Exclusive Interview: Clay Wright Reviews The 2011 Jackson Rockstar

Clay Wright Q and A session on The 2011 Rock Star

1.)What are the main differences from The Star Series?

How is the Rock Star different from the All-Star? Faster and looser by far, harder carving and at really diagonal angles to the current, easier and smoother to cartwheel, wider, shorter, and taller. The bow feels slicier, the stern much more substantial because it's a bit wider and has 2 extra gallons for extra pop on back loops. You really feel the difference when you cartwheel as it's a much smoother and balanced transition when linking end for end. A couple 'lean clean' drills and you'll see the difference right away. The boat is shorter and higher volume but it paddles as if it's longer and slicier till you snap down a big loop.

2.)What is the deal with having the seat higher (Sweet Cheeks 200)?

Many of the Team have been using Sweet Cheeks 200's in the All-star for added leverage and we've found it makes the boat 'feel smaller' overall .. by raising your center of gravity you add leverage to your smash, edge to edge transitions, and more 'snap' to your loop stroke. It allows smaller people to paddle a larger, faster, more retentive boat yet still throw it around. Now think of the potential to design a boat to be paddled this way right from the start.... Suddenly we can shorten and rocker the bow without losing foot room, stretch the planing surface for looser surfing and more speed, and add 3 gallons to a boat that's still designed for midsized paddlers to throw around like a pool toy. That's the Rock Star - a bigger, faster, looser, shorter and more retentive boat for the same size paddler as the All-star.

3.)How will this affect play and down river paddling?

You'll feel the higher center of gravity at first, but the edges and ends have been raised to match so i find it feels more stable overall. The extra flotation helps keep you level and on the surface when running rapids so it feels faster in big water in particular.

4.)How's The Rock Star downriver? Lots of paddlers in CO and other places like to paddle downriver to get to the best play spots. What can they expect?

While you might not want to put on Pine Creek your first day, your rolling and bracing will adapt to the extra height off the water within a few trips and just about everyone will appreciate the extra flotation provided by the larger stern. I often paddle a Super-Star on the Dries of the New for the added speed and flotation but in the Rock Star I felt right at home. I'm not saying it's a more forgiving river runner for everybody but if you have good balance and fall towards the upper end of the weight range for an All-star you will instantly appreciate the changes for downriver paddling.

5.)Can you give us a rudimentary explanation of the design changes?

  • Completely new rocker profile for more speed and pop
  • Slicier bow for easier vertical tricks
  • Extra planing surface and volume to make it looser on the wave and more retentive in a hole
  • 2 extra stern gallons for bigger back loops and smoother, more retentive cartwheeling
  • Higher center of gravity to make getting vertical or aerial as easy as in a smaller boat
  • Flatter hull with edges and sidewall tuned for aggressive carving and precise edge control

6.)Can you list some pro's and cons?

Pros: in short, the higher center of gravity makes the most of your muscle so you can paddle a poppier, looser, and more retentive boat yet cartwheel it easier. Cons: higher center of gravity takes getting used to when rolling and bracing, more directional and faster to travel when edging so you have to be sure you are headed the right way when you drop em, extra rocker in the bow changes the timing on loops. Specifics:
  • Faster hull so you can surf more green, less foam
  • Looser hull - stays on plane longer when the wave goes flat, spins and helix's easier, the grinding is SO smooth
  • Slicier bow is easier to cartwheel, lean clean, or carve into Mcnasty's and Phonics Monkeys
  • Better balance for smoother cartwheels, easier to link clean ends lunar orbits and tricky Wu's
  • Loops bigger - again
  • Back loops WAY bigger
  • Carves more aggressively
  • Rocks up on the bow easier for taller Mcnasty's and backward tricks.

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