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The Zen is very stable and maneuverable and does surf easily. For its given length, it is actually pretty light, especially compared to the similar boats by Pyranha, Wave Sport, Liquid Logic, etc.
The only problem I've had is the foam that is under the seat that elevates your thighs has be causing my leg to get a little numb. And actually a kayak instructor had told me he had similar issue. However, I think with some adjustments and tweaking I can fix this issue. As with any sports equipment, you have to spend some time getting it to fit you. Ultimately after paddling all the boats in this class, I felt the Zen was exactly what I wanted. Mine is the orange crush color, love it!
I was able to do attainments, it rolled with little effort and was very stable. Its a fast hull with great manuverability. I have had this boat for one year and am very happy with the way it handles. I did make a few adjustments to the outfitting. I added some padding under my seat for thigh support. Then for the strings that adjust the seat back I enclosed them in a piece of neoprene that I cut and wrapped around the strings gluing them at the open end to make a "tube" enclosure still allowing me to adjust the seat back for a good tight fit. I find that I paddle this boat more than anything else I own.
The Zen is really a nice boat for surfing and is very comfortable. I love the adjustable foot bulkhead. Pull the cord and push with your feet for the right fit. It's a breeze to adjust. No screws or bolts to mess with. The seating is very comfortable. I really like the way it maneuvers and it's superb stability.
The previous reviewer is "right on" with his remarks. If you are interested in a "white water" boat I can highly recommend the Jackson Zen. I'm 65 years old and I'm lovin' this boat.
It's long by today's standards, so it's got the speed for attainments. You can almost shave with the edges, so it'll carve turns. The volume is in the right places and doesn't inflate the hull where you don't need it.
The footboard is easy to adjust when you're on the fly. The backband employs the Jackson design, which is to say, simple, lightweight and easy to repair in the field. Inside is a carry loop to take some strain off the shoulder. Nice touch. The knee pockets are somewhat low, giving it a snug, old school feel of control. And, it's a full-on planing hull for great surfing. Jackson has also gone with duel bottle holders and has improved the grab handles..
The result is a kayak that responds when you go to the whip for attainments or need a burst of speed to hit the right line. It tracks okay (little too much rocker for my purposes, but I understand that in a boat this long) but put it up on the hard edge to get the bite you need for a tight carve. It's stable, predictable and rolls well. And, it loves to surf.
In short, it's a pure river runner that hasn't been dumbed down with soft edges and bulbous ends. If that's what you want, give this one a try.
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