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Submitted: 12-16-2009 by Kayak-Bloke
The first Jackson Hero wasn't a great boat. Jackson took note of the comments and made lots of changes.
Firstly the Hero looks different to other boats with same intended use. This gets it a lot of negative comments from people whom have never paddled one.
Let's get the bad bits over with first:
The outfitting. Jacskon Outfitting is weird. The foot rests are safe but if you're like me you have to wonder about having lots of rope by your legs when you're paddling...
The backband uses Jackson's patented rope and cleat system which means it's very easy to adjust but very difficult to get tight. It tends to slip when in use and sometimes the whole lot comes out of the cleats completely (not good).
This said, once set up the boat is VERY comfortable.
Utilizing the Jackson playboat hull sounds like a bad idea for a river runner but somehow it works. The Hero has a surprising turn of speed and tracks really well even in big volume. The rounded hull makes it incredibly easy to roll. After drops the boat resurfaces very quickly. The balance of the boat is fantastic and it surfs river waves with surprising ease.
The build is brilliant. I took a swim in a river in flood (it was my fault not the boat's!) My Hero did 3 miles without me and came out almost unscathed despite getting a good beating from in several holes. Bombproof plastic, which is for the best as cross-linked plastic is difficult to repair!
All in all a really nice boat that would suit a beginner looking for a stable friendly platform or an advanced paddler looking to run class 4/5. The outfitting lets it down what is one of my favorite boats, hence the 8/10 score.
If it had a decent backrest and less fussy footrest it would have been a 10
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