First Impressions – Jackson Kayaks Karma

First impressions Jackson Karma

The Jackson Karma is the newest creek boat in the Jackson line up. I picked up a Large from Western Canoe and Kayak in Abbotsford at the beginning of March. Did you know that they will ship boats to Victoria or Nanaimo under 14′ for 25$. Pretty sweet.
First off I am 6’2″, weigh an average of 195-200lbs, and have size 13 feet with a 33″ inseam. Comfort is one thing that is key, as is ease of outfitting.

For the past month and a half I have been paddling it down a variety of different rivers on Vancouver Island, from The Browns, Oyster, High water Gordon, High water Cameron, Koksaliah, Cowichan, Tsolum, Davie, Kaipit, Campbell, Catherine creek and rivers. It has seen a lot of variety.
First off the outfitting is simple but effective. With a quick flip you can add a bit of foam to the hip pads, cinch the back band through the cleats, pull your feet in tight and off you go. It is one of the first boats where my feet, size 13 remember, feel super solid.. even better than my L Villain, no cutting foam and this is with Keen Gorge Boots on.
Handling wise it was a bit different from my Villain, which I had for a year and a half before it went for a swim on the Middle Gordon River and disappeared, as it has a planning hull.

Dave paddling the Jackson Karma down the Davie photo by Micheal Redder

It has a very stable feel, great secondary stability and it carves into eddies amazingly well. For me, I have found that it paddles like a bit smaller of a boat then it is. Don’t get me wrong the, L Karma is a big boat. Measuring 9′ at 103 gallon with 28″ of width there is room to play with.
The Karma is fast, it holds a line well, however it will turn nicely. Having taken it down narrow steep creeks and larger higher volume rivers, it crosses the spectrum well. It is also nice for a bit of surfing if you happen to come across a nice wave. It has nice edge to edge control.
Jackson Kayaks also have one of the best bulkhead systems out there, in my opinion. With the removal of a piece of foam, and sliding out the foot plate you have access to the front of the boat, great for expedition paddling. One other great thing, which I have used a bit, is the Carry strap on the Bow bulkhead wall. A few hikes in BC and this system has made it easier.
Overall I have found the Karma to thus far be one of my favourite boats from class 4+/5 creeks to class 3 runs doing safety boating and instructing. It is Fast, Stable, Safe, Easy to Roll, have rolled it a number of times, and it is a dry boat.
I have attached one video from the Gordon river where the Upper Gordon Creek Race was held.
If you have any Questions about the boat feel free to e-mail me, check out Western Canoe and Kayak to see their selection of boats on offer, check it out on the Jackson website.

Most of all have fun and paddle safe.
See you out there.

Below are some of the key features from the Jackson Website

Some Key Features:
• Uni-Shock Bulkhead
• Carry Strap on Bow Wall for either right or left hand carry.
• Grey Sure-Lock Backband- 2013 model
• Grey Seat pad and hip pads
• New “O” Resin,  high density plastic- as seen on late 2012 models.
• Grey Stainless Steel/injection plastic overmolded grab handles- 4 of them, plus security bar.
• Boat Armor Outfitting- (Seat/seat Brackets, welded floor support, Thermo Uchannel, 4pound density walls, Uni-shock Bulkhead, and Thermo seat)
• Nalgene Water Bottle

Karma on the Gordon River

3 Responses

  1. What seat position are you finding works best?
    I just took my med karma out for its first go and put the seat 2nd from the back most postion but think it might even be better ALL the way back… Just my initial thoughts…
    And yes, the bulkhead design is cherry as once again it saved my ankles/knees after a bow punching hit during my Karma’s maiden run.

  2. I moved the seat position back one spot and so far I am finding that it is working for me. The nose pops up and allows it to turn quite quickly. I might have to change that when the boat is loaded but will have that figured out for the more in depth review in a couple of months. Yes, the bulkhead is sweet.

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