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Discussion Starter #1
i was looking into getting a new kayak. the karma and zen seem pretty identical. any suggestions about which to get.
 

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KARMA? OR ZEN?

Personally I prefer the Karma I love it! It's a great boat for beginners and experts for many reasons but mostly because it provides killer stability and is a boofing machine! The boat is very helpful at keeping you up right and wont let you down. It is also one of the FASTEST creekers available on the market 2 strokes and you're cruising at a speedy pace. The edges are very easy to learn how to use and use while yaking. That said the Karma often allows paddlers to cheat a bit with their edges and have an unreal reality of stability while in a kayak. I don't care though I love it! The Zen is a VERY edgy boat. Which is great for carving around the river but it's quite challenging to hold an angle. The Karma is basically made for ferries and the Zen is made to carve. The Zen is a bit smaller and has way less volume making it more compact. Either way both boats are extremely well made and reliable. It really just depends what kind of creek boat you are looking for. If you have any more questions about the Zen or Karma or any other Jackson Kayaks please let me know!!!!!!!!! If you are looking at other brands I would suggest the Liquidlogic Stomper as well as the Pyranha Burn III or the Wavesport Recon.
 

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Karma is #1

Get a Karma. You may want to read my review written last year at https://www.riversports.com/blog/ . Scroll down the blog page to find it. As far as the Zen and Stomper goes ... the new Zen is much better than the first generation model. Still the Karma is the best overall boat to own. The Stomper is far inferior to all the others you listed. It is not a terrible boat by any means, but does not score nearly as high in comparison to the others. Note: once you dial in the Karma for your weight and fit you should have the most enjoyment ever kayaking any class I-VI. The rivers are thumping now and going much higher. You better get your Karma now.
Cheers!
Ken
 

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Zen

I'd get a Zen. I paddle a Karma and love it but it does carry you through stuff without much edging needed. The Zen looks sweet and will make you a better boater.
 

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From K to Z for reasons Marshall suggests. Karma will be more forgiving and outperform on the super manly steep stuff.


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thank you, probably going with the karma. just wondering what size i should get. im 5'6"-5'7" and 190-200lbs without gear. also im planning on purchasing a happy set for it, i dont know how much they effect the sizing.
 

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I have the Karma you want for sale!

I have a medium Karma for sale that is in excellent condition. It is listed on Mountain Buzz under creek boats. At your height and weight you could go with either the medium or large.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ok ill check it out thanks. i wonder how tight a medium would be because id rather not go to a large if i dont have to
 

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thank you, probably going with the karma. just wondering what size i should get. im 5'6"-5'7" and 190-200lbs without gear. also im planning on purchasing a happy set for it, i dont know how much they effect the sizing.
I'd recommend the medium. Then experiment with finding the best seat position. I think it might be more forward for your weight. The best location (i.e.: "sweet spot") will noticeably provide the best stability, carving, and confidence when you find it..
 

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Karma Size

The happy accessories won't take up much space depending on how tight you want to be in your kayak by personal preference. Really compacted and tight in your boat Karma Medium, more leg room and room in general Karma Large. I'd highly recommend trying them both on in a retailer if possible or demo them if possible. Happy Paddling!!!!! May your new boat bring you great Karma! And don't let Karma flip on you literally haha.
 

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Dealers Son!

Not sure how close any of these are to Syracuse because I'm not from NY but here's a list of Jackson Dealers in the state! If you are ordering online though I would suggest my favorite local store Four Corners @ www.riversports.com
WHITEWATER DEALERS

Mountain Man Outdoor Supply Company
2855 NY-28, Old Forge, New York, 13420, USA
Phone: (315) 369-6672
Email: [email protected]
Website: Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company

Mountain Man Outdoor Supply Company
251 County Rd. 67, Saratoga Springs, New York, 12866, USA
Phone: 518-584-0600
Email: [email protected]
Website: Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company

Oak Orchard Canoe Kayak Experts
1350 Empire Blvd. (Rte. 404), Rochester, New York, 14609, USA
Phone: 585-288-5550
Website: Oak Orchard Canoe Kayak Experts - 1000 in stock on water try before you buy SALE new used; lessons, rentals, repairs; Yakima car and truck racks; Wenonah PFDs demo buffalo rochester ny

Oak Orchard Canoe Kayak Experts
2133 Eagle Harbor Waterport Rd, Waterport, New York, 14571, USA
Phone: 585-682-4849
Website: Oak Orchard Canoe Kayak Experts - 1000 in stock on water try before you buy SALE new used; lessons, rentals, repairs; Yakima car and truck racks; Wenonah PFDs demo buffalo rochester ny

Sacandaga Outdoor Center
248 Old Corinth Road, Hadley, New York, 12835, USA
Email: [email protected]
Website: Adirondack White Water Rafting, Tubing and Kayaking Trips

Sacandaga Outdoor Center
1 Whitewater Way, Hadley, New York, USA
Website: Adirondack White Water Rafting, Tubing and Kayaking Trips
 

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A few thoughts as somebody who has spent a lot of time in both the Karma series and Zens.
FYI - I'm 6'1" and 190 pounds. I have pretty long arms.

To a lot of people, the large Karma feels huge. I personally believe that the boat paddles well for it's size, and I find it to be pretty agile for being maybe the largest creekboat out there. The medium Karma is more roomy than some people think, my dad paddled it and loved it and he is my height but 215 pounds.

I would think you are in between sizes on the Karma, which can be kind of a bummer. But with that being said, the Karma is my favorite creekboat ever. Super forgiving, stable, easy to roll, boofs, turns, and accelerates well.

The Zen has some advantages though. For one, it's my opinion that the large zen would fit you perfectly. It's a faster boat. It also possesses harder edges which when used correctly, increases your performance in the river. But it's a higher performance boat. I believe you might roll just a bit more in this boat, but it rolls easy.

My instinct really really wants to tell you to use the Karma because it's seriously a fantastic boat, but at your size and with the class of whitewater you are trying to run, I'm going to suggest you try the large 2015 Zen. If you don't love it, try the medium Karma (you will have no problem fitting comfortably) followed by the large Karma.

You should post back and let us know what you thought.
 

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Karma in a med will be more than enough. Super forgiving yet responsive, as stated before, it's s boofing machine. I'm 6' 185 w/o gear, I almost went with a large but glad I went Med.


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I'm 5'6" and hit the scales at 185. 29" inseam and size 9 feet. I fit good in the small karma but weight it down and it drives like a slug. The large karma performs great but I feel swamped in the boat. I have to raise my butt 2+ inches! Just too big. MD karma was ok fit wise but still just ok at my weight in performance. I sure wouldn't want to be 10 lbs heavier.

The large zen (old style) was the best river runner of the bunch. Fast and stable. I didn't try a MD zen or a small zen.

The karma is the bee knees in steeps, but I got pushed around in the karma. Especially in big diagonal waves. And I think that the karma punches holes nicely but once your in the hole side ways. Hang on and enjoy the ride cuz your gona be there awhile.

The zen is better in the hole, in the big waves, and pushie big currents. I think the zen out performs the Karma in every way except the steeps!

If you are dropping water that falls over 80 feet per mile then Karma, anything less then the zen is the ticket!

IMO
 
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