Jackson Fun Series Kayak Review

When the original Fun series was designed by Jackson Kayak in 2004 the goal was to make the most comfortable, easiest to roll, river running play boat available. The success of that model was based on achieving those goals. In 2007 we set out to improve that model and many people felt it was a futile goal, and that it was already the best on the market, so “why fix it if it ain’t broke”. Well, the verdict is in and without any doubts new Fun’s have solidified Jackson Kayak as the premier lineup of “Freeriding” kayaks. Freeriding isn’t the only term used for this category of boat, River running/play boat is the most often used term. What does that mean, exactly? It means that the Fun can run the huge water class V-VI Niagara Gorge and then hop in a hole and throw down as well as most other play boats. Keep in mind that the people doing the paddling in these videos are some of the best around(EJ, Nick Troutman, Clay Wright, etc).

Specs:

2Fun Fun 4Fun SuperFun
Length
6′ 2 1/2″
6′ 6″
6′ 9 1/2″
7′ 1″
Width
2′ 1/8″
2′ 1 1/4″
2′ 2 3/8″
2′ 3 1/2″
Height
1′ 7/8″
1′ 1 1/2″
1′ 2 1/8″
1′ 2 3/4″
Volume (gallons)
47
54
61 3/4
70
Total Range (lbs)
100-165
125-190
165-230
190-310
Ideal River Running (lbs)
100-145
125-175
165-210
190-260
Ideal Playboating (lbs)
120-165
145-190
190-230
210-310
Ideal Overall (lbs)
120-150
140-180
180-220
210-265
Boat Weight 27 Lbs.
29 Lbs.
31 Lbs.
33 Lbs.

Pros:

  • River running is simple- it is easy to paddle downstream. This must include, of course, that if you tip over, it is easy to roll up. The Fun’s are a staple boat for kayak schools to teach rolling out of nationwide.
  • The Fun is a great choice for someone who can only have one kayak. The average paddler can do a little bit of everything in this boat.
  • The sizing of the Fun series allows paddlers of all sizes and weights to be in the right boat. With the Fun 1, Fun 1.5, 2 Fun, Fun, 4 Fun, and Super Fun there is plenty of Fun to go around with six sizes.
  • Some of the key elements of the Fun that give it the river running prowess are a high parting line that prevents you from catching your edge, and a very stable hull that makes staying upright easier. The comfort factor alone for paddling all day without needing to get out of the boat is unmatched. Most people just like the fact that they can paddle comfortably and that their Fun’s are so lightweight.
  • Playboating- you don’t have to be a Stephen Wright, or Nick Troutman or Emily Jackson to take advantage of the playability of the Fun’s. If you are just learning to front surf, or graduating to the spin, squirt, or ender, or you are trying to get your first air loop, the Fun is there for you and won’t hold you back. While the longer stern of the Fun makes it harder to pop off the water for air blunts and other advanced playboating moves, it is enough of a play boat to win the 2007 Men’s World Cup in Canada and USA Team Trials.

The Fun has plenty of room in the knee, leg and foot area. There is a lot of volume in the stern as well. If you want a boat that has a similar Jackson style fit, but is easier to throw around, look at the Star series.


Sweet cheeks (not to be confused with a Happy Seat) come standard. The back band is adjusted with a prussik cord. The system is simple, strong, supportive and easy to replace.

Cons:

  • What does the Fun not do well? If you are a new boater and paddling on harder water that is rocky and has little play, you should consider a full on River Runner like the Hero series. The low volume characteristics of the Fun makes it less vertically stable when the water gets bigger. For expert boaters running the hardest big water it is a great choice. This is the boat that they chose to use on the Niagara Gorge for their big water run down one of the most impressive rapids anywhere.
  • The Fun is also harder to flat water cartwheel and do play boating in general compared to the Star series. If you are not going to be challenged by the river, there is no point in making the river easier. The Stars would do the trick.
  • The Stern has a low profile which is good for squirts and cartwheeling. Big water paddling requires attention to the stern to make sure that it does not catch.
  • The bow has a lot more rocker than the stern, which make cartwheeling a bit tougher than in a boat like an All Star.

The interior foot and leg area. The Fun comes with the inflatable Happy Foot bag.Ultimate comfort with support.

The Verdict:

The Fun series hit the water in 2004 and has been improving ever since. The interesting thing about this boat is that Team Jackson has used it for a very diverse range of activities. When they filmed “Here and Now” they chose to paddle the Funs down the Niagara Gorge, one of the most difficult big water runs in the world. In 2007 it also won the team trials in the Men’s World Cup. Besides being ultra functional in both river running and freestyle applications, the Fun Series happens to be very comfortable. The unique JK outfitting makes the boat very easy to outfit and outright plush. The downside to the Fun is that it is only 1/2 river runner and 1/2 play boat. The people that are paddling the Fun in extreme situations( Class V big water and World Cup Freestyle) are few and far between. The average paddler will most likely want to take a play boat (All Star, Biscuit, etc) into the hole and a river runner down hard whitewater (Hero, Mamba, Diesel, etc). If your a class III/IV boater that want a comfortable, light weight river runner that surfs, spins and does most freestyle tricks with ease, the JK Fun is worth taking a closer look at.


Here are some boat reviews that are comparable to the Jackson Fun Series:

Fun seriesJackson kayakWhitewater kayaks

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published