Karma review - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-09-2013   #1
Gary E's Avatar
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 94
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Karma review

What could be better in December then heading to Veracruz Mexico for some kayaking? I was super fired up to take the new Jackson Karma to Mexico as I had heard nothing but hype and great things. I wanted to paddle it myself and see if this new boat would be replacing my Villain (which is by far my favorite boat to paddle).

The first day in Veracruz we put on the roadside Alsaseca. This is a low volume run with slides and waterfalls. First thing I noticed about the large Karma was it looked huge. I was pleasantly surprised to realize this boat paddles small. I doesn't have a learning curve and is very easy to paddle right away.

The second thing was the stability. It likes to sit in a pocket whether on edge catching an eddy, ferrying across current or just heading down stream. I loved this about the boat.

The karma catches eddy's like it is it's job and maneuvers always staying on top of the water. I believe this is why it is so fast. The karma resurfaces really fast off falls and the bow does not dive into anything, it is always trying to stay on top. I noticed this the most on a triple drop on the big banana section of the alsaseca when I was the only one out of 6 tries to stay upright in the huge folding curtain. I also hardly got my hair wet on a drop called meat locker on the big banana section, This boat loves to be on top of water.

If you are looking to boof something, this is the boat for you. It is so easy to boof! I also had no problems with hard landings. Seems the rocker on this boat helps displace water on tall or hard landings. I had no hard landings up to 50'. If you miss your boof, the karma is very forgiving and will help you keep that nose up. You also won't get any unwanted spins or water playing with your stern while paddling down stream. If you have to roll, just do it. It is super easy to roll. If you haven't found one, you need to get in and try it. You will not regret it.

All in all, there was nothing I disliked about the boat. I had never paddled it until I arrived in Mexico and was smiling my way down the river. I am super fired up to paddle this boat in the 2013 season and beyond.

This is my 2 cents, hope everyone had a happy new year and if you're ever in Jackson hole look me up. Safe travels for 2013.

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Old 01-10-2013   #2
SYOTR, Tennessee
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 79
Good review but what exactly does "sit in a pocket" mean?
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Old 01-10-2013   #3
Gary E's Avatar
Jackson, Wyoming
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Sit in the pocket=The boat doesn't move off line unless you initiate a move or turn. It is not squirrelly at all and tracks great.

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Old 01-10-2013   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
Nice review Gary. I've got a brand new Karma sitting in the garage that hasn't seen the water yet. Looking forward to taking her out on the water. I loved my Villain, and I'm excited to try out the Karma. After studying the two boats and hearing rave reviews from multiple folks, I think Jackson has a solid evolution in its creekboat design.
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Old 01-10-2013   #5
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 537
So far I haven't heard anything negative about this boat... or what the trade offs are.

Compared with the other popular oats out there (which all excel at different things), what does the Karma not do as well?
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Old 01-10-2013   #6
Idaho Falls, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 5
Heard the karma sucks at squirt boating...just a thought. Unlike the recon the karma doesn't weigh enough to use as a medieval battering ram, so it sucks as that too. At 103 gallons this boat could make a significantly better trash can for all the beers BDP crushes. That's a feature you gotta consider when buying a boat.
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Old 01-11-2013   #7
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 508

Nice review. It is on my wish list. Beers, Atom...
action is the enemy of thought
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Old 01-11-2013   #8
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Rotorua, NZ
Join Date: Mar 2007
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What do you think about the fact it weighs 50# Gar? I think I'd hate to shoulder/ pack that thing into anything on the west coast or any of the cali runs... Thoughts?
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Old 01-11-2013   #9
Gary E's Avatar
Jackson, Wyoming
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Hey Paulie, I did carry it into some runs in Mexico. I mean most boats way 46/48 so the weight I really didn't notice. I mean the Nomad 8.5 is 49 pounds so either way you suffer in Cali.
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Old 01-13-2013   #10
BCxp's Avatar
Staghorn Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 147

I'm in my mid 70s and can carry the karma Large easy. The Karma is a nifty boat.
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