By Eric Jackson
James McBeath shows his childhood excitement for our newest whitewater design!
1997 World Champion in Freestyle sees a new whitewater future in the MixMaster!
Rafa, well, he likes the Beasty Boys, and while he hasn’t paddled this boat, is fired up for it! It is cool to see the reactions to this new design by new school and old school boaters!
Did you know that there is a slicey boat craze going on out there? A grassroots phenomina that is being perpetrated by young and old paddlers alike across the country and world. Why? It has been so long since the super low volume, wing shaped plastic kayaks have been available that most younger paddlers, or paddlers new to the sport (started in the past 10-12 years) have never had the opportunity to paddle this way.
Yes, there are squirt boats out there, but they are very specific, glass boats, designed primarily for going underwater and don’t paddle like the slicey boats of the late 90’s. What is the attraction? Freestyle kayaks like the Rock Star are the best boats to paddle for aerial moves, and fast snappy moves in holes and on a wave, as well as down river. However, the boats are so short, you don’t have a “wing”, you are not down in the water with your body and you don’t have time to use the waterflow in your moves the same way you can in a slicey boat.
When we, at Jackson Kayak, decided to make the MixMaster we had some specific goals in mind and a type of paddling that is missing from today’s modern boats. I will, with my words, do my best to give you the visual of what I am talking about, so you can imagine yourself doing it, until you can get your own MixMaster this December or January.
Learning vertical moves, easily- while the Rock Star takes less energy to get vertical than a longer boat if you have the right technique, the MixMaster is much easier to learn it in and gives you more margin for error and rewards a little effort. Example: If you want to get vertical on the boat, you don’t need to learn the double pump, you can just paddle forward fast and then lean way foward until the bow goes underwater, then paddle forward, keeping the boat straight until you are vertical! This is the easiest way to learn a bow stall. Also- since the bow is low volume, and longer, your body is in the water or very close and the surface area of the bow keeps things moving slowly and allows you to learn to balance much easier. The same goes on the stern.
Balancing on either end is much easier than a modern playboat, because of the lesser volume and longer ends. This makes squirting much easier and a different experience. You begin to treat then ends like wings that you can fly around underwater and fly into position. A modern playboat has too much volume and not enough wing to squirt around low angle, for example without it just bobbing to the surface.
splats are slower and easier, cartwheels are slower and easier and in a hole there is something fundamentally different about them…
In a playboat, your body is not in the water becasuse the ends and middle of the boat have so much volume that it supports your body just above the surface. This means that the only part of the boat that is keeping you in the hole is the boat in the foam. With the MixMaster, the volume is much lower and it allows your BODY to be in the water, and the foam pile going upstream pushes on your body and keeps you in the hole better. I am more retentive in the holes that are perfect for a MixMaster in the smaller size than the larger one for me! It is counter intuative, but we designed our boat to maximize that. A Happy Thruster, for example will mean you flush MORE, not less out of pure holes. For Wave/holes, the bigger volume is more retentive.
Wings- One of my favorite moves that I haven’t been able to do in many years is the “Stone Cold Stutter”. Back in 2000 when Jay Kincaid showed me the Macho Move and I showed him the Stone Cold Stutter, we the names were reversed. I showed him my slicey boat move and was calling it the Macho Move. We switched names that day and the Macho Move, today, was my name, but Jay’s move. He took my name, and I took the name Stone Cold Stutter (Jay’s name) and applied it to my move. This move is the best example of how the boat truly has wings. You Squirt the boat under the foam pile of the hole into the green water and then control the angle of attack of the wing as the water rushes over the edge of it. You are blasting, but 90 degrees to the water…. You can do it on the bow and stern and it becomes quite addictive if you get one.
On the Gauley River we had many people come to our booth who were quite excited to see this boat and a few were able to try it out and are in line for getting one for themselves! I got to paddle with Dane for two days in the MixMaster and we switched out between the 7.1 and 7.5 sizes. In the end both Dane and I preferred the smaller size due to the ease of throwing around.
- Watching Dane link 5 tricky woos together with a Lunar Orbit at Hungry Mother, something he couldn ‘t do in any other boat.
- Doing slow splat-wheels in a corner pocket hole, something that wouldn’t work in a short boat.
- Doing double pirouettes to splats, and splat wheels below Pillow Rock.
- Doing Mystery moves at Mailbox slot, hungry mother, above the takeout, below insignifigant, and more.
- smooth, timed wavewheels with easy balancing
- linking LOTS of ends at a variety of places.
- Stone Cold Stutters on bow and stern and linking them together.
- Cross-bow pirouttes on the bow.
- endless splats on bow and stern.
We are getting this boat ready for production now in two sizes- the 7.1 and 7.5
For a referance point on sizing:
Max Size for each- “if you can fit you can paddle it!”
7.1- 32″ 10.5 foot- 180 pounds
7.5- we had one guy with a 36″ inseam and 14.5 foot, but he was crammed in. 36″ 12.5 foot is reasonable without modifying the footbump. 240 pounds will find it very squirty, 180 pounds will find it river runs nicely and still easy to get vertical. 200 is a sweet spot! With all of that said, it depends what you want the boat to paddle like. If you want a bigger boat, easier to river run in, and just want to squirt on the stern- the Antix is a better option. If you want to be “one with the water”and know that it will be edgy, squirty, and getting vertical is your goal, this is your boat and the smaller it is on you the easier it is to get vertical.
My design partner, David Knight, is a long time squirt boater, and loves designing wings on a kayak, FYI. This boat is amazingly fun and is right up David’s alley!
Here is a video I made from the Gauley- just head cam footage but you will get a feel….
MIX MASTER 7.1:
Length = 6’11”
Width = 24”
Height = 12-3/4”
Volume = 44 gallons
Cockpit Size = 19”x 32-3/4”
MIX MASTER 7.5
Length = 7’3-1/2”
Width = 25-1/8”
Height = 13-1/2”
Volume = 52 gallons
Cockpit Size = 20” x 34-5/8”