Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo Review With Eric Jackson and Earl Richmond

After coming back from a few days of “business” at the Jackson Kayak Factory (which by the way sounds like the coolest place on earth), Earl Richmond(CKS owner) had one thing to say…”Paddling the Dynamic Duo with EJ was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in a kayak”. I could tell that his enthusiasm and vision for this new product was genuine, partly because of his excitement, but also because he has ordered 3 demo boats for CKS to use this summer. Here’s the scoop on the Dynamic Duo:

Specs:

  • Length:12 feet
  • Width:26.5 inches
  • Volume:142 gallons
  • 50-50 bow-to-stern volume ratio
  • 4 Fun Sized “Rocker” Style Cockpit in Stern (Up to 260 pound paddlers will fit)
  • Fun Sized “Rocker” Style Cockpit in Bow (Up to 200 pound paddlers will fit)
  • Stationary front seat and adjustable rear seat
  • Weight of boat is assumed to be 65 lbs
  • Assume total optimum weight range is 265-500 lbs for both paddlers and boat. Designed for optimum size/weight paddlers bow and stern, but to have good performance over a wide range of weights and distributions.
  • “Rocker” equivalent ergonomics for elbows and knees- very smooth and non-intrusive.

Pros:

  • The Dynamic Duo is incredibly stable and super easy to paddle. Keeping your strokes in sync with your partner is the key to success. The paddler in the back is the one steering the boat,and the one in the front is the throttle. In general, the more experienced paddler should steer the ship in the back. If you are taking a first time kayaker, or someone less experienced, they should go in the front seat.
  • The Duo is a great way to show someone the lines of a rapid without actually having them paddle it by themselves. You can see all of the eddies and “must make moves” from a safe spot.
  • This boat is very fast. Two paddlers and 12 feet of hull length make for some serious hole busting power. If you are paddling with others who are in K-1’s, you will have to wait up in the eddy for them quite frequently(you may need one of these trusty NRS Durasoft Coolers).
  • The Dynamic Duo is nearly impossible to flip. The front of the boat looks a little bit narrow, but the back is really wide. Stability comes from the back of the boat.
  • Rolling is surprisingly easy for a 65lb, 12 foot long boat. The paddler in the back can roll it with someone in the front…no problem. The trick to rolling the Duo is to have both paddlers set up for the roll on the same side of the boat. The person in the front will tuck, and put their paddle to the side of the boat (the same side as the person rolling in the back). The person in the back then rolls the boat. The person in the front can roll it too if they have a decent roll.
  • Easy to boof off of rocks and punch meaty holes.

Cons:

  • Price. The Dynamic Duo costs more than a standard K-1. It retails for $1599, which is a lot of $$$. It is less expensive than buying two new Jackson Hero’s though.
  • Weight. The Duo weighs 65 lbs. It is also 12 feet long, which can be challenging for for 1 person to load on a car or carry to the river(you can always drag it). On a side note, the overall weight of the Duo is less than carrying 2 separate boats. 65 lbs divided by 2 is 32.5 lbs. That’s about the same as an All-Star. Also, assuming that you are not paddling the Duo alone (dynamic soloing) two people should not have too much trouble loading/unloading the boat.
  • The paddler in the front of the boat is going to get really wet. Similar to rafting, the people in the front get the wet ride and the ones in the back stay drier.
  • It’s hard to paddle this boat alone, so you better have lots of friends to paddle with. Also, choose your paddle partners wisely because you are stuck with them all day.

What would Larry The Cable Guy Say?


Be sure to check out this video clip of the Duo’s running the Caney Fork. Class IV downriver playboating in a 12 foot long tandem kayak.


The Verdict:

The Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo opens up the world of whitewater kayaking for people that might not ordinarily get to experience it. The overall user friendliness of this boat makes it possible to give people a 1st person perspective (from the drivers seat) of the river. Learning to kayak by actually going through the motions, instead of watching someone else do it will raise the learning curve exponentially. The boat is a significant investment, but considering that you are getting two-kayaks-in-one, it is a worthwhile value. The outfitting is typical of JK, comfortable and user friendly. Besides being a superb learning tool, the Dynamic Duo is tons of fun for experienced paddlers as well. The boat can generate great hull speed and boof like a champ(see photo above).
Come to CKS Paddlefest and try one out for yourself. Ask EJ to take you down Pine Creek in one. You’ll never forget it…guaranteed.

Note:We heard rumors of the 1st Dynamic Duo loop from the Rock Island Hole. We’ll be sure to post YouTube clips and photos as soon as we get them. Check back soon!

Update: Here’s a video of some Duo R and D from Rock Island!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published