Customer Review:John Amtmann Reviews The Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo

We Love Ruby Red

I ordered my red Dynamic Duo, which we affectionately named Ruby Red, in December and it arrived in March, 2009, which was perfect because it gave us a few pool sessions in early April to practice on her before we started hitting the river, which in Butte, Montana is usually late April. The Dynamic Duo (DD) is about 12 feet long, width is about 26 inches, weight is about 65 pounds with a volume of about 142 gallons.

The reason I bought the Dynamic Duo was because I have found the Jackson boats to be unmatched in quality. What I like most about the DD is its’ comfort and ease of adjustment for different paddlers. The system for adjusting the bulkhead is simple! It literally takes us about 6 seconds to adjust from one paddler to the next – a simple pull of a cord to adjust and a push of the cord to lock in place; same simple process for the back band.

The Dynamic Duo is fast! “Dad, are we gonna surf that wave?” is something I love to hear from one of my co-pilots, my 8 year old daughter Devin. There are several good waves on the Big Hole River that I can’t surf on my shorter kayaks, so paddling the DD is like being in surf heaven for the waves that require a faster boat, one in particular we call “Easy Rider” and Devin has developed a feel for it earlier than my other daughters who had to figure it out on their own.

The Dynamic Duo is stable, it can blast big waves. The DD is maneuverable; maneuverable enough to negotiate technical sections of whitewater. Usually “stability” and “maneuverability” are mutually exclusive terms when talking of whitewater kayaking performance. However, the DD is mobile enough to have completed the full slalom course at the Blackfoot River Challenge (June 20-21st, 2009) in grand fashion. Aidan, my 12 year old daughter, and I were the only pair to have run the course without missing a gate – because of her skills, not mine.

Every time we are on the river we practice our rolls, depending on the temperature, at least four or five on each side. We’ve never had to do a combat roll in the DD, however we have taken a swim, which was my biggest concern. If we swim, and it’s eventually going to happen, how hard is it going to be to get my daughter and this boat to shore? It happened about a month into this season – mid May. We had just done a practice roll, but it was a little shaky: “Dev, let’s do another one, that felt shaky, okay?” “Okay.”

We missed it, then we missed another. We tried two more but we were not in synch and missed both of them. I was running out of breath and figured Devin was already out of breath so I pulled and started swimming towards where Devin would be coming out – I saw her pop up. She was a little scared – it was her first swim.

“No problem, just swim towards me,” I said.

“Don’t worry about your paddle Dev, I’ll get it!” said Hannah, my 10 year old daughter. We had practiced our swimmer scenarios a number of times and it was paying off.

I got the paddle and boat in one hand, Dev swam toward me and held on to my lapel and we both swam to shore as Hannah followed with Devin’s paddle. I hadn’t swam in years – it was good for my soul, and I was happy to be with Devin in the water during her first swim!

“What an adventure!” I said, but Devin was surprised that her first swim hadn’t been more adventuresome.

“My feet got a little cold, but that’s about it,” she said.

We (uh, I) dumped the boat – with the drain holes in each cockpit as well as a drain plug it was an easy task, got back in and practiced a couple more rolls and headed down. Having the Jackson Hero float bag in the stern and a couple of split float bags in the bow probably helped make that swim as easy as it was.

We love Ruby Red! Thank you Jackson Kayak and Colorado Kayak Supply!!!

John, Kelly, Aidan, Hannah and Devin Amtmann

All original photography courtesy of Dolan McDonald

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