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Old 04-28-2015   #1
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kuuskv's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 147
What's The Low-down On Modern Playboats?

I loved playboating when I started kayaking about 10 years ago. I bought a Pyranha 420 and I'd take it to the Ocoee, or the New, or the Cheoah, and I'd surf my way down any run. I was never any good but it made me a better paddler.

Eventually, I bought my first creek boat and never looked back. I sold the playboat to make room for all the welded creek boats in my college apartment.

Now, in my old age of 27, I decided to get back into playboating, mainly to improve my overall river-running skills.

That being said, it's been almost a decade since I bought a playboat. What are the good hole/wave riders on the market these days? I'm 6'2" and 180 lbs. What would fit me? I'm not looking to go to the Whitewater Grand Prix, but I'd like to dust off the cartwheel cobwebs (do people still cartwheel?) and dial-in my loop, which I've only successfully pulled off once.

What boat should I buy? What do you paddle? Do you like it? Are modern playboats easier or harder to throw tricks with?

I might just say "screw it" and buy an OC1. I think I can better identify with the open boater crowd than the Red Bull-slamming freestyle scene.

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Old 04-28-2015   #2
OTR, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 224
I'm 6'2" 185 and I love my Jackson Superstar (2010). Good for loops, cartwheels, just about anything freestyle. I haven't paddled anything newer since I picked this up about 5 years ago, nor do I see the need to.

I haven't playboated much in the past few years either but am ramping back up and planning on spending as much time as possible at the Lyons and Boulder parks this season. Hit me up if you want.

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Old 04-28-2015   #3
Colorado, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 131
I'm 6'1 195 and paddled a large jitsu all last year. This year I picked up a 2013 allstar. Quite a bit smaller and more fun to throw around. No where near as retentive as the jitsu but I think it'll do fine once we get some better flows.
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Old 04-28-2015   #4
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
"I might just say "screw it" and buy an OC1. I think I can better identify with the open boater crowd than the Red Bull-slamming freestyle scene."

I have really good friends in both "scenes" and I would say its not even close, open boaters have the most attitude of all cliques on the rio, followed by rafters, especially those that post on the Buzz.
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Old 04-28-2015   #5
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Get one. I haven't played the field extensively, but I think this is one area where Jackson really has it dialed. They spend a lot of time thinking about playboat design and I find even in the little modern shorties they're comfortable due to higher knees than say Wavesport & Dagger seem to do. I could still do without the ropes. I'm coveting the new Rockstar. I'm waiting for someone to buy it for me... anyone?

Yes, the old uncomfortable slicey playboats give up more satisfying cartwheels, but the new ones cartwheel just fine and are much faster end to end and do just about everything else better.
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Old 04-29-2015   #6
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
Hard to beat a new generation Jackson Rockstar (though I still like my Superstar for running rivers).
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Old 04-29-2015   #7
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Where ever the water is...., Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 440
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Another vote for the current JK Rockstar. I love mine for play and playful river running. It's such a great design.

Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
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Old 04-29-2015   #8
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
One more vote for the current Rock Star.

I've paddled a bunch of the play boats on the market, and it's definitely my favorite plastic play boat.

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