Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jackson SUPerCharger Review by Laura Demers

For myself, whitewater stand up paddling began long after I started whitewater kayaking.  My kayaking experience and river knowledge was a huge help in learning this crazy new sport.  It’s been 3 years now and I’ve had the opportunity to try 3 different boards.  Most recently I tried the Jackson SUPerCharger and compared to the other 2 boards this one works best for me. 

The first point I’d like to make is that this review is all relevant to paddling the local Chilliwack River which is fairly low volume and not the first river in British Columbia that anyone would think to SUP on.  In other words there are lots of rocks!  As with everything there are Pro’s and Con’s depending on the conditions of the river you are paddling.

Myself, Karly Cox and Mike Darbyshire about to challange the Chilliwack River

I could tell right away that the SUPerCharger was designed with more volume and rocker in the nose than the other inflatable and plastic boards I’ve tried.  The displacement deck allowed for quick water shedding when punching through waves, holes and eddy-lines.  Similar to a a whitewater kayak, the rocker on the nose came in handy for “boofing” rocks on the Chilliwack and also helps for surfing steeper waves.  

Paddling the SUPerCharger as with most things took some getting used to.  This board actually responds to edge leaning and yet is still very stable.  I found when carving into an eddy-line I really had to focus on where my body weight was both front to back and side to side.  

I figured out really quick why an inflatable SUP board is not a good idea on low volume rivers.  Unlike the SUPerChargers hard plastic hull the PVC coated material of an inflatable does not slide over rocks easily.  I actually found that on the NRS inflatable I tried that it stuck to rocks. If you can imagine the board loosing all forward momentum while the paddler did not!  I’ve also witnessed an inflatable that folded around a rock and was not retrievable at the time where a SUPerChargers plastic hull may have managed to float off one side of the rock or another.  It’s stiff hull with all its ridges and scuppers gives it immaculate structural integrity.

The outfitting on the new Jackson SUPerCharger has to be one of my favorite parts.  From the 3 super flexible rubber fins on the hull to the storage straps and grab handles on the deck.  I can say from my other experience on a plastic board that three fins are better than one and any deck storage is a good thing as all SUPer’s should be carrying a throw bag.  The grab handles on the deck make re-mounting and flipping the board easy.  By far the best part of the outfitting is the foam deck pad.  No more bruised knees for me!

Karly Cox punching through that wave!

Thanks to the team at Jackson Kayak for creating a wicked awesome SUP for whitewater!

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin