Nov 7, 2013

Fun Running the Grand Canyon


I had the opportunity to paddle the Grand Canyon this spring with some long-time friends and good paddling buddies. I find it hard to summarize, so, just... go see it. Paddle it. My words will fail to capture the magnitude and richness the Canyon holds. And this is most certainly a trip you should do before you die... well before then if possible. Boredom will never occur and you won't ever wish the trip were shorter.

Kyle, being himself. love ya, buddy
Kyle and Karen

In the months leading up to our spring launch, I debated which kayak to bring. I liked the volume of the Karma and it's what I paddle most. A Rock Star would've been a lot of fun too, surfing monster waves and driving deep into some of the Canyon's big holes. In the end, I wanted to maximize my paddling time in the Canyon driving one boat that could do it all, even the boils and flatwater. Fun was definitely a priority, too! Since this is a river runner's paradise with big glassy waves pretty much everywhere, I picked the Jackson Kayak Fun Runner for my perfect Canyon craft. The first thing I noticed (having never paddled it before) was the Fun Runner is fast and effortless to paddle. It's long water line keeps it fast, while hard chines, combined with a perfect rocker profile keep it nimble and super responsive. I was able to surf the first wave at the top of EVERY rapid in the Grand!! Nearly impossible in the Rock Star and work for the Karma. I was able to carve into and out of eddies (even tiny boily ones) predictably. And I can't say enough about how effortless and smooth this boat is to paddle. It really is perfect.

scout at Lava Falls

Of course the JK outfitting leaves nothing to be desired either. A quick-synch backband and bulkhead, along with form fitted thigh braces and a hull with ZERO penetrations means not one drop of river filth will get in to your hermetically sealed whitewater steed. Did I mention it even has a... beverage stow? What more could be desired of a boat?? Okay, okay.. yes, it even comes with a GoPro mount, factory installed. Sick!!

a weird 'watery' panorama shot
day 4: the inhibitions begin to fall away

Overall, this kayak had everything I was hoping for. I wanted a fast boat that could hold a line and was responsive. I wanted it to surf well, spin and cartwheel. Not only that, I wanted a boat that could provide a stable rescue platform to comfortably paddle swimmers away from danger or get into tricky spots if I needed to set up an anchor or something like that to unpin a raft.The Fun Runner has that in spades. And if you're looking for a little more stability, little less play?? the Fun Runner comes in different sizes. Sick!! Should you want even more predictability/stability... check out the JK Zen which is more downriver/creek style while less playful.

day 8: people start feeling... more comfortable

In the end, the Fun Runner really was a great boat to rock down the Grand. It'll be my choice for next time. So good!! If you're looking for more than just park-n-play...  or a river runner who can handle a mutli-day, the Jackson Fun Runner might just be the ticket.

Red Wall Cavern
impromptu performance in the Red Wall
a truly magical wonderland you must experience first hand
Stay tuned for more blogs on the Grand. I have nearly 6000 photos I'm going through. Here's to next time y'all... Cheers!

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