wildwildwes

JK Nirvana Promo Video

wildwildwes wrote 49 days ago:


Both the Medium and Large sizes of Jackson Kayak’s newest creeker are now rolling off the assembly line at the JK factory in good ole’ Sparta, TN!

If that does not increase your stoke level enough check out Rush Sturges’ full promo video to check out how hot this new design is with our JK Team…

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wildwildwes

Rahul’s Noli Gorge Antix

wildwildwes wrote 57 days ago:


Rahul Subramanian is a local paddler in the Tri-Cities area in Tennessee and a member of the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts club.  He started kayaking whitewater this past January and has come a long way in eight months.  His determination to progress safely while getting out on the river as much as possible is inspiring to many of the local paddlers in our area.  He was recently honored with the “APE’s Rookie of the Year” award for his many personal first descents and paddling progression throughout this paddling season.

I’ve had the pleasure to make several river trips with him this year.  We recently made a Nolichucky Gorge run together and he got to try out the Jackson Kayak Antix M from the Jackson Action Wagon on the run.  He had a blast surfing Jaws, running creek lines, rock spins, boofing, combat rolls, and rock grinds. #JKAntix

I’ll let his video highlight all the fun we had on this run…

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wildwildwes

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Reviews From J.A.W. Demos

wildwildwes wrote 82 days ago:


There is no doubt that the new JK Nirvana (http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/kayak/nirvana/) is getting a lot of hype right now.  It has been one of the most highly anticipated whitewater kayaks in 2017, since it’s announcement by JK back at Outdoor Retailer last year.  A beautiful Abyss colored 2017 JK Nirvana joined the Jackson Action Wagon fleet in late June and I can’t seem to keep it in the fleet long enough for me to give it a try…  I’ve had a waiting list of paddlers wanting to get a hold of the demo to check out what all the rave is about in this new design!  Give me a shout if you want to give this new design a GO!!

The JAW Nirvana has already seen a many runs by several different folks and I’m getting several great reviews on this boat.  Here are a couple of good non-biased reviews from non-sponsored paddlers I have received after a JAW demo:

Shaun Mullins’ Quick review of the new Jackson Kayaks Nirvana (medium)

Wesley R. Bradley was kind enough to let me be the first to demo the new Nirvana from the Jackson Action Wagon fleet. Below is my unprofessional kayaker thoughts about this exciting boat.

Pros:
It has really fast hull speed for a “short” boat. During the initial lake paddle, I was stunned at how fast it gets up to speed from a dead stop. Three strokes and you’re pretty much flying.

The speed downriver is unhindered by features that usually try to stall out other boats. Tremendous amount of lift from the bow/hull design at speed keeps you on top and mostly dry through all but the biggest waves and holes.

When the bow does go deep, it resurfaces very fast and stable – no unusual kicks to one side.

Really holds a line at speed – the faster you go, the more it seems to lock in. This should be great for downriver racing, as you will be less likely to get spun out or thrown off line as you encounter eddy lines and cross currents.

Turns easy though and holds a carve line with precision. Taking inside strokes on edge at speed results in controlled carving turns with a radius that is easily adjusted with just the slightest change in edging.

Surfs great! I was able to catch and surf fast green waves that I haven’t been able to catch in any other short boat. Plenty of rocker and bow lift kept the bow from pearling most of the time, even though this thing is 9′ long.

Boofing was nothing short of glorious thanks to that rocker profile, the ability to put the boat’s trajectory exactly on the line you want, and the speed.

The hull design lands a bit harder than other creek boats I’ve paddled, so that is something to consider on drops. This also means that the boat kind of has a “slappy” ride through rapids, although that is not really an issue.

Definitely one of the easiest boats to roll that I have experienced. I guess the narrow width and low deck height combine to make it a super easy roller. I know reviewers often say this, but this particular boat really surprised me.

One other surprising characteristic was that the boat was very stable through rapids and on features. Even though it is a “short race boat”, I never once felt like I was paddling an edgy, tippy specialty boat. It is very forgiving. Primary stability is good with the mostly flat hull profile, and secondary stability is good as well.

