The All-New Rockstar

There is so much excitement around the New Rock Star that it is easy to get caught up in the hype.    The competitions are being dominated by Team JK in these boats like we have never dominated events before.    It is so obvious to anyone watching people compete and play that there is a huge advantage to having the new Rock Star.  We have had that advantage before, but never so obvious or so large.   It was at the GoPro Games, where we got our new Rock Stars the day before the competition (during the Homestake Steep Creek Race, so we didn’t even get to train in them other than one time that night) and everyone got one try to see if they wanted to compete in them.   I didn’t really expect that every boat would be getting used.   I had 6 of them sent to Vail (by hand deliver and FedEx).   Dane, for example, paddles a Carbon Star and the Rock Stars are all medium size, a bigger boat for him.   Jason Craig was in the same shoes.    However, after their first ride, both of them had an amazing smile on their faces and were hooked!


“Come on EJ, what more can you do to improve a playboat,  isn’t this just semantics?   It can’t be that much better, can it?   What if that was the attitude about microprocessors?     The Pentium 1 was amazing in its day- how much faster does it need to be?   Well, few of our programs could run today with a processor like that today and the constant innovation in that industry has made everything easier for us to use.    Kayaks are the same way.

David Knight and I spent a great deal of time making sure that we didn’t leave anything on the table in the hull design.

Hull Shape:  The first key to a great boat is that it must make strides in the right direction with innovations not currently available.    The second key is that those innovations need to be usable by anyone.   The most inaccurate idea that many people involved with kayak manufacturing have is that what works best for an expert doesn’t translate to a beginner.    For a playboat the reality is that if you can make the boat do tricks easier for the best in the world, it will do it easier for somebody trying to learn those tricks.      This new hull shape is the next generation- a big incremental step, but a step in the same direction as we have been going for our full on playboats.     Read the details about the hull on the product page to learn what we did with it.


Already I am finding myself way more retentive in the holes or on the waves.  The shorter, lighter, stiffer, looser boat completes moves faster and easier.    If the last Rock Star rotated 180 degrees in the air, for example, the new one rotates 200 degrees and completes the moves with ease.

The hull shape takes after the 2013 All-Star, our best hull ever.   The last Rock Star had a very good hull shape, but this Rock Star is two generations better!     It is faster for edge to edge on a wave, easier to take off and faster surfing.    Combo moves are much easier as the boat pops off the water with less energy allowing you to throw without having the perfect set up.


Hole Surfing is another major step forward.   With the World Championships coming in September our goal was to have a boat that can throw moves lightning fast, stay retentive, and combo easily.    All while being able to go huge when desired.   The new volume distribution makes the cartwheels smoother and easier to initiate, while the high parting line at the hips and added volume around the cockpit rim adds final stability which makes throwing moves easier by being more balanced.   The boat is a joy to loop because it goes up fast, rotates fast, and lands retentively.


Flatwater is fun again, really fun!    Whether you are learning to get your boat vertical for the first time, or like to link ends, do loops, etc. the new Rock Star is the easiest flatwater boat we have ever made!


Playparks and Shallow Water-  being that it is the shortest boat on the market, and it doesn’t stick down in the water as far when vertical it is ideal for shallow water paddling.     Low water play is a joy again!


Internal Innovations…  Oh yea… it gets even better!!

2014 Rock Star- Standard– 3 pounds lighter than most playboats.

We have what we are calling our standard model, even though there is nothing standard about it!

We improved the stiffness of the hull support track making the boat faster and looser and wears better.

We also designed a new hip pad system called the “Hip Locker” which creates more hook by having plastic plates attached to the seat that hooks over your hips better when you put in shims to tighten it up.  The hip pads now move with the seat as well.

The Sweet Cheeks have been tweaked to provide more bucket and stick you in the seat better.

The new backband shape is perfectly balanced to keep you in the boat nicely, but allow it to move with your body with no stress on your back.

The knee pockets are deeper and the hook for your thighs more aggressive.

My favorite, the Happy Feet is standard, but our foam foot block/shims are also available for no charge if you prefer!


2014 Rock Star Competition-

Taking things to a whole new level!   6 pounds lighter than most playboats (3 pounds lighter than most JK playboats)


I worked with my father, Jim Jackson, on developing the internal components of the new Competition model to be the lightest, stiffest, and most functional we could come up with.    For those of you who don’t know, my father has been a design engineer for 55 years working in many fields and was one of the first pioneers of CAD design as well as working with composites.     Working with him on this project was a dream come true for me.    The results are in the kayak!


The Goods:

Carbon/Foam Core/glass- hull support track is the foundation that the boat is built upon.

It comes with a new lightweight seat design that cuts down on extra surface area, and interfaces cleanly with the Carbon track with a simple thumbscrew adjustment as you are used to with JK boats.

The vertical supports are redesigned to be stiffer and lighter, and also interface cleanly with the Carbon Track.

The grab handles are lightweight aluminum to keep swing weight to a minimum.


Benefits of going even lighter and stiffer?   Faster, looser hull, bigger air in a hole or wave, and faster rotations for completing moves and making things easier.


It is nice seeing that beautiful carbon track in the hull of the boat too!!


Look for me on the water with my competition Rock Star in Idaho at the Payette River Games today and on the Ottawa next week!  Ottawa with the Competition Rock Star- OMG!!!  I can’t wait!

See you on the River!