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Submitted: 10-05-2007 by lackge

This is a follow-up to the review of the Jackson Fun 1 kid's kayak that I wrote over two years ago.
Since that earlier review I have purchased another Fun 1, and we have two kayakers (5 and 9 years old) using the boats. The kids now have more than four "user years" of experience paddling these kayaks. We are completely satisfied with the original boat but not nearly so with the newer one. There has been a change in the design of the boat that leads me to lower my rating.

The more recent version of the Fun 1 has a redesigned seat back that is problematic. The manufacturer replaced the ratchet clasp on the seat back (which was an excellent design) with a cord-and-cleat arrangement. Every time our 5-year-old kayaker paddles the boat, the cords pull out of the cleat; this abruptly releases the seatback and allows it to slide rearward into a useless position. I am sure that the manufacturer believed that the new design would be an improvement since it does allow the paddler to quickly adjust the seatback. However, because the cord tends to release and slide back at inopportune times, it is a constant hassle and a safety issue. The older ratchet clasp design was clear1y superior, in my opinion.

The Fun 1 is still an excellent kayak for young kids; however, I would advise buyers to look for an older used boat that has the ratchet clasp on the seatback.

I would now give the Jackson Fun 1 kayak an 8.0 for the boat itself, but because I got a total cold shoulder from the company when I tried to address my concerns to them, I am lowering my rating by one additional point for poor customer service. I now give the Jackson Fun 1 an overall rating of 7.0.

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