Joe Keck Reviews The Jackson Kayak Villain

Joe Keck Reviews The Jackson Kayak Villain

Well, fall is here. It’s always a time to look back at the kayaking season’s great memories and triumphs that we’ve had on the river. At the end, I always think back about my gear that was all shiny and new at the beginning. Did it work as advertised or is it time to try something new next spring? Well, one piece I loved all summer was my new Jackson Kayak Villain. I am a big fan of the Rocker and last winter I waited in trepidation for EJ’s newest take on the creek boat. My first few runs in the large Villain this year were on Escalante Creek. The initial impression was that the boat was fast, really fast, the fastest creeker that I had paddled. The large Villain has more volume and is longer than my trusty Rocker, but it boofs just as easily. I relate the superb boofing ability to the increased speed of the hull.

Next, the Mank Crew started making trips down to the ultra-classic Embudo. The new hull proved itself to be just as forgiving down the rocky desert funnel as the Rocker had for years before. Thankfully, she also proved easy to roll! Later in the season, my boat and I tragically found ourselves in Texas. No matter because we joined a crew for the first descent of Bear Creek Falls!

The Official Jackson Kayak Promo video.


  • Extremely fast. It’s a huge improvement over some of the other hulls on the market.
  • Boofs really well because it holds lots of speed over drops.
  • Has a huge amount of storage space behind the seat and in front of the bulkhead for multi-day trips.
  • I loved the foot room. I’m 6’2” with size 11 feet, so I have a hard time fitting real creeking shoes into most boats. The large Villain was comfortable right from the warehouse with the full 3” thick foam in the front.
  • Even with the increased length, the boat maintains Jackson Kayaks motto of creating quick forgiving hulls that are easy to roll.
  • I continue to love the Jackson Kayak outfitting with the uni-shock bulkhead. If you piton, the outfitting with take most of the energy and distribute it. I have personally tested this feature from 18’ high. The Villain also has no screws through the hull and remains one of the driest boats on the market.
  • The cross-link plastic is still going strong!


  • The new Villain comes with one less attachment rope in the stern, which makes multi-day packing a little tighter. This is easily fixed with a few carabiners.
  • I didn’t get enough days in it this year!

The Verdict:

The new Villain rocks harder than Stevie Ray Vaughan playing Texas Flood!It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” Cheers from Texas and I’ll be off to the Southeast soon for more product testing!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

About Us

We're a group of whitewater kayak, raft, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts committed to stocking the highest-quality gear and deliver it to you as quickly as possible.

Learn more about us

Don't Forget About These

What else are we up to?

View all
Down and Dirty: 9 Items You Need for Your Dry Suit Repair Kit

Down and Dirty: 9 Items You Need for Your Dry Suit Repair Kit

GearJonny Ortiz
Whitewater dry wear is the largest apparel investment any boater can make. For those who want to extend the life and use of their dry suit (or dry top), it's best to keep a dry suit repair kit on hand. Read our 9 recommendations for the best dry suit repair kit!
Whitewater Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Whitewater Kayak Paddle Buying Guide

Jonny Ortiz
Choosing the right paddle for whitewater kayaking can be daunting with all the available paddle options to consider. We are here to help! ...
All Aboard the Love Boat!

All Aboard the Love Boat!

Benjamin Thornton

Have you ever had a tough time convincing your family that your black eye isn't that big of a deal? Or spent an hour explaining to your Tinder date the difference between "homeless" and "houseless," just so they would understand why you brought them back to a tent in the woods? 

If you answered yes to either of these things, hopefully this blog can help avoid some of those awkward conversations!