think the Rocker is a bit quicker as well, though I haven't put the Jefe through its paces enough to really analyze it as you have.

I wish the Jackson plastic was patchable.

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