I wanted to wait until after getting off of the Green to write a review of the new Karma. I got to paddle with Nick, Dane, Clay, Zach, Kelsey, Joel, and more with the Karma, watching, talking to them, and comparing notes to what I am finding to get you this review..
I will rate some performance features from a 1-5 with a 1 being almost non-existent or poor and a 5 being as good as it gets with a 3 being average, a 4 being very good, and a 2 being below average. This is related to the creekboat category, (so for speed, for example- compared to a slalom boat it would be a 1 as it would be the slowest slalom boat, but it is the fastest creek boat, if that makes sense.)
Holding a line: 4
Stability/Ease of staying upright: 5
Getting over holes: 5
Punching through holes: 4
Carrying Speed out of drops (past holes): 5
Soft landings on big drops that are boofed: 3
Sizing available (3 sizes): 4
Paddles Dry (waves/holes stay off deck): 5
Storage capacity for overnighters: 5
Ease of Rolling: 5
OK- there you have a good idea of where its strengths are. Here are some thoughts on what kayak to buy now that we have the Karma out:
Jackson Kayak has a variety pack of river running/creeking boats now:
Hero, Villain, Zen, Fun Runner, and Karma… How do you decide? Here is how:
1. You Want the lightest weight boat you can river run in, but still surf, spin, squirt, and aren’t worried about catching edges, etc..: Fun Runner
2. You want the fastest, best surfing, lightweight, easy to paddle river runner that can also creek, but isn’t as good at keeping the bow dry, and doesn’t come in super size: ZEN
3. You want the easiest to turn, stable, comfortable, easy to boof, but not worried about speed kayak for tight creeks, and surfing isn’t critical: Hero
4. You want a displacement hull creeker that is easy to paddle, relatively fast, comfortable, goes over anything in its way, and is moderately stable: Villain
5. You want a super fast, stable, easy to roll, comfortable, creeker that goes over anything easily, boofs, turns, and carves and comes in small, medium, and Super Size: Karma
So many great choices for different styles. The Karma, however, is our newest and most advanced design for creeking so far. It combines the speed with the user-friendliness, and is sized perfectly so that everyone has a Karma in their size. It is really a joy to paddle and makes anyone smile more easily on the river or creek. This is the new standard in creek boats in its infancy today.
I look forward to my 2013 review of the Karma after a full season of awesome creeking in it! I can’t wait!