Cons:
On fast eddy out maneuvers, it has a great snappy turn-in, but about half way through the fast leaning carve, I noticed the wide, flat stern lift and the boat tended to want to straighten out. This resulted in blowing through a few smaller eddys. If I came in slower, this behavior was not an issue. But, at speed, it did this almost every time. I really had to pull a hard bow draw at the right instant to counter this and lock in to smaller eddys. But even then, compared to “standard” creek boats I’ve paddled, it was not as consistent in locking into position in small eddys. For me, this is a big deal for its creekability on really tight technical creeks like the ones in the Smokies where must make eddys are often micro-sized.

The Nirvana has an almost flat planing hull. This is a pro for high volume and most river running. But, it’s a con in my book for southeast creeking. This one is subjective I suppose, but in my experience, I much prefer displacement hull creekers. If I lived in the northwest or Cali, my opinion would be different. However, on the low volume, rock filled creeks in the southeast, I prefer a nice, smooth displacement hull with soft rounded edges (i.e. Jefe Grande, Newmad, Shiva).

Fit for me (6’2″ with 34″ inseam and size 14 shoes), was not ideal. The knee pockets are widely spaced and very low. I moved the seat around every way possible and could not get all the pressure off of the back of my thigh where it contacts the highest portion of the front of the seat. Also, foot room is barely adequate for me. I wore Astral’s Hi-Yak low profile booties and still had to jam my feet in there somewhat. Within 15 minutes, my legs were starting to get sleepy. I can sit in my other boats all day with no problem.

Verdict:
This boat will be a huge success for those wanting a short racing kayak, or a high flow speed creeking/river running machine. Dane and crew have already proven it’s ability in multiple events this year. It is also a killer boat for zipping around on big water and runs that don’t involve a lot of rock contact. Team Jackson has a winner on their hands for the right paddler on the right river.

But, for me at least, it won’t replace my Jefe Grande as a creek boat. Mainly because of overall comfort (leg position/footroom) and the Jefe’s ability to lock in to the most micro of eddys with relative ease, and to use rocks as just another way to get where you want to go with no surprises. And, the Jefe lands softer, boofs just as good, and handles steep boulder filled creeks with lots of rock contact with ease.

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Brian Vermillion’s Report on how the Jackson Kayak #JKNirvana compares to the Pyranha Kayaks #9r

On Saturday I had the chance to get a lap on the Upper Ocoee in Jackson’s newest creek/race boat, the Nirvana. I am a class 4/5 weekend boater, and for the last 2 years my go to creek boat has been the Pyranha 9r. So, the Nirvana seemed like a no brainer to test out.

The first thing I noticed about the Nirvana was the knee position…it’s low and wide. This is very different than what I am use to with my 9r, which sits with much higher and slightly narrower knee position. The Nirvana is 26.375” wide, while the 9r is 25.2” wide, thats only a 1.175” difference in width. Once on the water the knee position felt much better, and I didn’t really notice the extra width of the Jackson boat.

Much like the 9r, the Nirvana felt fast! Just a few strokes and the boat was up to full speed. The boat stayed at speed even through waves and eddy lines. Both boats are 8’ 11” long which is key to both boats speed. The 9r does feel a bit sportier and nimbler while zig zagging through the waves and rocks.

At Alien Boof the Nirvana lived up the hype and boofed like a champ. You can build so much speed before the lip that the boat just flies off the drop. Again, like my 9r the speed you build before the drop was carried out of the drop with ease. Both boats sterns load up well coming off drops and push you out like a watermelon seed.

Once in the Olympic section the Nirvana felt at home. It was stable and held a line with no issues. The 9r feels just as much at home in the big water as the Nirvana did. The extreme bow rocker of the 9r felt like it stayed on top of the water better than the Nirvana when driving through big waves.

