Last week, the shop got in some new paddleboards from Jackson Kayak, and a few days ago after work one evening, a small group of us took the opportunity to try them out on the Juniata River. A relatively short stretch of river from the Warrior Ridge Dam to Huntingdon is a favorite for evening paddles and testing out boats, as it’s mostly calm water with one large rapid and several other great opportunities to play.
The SUPerCHARGER is designed for rivers/whitewater, while the SUPerNATURAL is longer and slightly narrower, a better bet for lakes but still able to hold its own in some rapids.
Both boards are much more stable than many of the others I’ve been on, even when standing all the way on one side or the other, or all the way forward or back. We had a lot of fun standing as far back as we could on the boards so that the nose was up in the air, and spinning in circles.
The boards are also clearly very durable and virtually indestructible, a must when navigating rock-strewn rivers.
The SUPerCHARGER is very maneuverable, but, as expected, doesn’t track as well and takes some extra effort to paddle in flatwater. But it navigates rapids like a champ and surfs like a surfboard. We’re all looking forward to trying it out on some bigger whitewater.
The SUPerNATURAL seems like a great board for an all-day river trip or overnighter. Both boards are equipped with straps to hold gear, making paddleboard camping much more logistically simple experience.
However, one of the notable downsides to both of these boards is their weight. At about 60 pounds each, they aren’t the easiest to carry, especially solo. We also found that the foam on the deck of the boards tends to be very slippery when wet, especially for bare feet.
But overall, the consensus is that we like them a lot, and we’re all pretty excited to have the Jackson Kayak SUPs as part of our fleet.