By Eric Jackson
MixMaster Kayak Meets the Ocoee River with Eric Jackson, Dane Jackson, and Nick Troutman- an Old School/New School Boater’s Perspective…
The MixMaster is hitting a raw nerve for boaters all of all skill levels. It is about the lowest volume boat that can be designed with enough leg and foot room to paddle all day. Stephen Wright’s “Slice your Face Off” comments are funny, but telling. This is the sliciest boat you can make in plastic and the edges on it are amazing.
We had to get an Ocoee run in on our first day of production of this new boat in the 7.0 size. The Ocoee is an “old school river” in that we have had rodeos on it since the 80s. I won my first Ocoee Rodeo in 1984 in a Dancer. My winning move was to go into Double Trouble (when it was a big hole) in my Dancer with no paddle and a big 50 pound rock in my lifejacket. I took the rock out of my lifejacket and began slamming it on the deck of my Dancer yelling, “Plastic, plastic, plastic!”. A few spins and rolls in the hole got me a first place finish in a 1-10 scoring system. Plastic boats were still being accepted as viable and I was a huge fan.
Since that time many generations of playboats have been designed and tested and paddled on the Ocoee. The RPM prototype that I won the 1993 World Championships in on the Ocoee, all of the Perception designs, Dagger designs, and many of our Wavesport designs were tested there first.
Since the MixMaster is a throwback design to the day of slicey boats, but with all of the improvements in ergonomics and performance that we could muster from many years of boat design since that time, we felt that its virgin run should be the Ocoee.
I remember most of the cool things you can do on the Ocoee from my 30+ years of paddling there so putting this boat to the test for the full variety of moves wasn’t hard.
We wanted to splat, splat-wheel, cartwheel, screw around on the eddylines, bow pirouette, stern pirouette, mystery move, blunt, kick flip, squirt, surf, spin, blast, blast wheel, stall, and generally play in a 3D environment in a controlled, fun way.
The run was all smiles as we got in tune with our new toy. Dane got his pink one, Nick in a demo as he hasn’t decided what color he is paddling this year, and I have my “Sunrise”. We got our boats hot off the assembly line and drove straight to the river. The water didn’t turn on until 1pm, making our timing perfect.
Grumpy’s started off nicely with me surfing the wave above the hole, while Dane cartwheeled, splits, and tricky woos in the pourover. Nick went downstream to the boof.
In “whirlybird” we did some sweet cartwheels, splits, and Dane did some nice tricky woos there as well. The eddy line below it was fun to throw ends, squirting and pirouetting around on the way down on both the bow and stern. Smooth, controlled, and easy is the best way to describe the feeling of slicing the ends in the water on this amazing new toy.
We are all about the same size and paddled with booties on and were comfortable in the 7.0 even though it is only 44 gallons! If you are over 170 consider the 7.5, or if you just want a little bigger boat with more foot room and ease in river running, at 150 you could even paddle the 7.5 if you wanted it bigger. At 190 if you have short legs you can paddle the 7.0 like a squirt boat, but it will be a handful downriver and vertical will be what you get!
We worked our way downstream picking off one feature after another. Shallow pourovers were a blast to “blast” and the number of playspots increased dramatically with this boat over a normal boat.
Flipper was a highlight for me as the Mystery Moves were amazing. Down, controlled, up and end over end again onto the wave, into blunts… “WOW…. Can we camp here all day?” I am so in love with this boat and the mystery move aspect, combined with a great downriver playboat that rocks the waves, too, and balances on end so nicely…. it is a new year for me with the MixMaster!!
Dane and Nick have not done most of the moves you do in a slicey boat, or at least not the way you do them. They picked up on it quickly, of course, but it will take some time for them to discover all this boat has to offer through different runs with different people and finding different features. I can’t wait to find the right hole to put it through its paces, a retentive, deep, slow hole. So much potential!
here is a short video of a few highlights from our trip that Dane edited…
Are you ready to Mix it up with the MixMaster? You won’t regret adding this boat to your quiver!!!