When it comes down to it the Pyranha 9r and the Jackson Nirvana they felt very much the same. The boats preformed similar on both big water and on a few creek moves. The knee position and outfitting of the Jackson vs the Pyranha are the biggest differences for me between the 2 boats. Picking which boat is for you will be up to preference more than performance. But for me the higher knee position and narrower boat win out…..the Pyranha 9r will still be my go to boat.



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wildwildwes

Late Spring Heavenly Highland Whitewater

wildwildwes wrote 140 days ago:


This past winter and early spring was starting to look like we were not going to have much of a creek season in the southeast.  Warmer and dryer temperatures was the theme of the winter months in our region.  Then spring sprung and we had a few showers here in there in late March into early April that started getting an occasional run up to a runnable level for a day or so if you could catch it. 

At the end of April the weather changed and a more consistent heavy rain pattern started in the highlands region of northwest North Carolina and northeast Tennessee.  The highland area is centered in between Roan Mountain, Beech Mountain and Grandfather Mountain.  Out of this region flows some of the best rivers & creeks any Class IV-V boater would be thrilled to fire up such as: Watauga Gorge, Elk River Gorge, Doe River Gorge, Wilson Creek, Laurel Fork of the Doe, and the mighty Linville River Gorge.

  Running the bottom drop of Darwin’s Revenge on the Laurel Fork of the Doe. Photo by Matt Dalton.

I live only about 45 minutes to the center of this mecca of whitewater and we have truly been blessed with multiple option in the highlands region in late April and May.  I have been fortunate to catch many of these runs multiple times here lately and guide several first timers.

  Running Stateline Falls on the Watauga Gorge. Photo by Amos Ivey.

With all these local creeking options it has given me a chance to use both my trusty JK Karma Large and JK Zen Large on these runs back to back.  I still prefer my Karma for the harder steeper whitewater, but I love the sportiness of the Zen.  The extra buoyancy and boof ability of the Karma gets the job done well for me when I feel I need that extra safety net like on the Laurel Fork or the Elk.  However the Zen excels with speed and nimbleness in handling runs such as the Watauga and the Doe with the plethora of different moves and lines you can take on these runs.  The Zen also still amazes me at how well it stays on top of the whitewater despite my larger size.

Running the bottom drop of Groove Tube on the Laurel Fork of the Doe. Photo by Matt Dalton.

 

One of the highlights from this highland creek season was getting show down one of my best friends, Brain Vermillion, down the Elk Gorge as a birthday present with another best friend, Ryan Horn.  Check out Brian’s great video edit from the run:

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wildwildwes

After Work Doe River Gorge Goods

wildwildwes wrote 173 days ago:


Weekday after work runs are always a special treat for me.  Catching the Doe River Gorge at a good 750 CFS level is an even sweeter treat, because the take-out is only 10 minutes from my house!

Me and a group of 5 friends rallied earlier this week for delightful river trip in this under rated and hidden gem of a gorge!  Good times for sure with Todd Emma, Clay Landrum, Sarah Stine, Ryan Horn and Chris Clark on the Doe!! :-)

It was also nice to have a good place to take-out when we got to Hampton thanks to the partnership and work of the Elizabethton IDEAS Group and Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts Club in the development of the new river access site.

Congrats to Clay on his person first decent of this run and a nice video edit from the run!

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NoliFest Was Gnarly!

wildwildwes wrote 196 days ago:


The third annual 2017 NoliFest was so much fun on and off the river!  We were blessed with rain in the week leading up to the event and had some high river levels to enjoy the might Nolichucky River.  River trips were enjoyed by many paddling groups both in the gorge and on the lower .  We saw river levels from over 7,000 CFS on Friday to 2,400 CFS on Sunday!

There was lots to do off the river too for folks attending the event!  The vendor area was filled with many paddling and outdoor businesses/organizations representing.  Several tasty food vendors were on site.  There were many other activities going on throughout the weekend: One Wheel demos/race, SUP jousting, bands, trail run, kids nature scavenger hunt, SUP yoga & race, AT hike, kids fishing derby, fly fishing lessons & fireworks.  There was a  ton of fun to be had for sure!  USA Raft & Mountain River Guides did a stellar job of hosting and organizing everything!

