Jackson vs. ZG? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-23-2004   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Jackson vs. ZG?

A previous thread compared Jackson Fun kayaks vs. the WaveSport EZ. But, the EZ is an older design.

I'd like to get the same take on the Jackson vs. ZG since the ZG is WaveSport's new boat.

True, as some people mention, the ZG is advertised as a play boat while the Fun is advertised as a play boat/river runner. But, if you look at the boat specs, they are nearly identical.

So, can anyone give me a comparison? Thanks.

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Old 07-23-2004   #2
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 501
What's the purpose?

I've not paddled a Jackson, but think that you are right. Both it and a ZG are probably similar. I've recently paddled the ZG48 for some river running. Frankly, river running is neither's greatest attribute. Oh, they're capable of getting you down, but you'll find them slow and corkyish. It's quite a work out. You will most likely not miss some holes. Then the true rodeo purpose of them kicks in. I imagine that the ZG54 makes river running easier than the 48. It should pop better loops too. It may be more comparable to a regular EZ. I don't know. But the EZ is a proven good river runner that plays well too. If you're bigger, the Big EZ and Super EZ are, of course, even faster and more bouyant.

Bop til you drop!
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Old 07-23-2004   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 67
I would not call them similar boats because the size and volume specs are similar. If you look at Jackson kayaks specs for the fun and the all-star they are pretty close also. That doesn't mean the all-star is going to run rivers anything like the fun nor that the fun is going to spin like the all-star.

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Old 07-23-2004   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 9
usually just comparing specs on boats can not tell at all how it paddles. hull shape is a HUGE part of how a boat performs in the water, and as always, the best way to figure out how a boat performs is to paddle it. the lines on the zg are aggresive and therefore it may perform less well downriver (edges grabing, etc) as for the fun, i have no idea, but EJ sure made it look like a full on playboat at fibark...
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Old 07-23-2004   #5
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 27
ZG vs. Fun

The ZG has a more aggressive hull than the Fun. This makes the boat looser and faster on a wave. The Fun has softer edges. Soft edges will be a bit less grabby running rapids and feel noticably lower performance when you want to spin and blunt. The ZG is relatively forgiving running rapids for a performance playboat, and the 54 is more stable than the 48. If you want more of a river runner the EZ will be more forgiving, if you want more of a playboat the ZG will outperform. Both boats will do a lot of the same things, they just shine doing their intended uses.

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Old 07-24-2004   #6
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 22
ZG v Fun

I tried both boats. I currently paddle a Kingpin 6.3. I weigh 220 lbs so that will affect my opinion. Even so, here's my take. The ZG 54 is much easier to initiate cartwheels in a hole. It's narrow, so much so that I couldn't be in one for more than 30 minutes. The 4 fun was super comfy and felt very stable but you really had to put it on edge to get vertical cartwheels. Also, the fun felt more poppy so it would probably be better for loops. As far as river running goes, the fact that the zg is easier to initiate tells me that it's probaby less stable in rapids. However, I used to paddle a super ego which was quite unstable in rapids but got used to it. My boating skills increased significantly in the 2 seasons that I paddled it. So consider where you're at today and where you want to be next season and then try the boats you are considering to buy. Every body is different.
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Old 07-24-2004   #7
pnw, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Hell, ya only live once get em both.
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Old 07-25-2004   #8
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Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
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Just to pipe in with some accurate Jackson information...

The ZG and the FUN series of boats are COMPLETELY different boats with completely different designs. The "AllStar" series of boats is the Jackson you really want to compare the ZG too and unfortunately no one in Colorado has been in one yet, but most retailers should have them in 3-4 weeks. We just pulled the very first AllStar out of the mold on Wednesday and I used it yesterday on the Upper Ocoee. I am not that great of a playboater but even so WOW!!! Better get your freak on if you want to stay in front of that thing!!! but that is for another post.

The Fun is a completely different boat and although it's been proven to do basically every trick that is currently out there, it 's a river runner first with tons of stability and a big focus on comfy/light with the ability to do some pretty impressive surfing/play.

Jed and Brad are correct... the Fun is really stable on any class of water, I understand it's being used a bunch in Gore lately and although I haven't been in that big of water with it yet...it is being hailed quite positively. But if you are looking for a truely "Apple to Apples comparison" type of boat to the ZG (i.e. freestyle boat) you will have step into the "Star" series of Jackson boats.

Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions... I should have one for my demo fleet in the next couple weeks.


"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather...To skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW !!!! What a ride!!!!!!"
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Old 07-25-2004   #9
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 27
That's right it is comparing apples to oranges. The ZG is a playboat. If you feel a little top heavy being 220lbs. take out the seat pad, it will lower you about 1/2 inch and make a big difference with comfort and stability. The ZG is a good river runner for a playboat. It has some length and the ends aren't as slicey as some other boats. What I find is that most river runs I go do that are class 4-5 don't typically have great play, so I'll usually take my diesel. Class 3 and park and play are great for a ZG. I would rather have the boat that is best at whatever I'm doing. I don't see a reason to scratch my playboat down Gore. Why not be high and dry in a REAL river runner and try some new lines. The same way I don't want a tuned down playboat when I am spinning on a wave or trying the latest new trick. However, I do understand the limitations of not being able to have a quiver if that applies!!

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