The 2011 Jackson Kayak Hero Review with Clay Wright

The Jackson Hero is being completely redesigned for 2011. We wanted to know what the differences are between it and the 09′ model. Clay Wright helped design this boat, and has also paddled it a bunch. Here is a quick Q and A with him:

Clay Wright behind the wheel. Nobody knows paddling better than this guy. Ok, maybe EJ.

Specs:


2011 Hero Promo Video

1. What are the differences between the 2009 Hero and 2011?

The 2009 Hero was designed as an uber-forgiving river-runner and entry level kayak with the sporty length and surfy planing hull of our best-selling Fun model. EJ and David Knight jacked the deck way on up for volume and rock-solid secondary stability. About half our Team started creeking in it, running big water expeditions, and touring a world with an 8′ max length limit on all public transportation. I chose it for creeking because it’s more like paddling my All-star and suits my rock-spinny / freewheeling / surf style better than the longer Rocker. OK – and because it was lighter and easier to carry….
For the 2011 Hero not only did they narrow the knees, soften the edges, and add extra primary stability many top kayak instructors recommended; but also spread the rocker out and kicked up the bow as the hard-cores demanded.

Boof and resurface testing.

2. Why would someone want to upgrade from the 09′ to the new one? Why is it better?

For river-running or entry creeking the 09 Hero’s go no problems so any upgrade would be for the lower, narrower knees that make paddling forwards more convenient. But for those who want an easier boofing boat as confident on low volume steeps as the Villain but even more sporty and playful … this new Hero fits the bill.

3. Why would a new customer want to consider a Hero as a river runner over other boats? What boats should it be compared to? The Burn and Diesel? Or Detox and Ammo?

This new Hero is shorter like an Ammo but fuller volume than even a Burn, so you get the short, surfy, planing feel ( like an Ammo without the cartwheels) but in a creek-ready package. If anyone remembers the Micro 230 … one of my favorite boats of all-time . . imagine it with a stable planing hull and modern outfitting and you’ve got the picture.

Similar to a Micro 230, but with a planing hull and modern outfitting. Clay used to be pretty comfy in the Micro back in the day.

4.What type of paddler will want to check out this boat? What others may want to look at Villain or Fun?

I’m stoked to teach people their first kayaking lesson on this boat, as the stability and easy-rolling nature will keep them progressing instead of swimming and the short length and planing hull will keep them from spinning out on every eddyline like the longer boats so many instructors choose for themselves. Playboaters should demo one and see how much more fun the Hero is than any longer, rounder boat while creekers who hike for their turns should pick one up an see how nice it feels walking up the trail.

Emily taking the new Hero for a ride.

5.Since you obviously have access to all JK boats, which runs will you be paddling the hero? big water? creek? instruction?etc….

I’m pretty fired up on the Hero for everything, then maybe the Super-hero for longer more isolated runs when i have to take more gear. At 175 I’m pushing the top end of the Hero once you add lunch. But we’ll see, because the longer Villain S is so fun to drive and no slouch in any category. I’m choosing the Hero for everything now because it’s sporty enough to make running the SEastern creeks I’m familiar with more fun and because there’s just no learning curve even when I’ve been paddling a Rockstar every day for the last 3 weeks. What this means for most people is that it’s fun to drive and easy to paddle but super-solid even in extreme conditions. Now if it would just stop snowing!

The Hero has been tested on lots of stout runs and drops. It also makes a great learning boat and river runner. It's stable and forgiving.

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