The Jackson Action Wagon was proud to be a part of NoliFest again this year!  It has been amazing to watch this event grow each year!  The J.A.W. had a great demo/showcase event for Jackson Kayak on Saturday of the festival!  We raised $782 for Camp Bays Mountain in a raffle to give away a #JKAntix!! Congrats to Will Saylor as our lucky winner of the new boat.

Nolifest for the win! Enjoy this quick recap video and see you next year:

https://www.facebook.com/Nolifest/videos/1895198834090776/

#nolifest



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james

2016 Tallulah Race Results, Video & Recap

james wrote 337 days ago:


Sponsored by

 

The race started in the river right eddy beside the wooden launch ramp at the bottom of the 660 steps to get down into the gorge.  The finish line was the confluence of the river into Tugalo Lake.  The race course was 1.54 miles long through all the major rapids of the Tallulah Gorge and dropped 413 total vertical feet.  The race was a time trial event in which each racer was started in one minute intervals.  There were 35 spots open for boaters to apply and qualification for the race was based on past experience at the Green Race, the Lord of the Fork race, and Tallulah Gorge experience.  A total of 33 racers gave this race a go!

Top 3 Men:

  1. Pat Keller – Stinger - 10:27
  2. Zach Fraysier – Karma Unlimited – 10:32
  3. Brad McMillan – Green Boat – 10:37

Top 3 Women:

  1. Adriene Levknecht – Green Boat – 11:08
  2. Rowan Stuart – Green Boat – 12:19
  3. NA



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tommygunn

2016 Tallulah Race Results, Video & Recap

tommygunn wrote 337 days ago:


Sponsored by

 

The race started in the river right eddy beside the wooden launch ramp at the bottom of the 660 steps to get down into the gorge.  The finish line was the confluence of the river into Tugalo Lake.  The race course was 1.54 miles long through all the major rapids of the Tallulah Gorge and dropped 413 total vertical feet.  The race was a time trial event in which each racer was started in one minute intervals.  There were 35 spots open for boaters to apply and qualification for the race was based on past experience at the Green Race, the Lord of the Fork race, and Tallulah Gorge experience.  A total of 33 racers gave this race a go!

Top 3 Men:

  1. Pat Keller – Stinger - 10:27
  2. Zach Fraysier – Karma Unlimited – 10:32
  3. Brad McMillan – Green Boat – 10:37

Top 3 Women:

  1. Adriene Levknecht – Green Boat – 11:08
  2. Rowan Stuart – Green Boat – 12:19
  3. NA



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bozemankayaker

2016 Tallulah Race Results, Video & Recap

bozemankayaker wrote 337 days ago:


Sponsored by

 

The race started in the river right eddy beside the wooden launch ramp at the bottom of the 660 steps to get down into the gorge.  The finish line was the confluence of the river into Tugalo Lake.  The race course was 1.54 miles long through all the major rapids of the Tallulah Gorge and dropped 413 total vertical feet.  The race was a time trial event in which each racer was started in one minute intervals.  There were 35 spots open for boaters to apply and qualification for the race was based on past experience at the Green Race, the Lord of the Fork race, and Tallulah Gorge experience.  A total of 33 racers gave this race a go!

Top 3 Men:

  1. Pat Keller – Stinger - 10:27
  2. Zach Fraysier – Karma Unlimited – 10:32
  3. Brad McMillan – Green Boat – 10:37

Top 3 Women:

  1. Adriene Levknecht – Green Boat – 11:08
  2. Rowan Stuart – Green Boat – 12:19
  3. NA



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wildwildwes

2016 Tallulah Race Results, Video & Recap

wildwildwes wrote 337 days ago:


Sponsored by

 

Get the complete Tallulah Race 2016 results and recap with video edit from Jack Orr, photos and more at http://regions.worldkayak.com/tri-cities/2016/11/15/2016-tallulah-race-results/



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